Spending precious time with family: Adam encourages fellow dads to consider shared parental leave

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In an organisation of more than 4,000 people, it came as somewhat of a surprise to Media Officer Adam Gretton to find out he was one of the first men at EEAST to take advantage of shared parental leave.

Shared parental leave came into being in 2015, and allows UK parents to share leave following the birth or adoption of their child.

Up to 50 weeks of leave - 37 weeks of which is paid - can be shared by parents if they meet certain eligibility criteria.

Here Adam, who recently returned to work, shares his experience…

‘My wife and I decided early on in her pregnancy that I would take parental leave. It was not an option when our first child was born, so we were keen to share leave this time. Marriage is an equal partnership and so the responsibilities of parenting should be equal too.

I had read that not many dads were taking up parental leave and was keen to take up the option. My wife did the first nine months and I did the last three months, looking after my baby daughter and four year old son.

It has been good to spend precious time with the family. Both children have enjoyed me being at home more. I wish I had done a longer period of parental leave.

I have really enjoyed the leave, but it’s been hard work at times. The learning curve adjusting from full-time work was pretty steep! It has made me realise how hard work it is to be a stay at home parent – a lot busier than full-time work, it is definitely not a holiday.

The Trust was really supportive. I was surprised that in an organisation of our size I was one of the first men to take shared parental leave. I hope to inspire more of you dads to do it!

I think a lot of people still don’t know about shared parental leave and there are still sections of society that have outdated views on childcare. In 2017, it should not be seen to be progressive for a man to take up the option of caring for children full-time.

Of course, the biggest barrier to taking shared parental leave is money. We are fortunate that we have been able to use savings to pay the bills whilst I’ve been off work. I won’t get this time again, so I’m making the most of having more family time.’

Want to know more about shared parental leave and pay? Visit the gov.uk website for more information, or download a copy of our Shared Parental Leave Policy.

Published 28th April, 2017

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