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Tim Wainwright has advice for dads and employers after taking Shared Parental Leave from his role with the Lord Mayor of London
After taking Shared Parental Leave Tim Wainwright thinks more employers ought to promote the policy and showcase men who use it.
He works with the Lord Mayor of London. The City’s had a reputation for being a macho, long hours culture. But that’s changing. And while Tim’s role isn’t directly in finance his experience offers a great example of why more men might want to do Shared Parental Leave.
He told us about taking Shared Parental Leave and the many benefits for dads and employers.
I am the Senior Relationships Manager in the Office of the Lord Mayor of the City of London at the Mansion House. I have responsibility for advancing the strategic programme and relationships for the Lord Mayor in their role as the international ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services sector. Primarily, I work as the Private Secretary to the incoming Lord Mayor providing strategic counsel to the Lord Mayor Elect.
My wife and I welcomed our daughter into the world in October 2019.
Early on we knew that we could both take parental leave and we really wanted to ensure that we were both able to be part of the early days of our daughter’s life, support each other and both be actively involved.
My wife and I talked through how we saw it working, especially around taking time off together and her transition back to work towards the end of her Maternity Leave. I undertook some research online to find out more and then worked through the policy with my employer.
It was wonderful to have the time off and although the pandemic meant, in a very positive way, I was home much more as working from home took hold, it meant that I had time to both support my wife, but also take time with my daughter that was not interrupted by work. We both enjoyed time off together and importantly it also allowed my wife to transition back to work knowing that our daughter was in safe hands and not having to navigate the logistics of nursery.
Absolutely, as it gives you confidence you can do this, both in terms of sharing parenting duties but also in knowing as a dad you can do it. When I was looking after our daughter we had day trips out, went on walks, visited friends and I was in charge! Not only was it amazing bonding time but allowed me to know I was more than able to care for her on my own.
Yes, I think any flexible working approach allows for you to appreciate your place of work more and you give more back as a result.
I think there is a lack of knowledge out there from both parents and employers about what Shared Parental Leave offers. Employers mostly understand Maternity Leave but not always Shared Parental Leave. Things like the fact you can both be off and both be paid at the same time and that you can take it in multiple blocks, rather than one period of leave.
I would encourage employers to have more training or a dedicated expert in HR who leads on Shared Parental Leave and importantly showcase men in the organisation who have taken Shared Parental Leave and who have flexible working arrangements.
Employers should look at ways to promote Shared Parental Leave as I believe it supports greater equality in the workplace for both men and for women – it often helps support women on their return to work. It also changes broader stereotypes around parenting: Dads don’t babysit – they parent!
Do it. If you can. You will only have this time once.