Splitting the leave to build memories together
Ali started working for the LEGO Group in March 2014, when he and his business partner opened the LEGO® Store in Montreal. Both Ali and his business partner still run the store to this day.
While running the LEGO Montreal Store, which Ali refers to as his ‘big adventure’, he spent a lot of time working with children, and seeing the kinds of toys that make their face light up when they stop by. He soon built an understanding of the toys that resonate with kids and considered the job a training of sorts for when it was time to have his own little ones.
That time came last July, when Ali and his wife, Noura, had their first-born, a little boy called Zayn. Noura works as a nurse and is a part-time student on top of that. The couple therefore had to plan how they could spend as much time as possible with their son when he arrived.
“When you’re having a baby, it’s such a happy time, but you have to work out what time you’ll be able to take off from work and financially cope too,” said Ali. “In Canada, in the province of Quebec, the government provide between 40 to 50 weeks to primary caregivers, but Noura would only get about 55% of her pay for that time. Myself as a secondary caregiver would have had 5 weeks of leave with only 75% of my pay.”
Luckily for Ali, the LEGO Group’s new parental leave policy gives fully paid parental leave to both primary and secondary caregivers – 26 weeks for primary caregivers and 8 weeks for secondary caregivers, and parents decide themselves who takes the role as the primary caregiver.
“We were so lucky I was able to make use of the LEGO Group’s paid leave policy,” adds Ali. “It meant I could take the first month off and go to the hospital with my wife before spending the next few weeks with my new little family. It was such an amazing feeling – and also meant I was around to help welcome my son to the world, establish sleep routines and, ultimately, get bedded in with our new way of life. We formed a bond a lot of dads don’t get to form as I had that time with him – and it still feels so good that when I open the door, he recognizes me and smiles.”
”I’m grateful to the LEGO Group for the time I had with my son. From being a small baby to gradually getting bigger, step-by-step. I can’t imagine missing that.”
With the policy, parents need to take their leave within the first year of their child being born, but the LEGO Group is quite flexible after that. Ali therefore decided to split his parental leave, taking one month immediately after the birth and a second month when their son is ten months old. The family will be taking its first vacation as a three – taking a trip to Mexico.
And Ali’s time working for the LEGO Group has already come in especially handy. Zayn already has a LEGO® DUPLO® bath time set, which he loves: “Whenever he goes into the bath or the shower, we get out his bath set. He’s only ten months old, but he’s already as much of a fan as his dad!”
A diverse and inclusive LEGO GroupIt is our ambition to build a truly diverse and inclusive organization that helps us reach and inspire all children, regardless of who they are or where they come from.
How children inspire our work cultureChildren are our role models, and we look to them as a constant source of inspiration. They’re curious, creative and imaginative. Our purpose and values help create a culture of fairness, trust and mutual respect that make working at the LEGO Group a truly rewarding experience.
Building family bondsFrom their first day of employment, all LEGO® colleagues are offered extended paid parental leave, no matter their family constellation, how they identify, where they live, or what job role they hold.