Madeleine is a supervisor in one of our LEGO® Brand Retail stores. She’s worked for the LEGO Group for the past nine years and is now part-time, currently working three days a week.
Madeleine has just returned from parental leave with her third child, her daughter Scarlett and, thanks to the LEGO Group’s updated parental leave policy, found her experience this time around to be very different from when she had her two older children, Lucas and Dominic.
Madeleine’s partner is a mechanic at a car dealership and he did not receive any paid leave at all. With her first child, Madeleine struggled with postpartum depression and found it difficult at first when her partner returned to work after a week of unpaid leave, and it became even more challenging when she had to return to work herself after only six weeks of leave.
“My third child is now eight months old and it made a world of difference being able to take six months off, fully paid to stay at home with her.”
Thankfully, with Scarlett, Madeleine was able to take advantage of the LEGO Group’s new parental leave policy, which gives primary caregivers 26 weeks off work at full pay.
But aside from remaining financially sound, there were many other benefits to Madeleine from being able to take this extended period off. More importantly, she feels like she had more time to bond with her daughter – certainly more time than she had with either of her sons.“With my eldest, Lucas, I felt like I was pretty quickly back at work, and I just didn’t feel ready for it. That was just six weeks after I’d had him. My time with Scarlett has been so different to that.”
“The first year of your child is important. There are so many firsts during that time and you don’t want to miss any of them. The six months still flew by. She’s the last baby I’ll have and I’m trying to cherish every moment of it. It’s just gone so fast. I wanted to be there for her first crawl, her first tooth, her first of everything.”
“I wanted to be there for her first crawl, her first tooth, her first of everything.”
Madeleine started back at work two months ago, and this time around she feels far more mentally ready to get back to her job.“I actually felt prepared to come back this time, which I didn’t feel like after six weeks. It just wasn’t enough time. Being with your little ones really helps their development, but it also helps you learn how to be both a parent and keep your sense of self too. That said, I’m still always calling home on my breaks and asking if I’ve missed anything.”
The parental leave policy was put into place just before Madeleine got pregnant and alleviated a lot of the stresses she had with her first two children, meaning she could focus on looking forward to the pregnancy and the baby’s arrival a lot more.
“I feel like all companies should do what the LEGO Group does. It might take forever for that to happen, but it really meant a lot to me – and it meant I didn’t have to save up my sick pay anymore. Lucas and Dominic loved having me around so much, they thought I was on vacation!”
“I actually felt prepared to come back this time, which I didn’t feel like after six weeks.”
Another thing about the policy that really stood out to Madeleine was secondary caregivers being given 8 weeks off, as well as couples being able to choose who was considered the primary or secondary caregiver. She concludes, “I think fathers need to be given more time off with their babies. Time to bond should be equal as it’s equally beneficial for the child, but a lot of fathers don’t have bonding time with their little ones. Why don’t they get to have a significant period of time off too? That’s something more companies need to focus on.”
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An empowering partnership
From 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.