The global communications company shows the value of thought-through and effective family-friendly flexible working and paternity leave.
Some companies have embraced the concept of family-friendly policies, knowing how impactful it can be for their employees. One such organisation is Inmarsat and we sat down with Ayub Chaudry, a senior finance manager in global government at the company, to find out about his enhanced paternity leave. Ayub is 35 and has been working at Inmarsat since January 2019. He has three boys, one aged two and one-year-old twins (all pictured above with their dad).
Flexibility is one of the main reasons I was interested in joining Inmarsat.
I have fully utilised Inmarsat’s paternity entitlement, taking off two weeks when Musa the eldest was born. With the twins who had come in early and had a lengthy stay in hospital I took off around three weeks. The twins were born in the lockdown.
Around June 2020 when the pandemic was new, I put in a request to work 100% from home, which was approved. This was before the big discussion about new ways of working across the whole world of work. We then moved to a new city and the twins were born. We were in and out of hospitals daily as they came early and needed to stay a while. Being able to work flexible hours and from home was really important to us and helped tremendously.
Requesting paternity leave was quite normal and easy. I reached out to HR who simply requested a few forms to be filled in. Knowing the date for your leave is of course impossible and working in Finance it can potentially fall at the time of month-end/busy period when no one can really cover you. Thankfully that wasn’t the case for me but my manager was supportive and asked me to leave notes for some of the tasks he would pick up if I was away at month-end.
There was a set process to follow to request flexible working. I was a bit nervous about requesting 100% WFH at a time that it wasn’t that normal. However, I knew it was something that Inmarsat would potentially support and I knew it was very important with our city move pending and the arrival of the twins. With three under 18-month-old boys, the flexibility and additional support we got by moving was really important for us to just stay on top of things.
I got the chance to support my wife and keep the household running, especially important during the twins birth with Musa at 18 months and daily hospital trips. Childbirth is not only often traumatic, but also very physically demanding and even damaging. There is a recovery period. There is also an adjustment period to your new routine and lifestyle as a family. Its important for fathers to be fully present at this time.
It was also really important to develop the link with the babies myself from day and minute one with things like skin-to-skin time. It’s a very exciting time that you never get back so I would recommend all fathers to take this time out to be with family.
Yes it does surprise me. By not supporting fathers with paternity leave and flexible working, you are taking away some moments that will never be replaced. To me, all the benefits I mentioned are essential for new families.
We have three two-years-and-under boys and a lot of medical appointments for the twins. Being able to be around to help out in a pinch and then catch up on work later is really helpful. Inmarsat has also been very accommodating when it comes to any medical appointments.
The eldest is in nursery half the week, but its still important for me to be available pretty much immediately after I log off support with our three boys. That’s possible with not having a commute. I will be in the office from 2022 as the pandemic eases, but having this flexibility during the boys early age was invaluable and we should be able to work around trips to the office next year.
Inmarsat also rolled out a nine-day working fortnight, which is an incredible perk. We work slightly extended hours everyday 9:00-5:45, but then take off every other Friday as leave. This means a long weekend every other week, which really helps with work life balance and maximising time with the family. I can’t talk it up enough as a policy to support work life balance.
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