When I was expecting my first baby, arranging my maternity leave was a source of confusion and stress. So, in partnership with my co-chair for the Family Employee Network Group, we created the Parental Partners scheme to support new parents through the process – and with support from Capita leadership, we’ve been able to launch it globally across the business.
Finding my support network
As a talent acquisition manager, I work with some brilliant people to recruit for a wide variety of roles for some of our biggest public service clients, including the team’s delivering recruitment to the British Army and running the world’s largest Ultra-Low Emission Zone for Transport for London. When I shared my confusion about maternity leave with one of my colleagues, I found that she had also struggled with the process.
It was with her experience and guidance that I was able to negotiate a maternity arrangement that worked for me, and we realised that everyone should have access to this kind of support. That’s how Parental Partners came into being.
Launching the Parental Partners scheme
Fast forward eight months, and we had presented our proposal to leaders in the D&I team. With their support, we launched the Parental Partners scheme globally, and Capita’s Life Leave policy has even been altered to include it.
The scheme creates formal support networks for parents at Capita by pairing up expectant parents with someone that has been through the relevant parental leave process before. With this support, new parents are empowered to understand and personalise their maternity, paternity, adoption, surrogacy or shared parental leave to suit them.
Welcoming my second baby
Working with my Parental Partner during my second pregnancy was a completely different experience, and for the first time I felt very supported.
She was my sounding board to unpick what I wanted from my maternity leave, and to share those natural fears and questions. And, perhaps most importantly, I could share my excitement with her.
Negotiating my return to work
When I returned to work, Capita’s maternity policies supported me to be myself, and to celebrate my new baby at work. We have a policy that allows you to keep your camera off to breastfeed at work, and that choice is important. Most of the time, I choose to leave my camera on, and my colleagues have loved to see my baby pop up in meetings.
Sharing our wisdom
It’s been a long process, but I’ve learned that when we support parents to be themselves, and give them the opportunities to share their wisdom, we free our colleagues to be brilliant.
So, if you’re thinking about starting or growing your family, sign up for a Parental Partner to make sure you get what you want and need out of your parental leave.