Parental leave for all family structures
April is a Senor District Manager for LEGO® Brand Retail.She returned from parental leave at the beginning of November 2021, just in time for the Christmas period.
April’s wife, Casey, is an interior designer by trade. She has her own small business and is able to stay at home with their two children a lot of the time. April and Casey had their first child, Beau, in 2019. Their second child, Beth, was born in 2021. With Beth, April benefitted from the current parental leave policy.
The LEGO Group has not only been supportive of April and her family through its parental leave policy, but it also provided a supportive and inclusive environment throughout her and Casey’s journey to becoming mothers that included adoption assistance so both of them are recognized as legal parents of their children:
“For both kids, my wife and I did reciprocal IVF,” says April.“Beau and Beth were conceived using my eggs and then were carried and birthed by Casey. Despite both children being born using my eggs, the state of Texas doesn’t recognize me as a legal mother until I adopt after birth.”
Setting up the new family
Thanks to April being able to take advantage of the LEGO Group’s new parental leave policy, which awards primary or secondary leave to all parents, she was able to have 26 weeks off work when Beth was born.“A lot of families can’t have both partners around to settle their new child in,” said April. The leave allowed April to be there for her family when they needed her, for example, being able to support Casey when it came to establishing a good breastfeeding and night time routine was beneficial as this can be quite demanding both physically and mentally.
“Whenever I tell people about the amount of parental leave I took, they’re so shocked about it – no one else gets 26 weeks paid. Even when we had Beau, the LEGO Group’s policy was ahead of other companies. It was far more than my peers at other companies were afforded – and that was two months compared to six.”
April found taking the full primary leave with Beth gave her a lot of time to settle in and bond with both kids. The shorter time with Beau was a bit more of a whirlwind, and April never really felt like she had a proper stint away from the business. As she explains: “With six months, I could plan out more things with the family – both for the future but also fun activities to do at the time. I had time to take my head away from work as I knew I’d be away for enough time to switch off and focus on building my family. That was great.”
Along with the perks of time to settle in, doing fun things together and strengthening their bond as a family, the drastic improvements in the actual health and well-being for the family was the biggest thing they got out of being able to focus exclusively on raising their children. Taking care of themselves and their children is paramount, and juggling this alongside a full-time job is a big challenge.
Returning to work
In Texas where the couple live, there’s no paid leave from the state, so any parental leave must come from people’s employers. It has therefore made a world of difference to April and Casey that April was given the time off fully paid as part of the LEGO Group’s new policy.
“It feels great to work for a company that wants to evolve to provide the best for its employees. Not only do you get a longer amount of time off, that’s paid, but you can self-identify who is the primary or secondary parent – and that was really important for our family structure,” adds April.“The LEGO Group gives complete support for the individual, regardless of their parental situation. Even from a global perspective, it’s really progressive.”
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