Real stories of Progress

Ash's blog - my shared parental leave

​2020 is a year that will be so different for everyone. The ins and outs of lockdown and all the uncertainties we have had. Into 2021 and there’s still so much to talk about!
2020 was also significant as January saw my daughter enter the world! The months leading up to it were filled with the usual baby prep, house organising, and everything else in between.

Then came the 'who’s having what dates off work' discussion. Me having the ‘normal’ two weeks off and my partner having a few months off, like how ‘everyone else does it’, just felt like it wouldn’t work for us.

With my partner running a small business, and Progress Housing Group having a Shared Parental Leave system in place, I organised three months off work: March, April, and May. I tried planning to have the year off around the Euros but that didn’t go down too well with my partner!

Turns out it was quite a crazy time not to be at work, especially working in IT! I know my colleagues worked so hard to enable the Group to go fully remote, practically overnight.

Even at one of the busiest ever times the Group put my family first. I kept in touch with my manager and he often reminded me that work will always be here, but the time with my family is something I could never get back.

Family is the most important thing to me, and it felt the Group had my back.

It wasn’t quite as we had planned with lockdown happening but there was plenty to do with a new baby! She sure kept us busy. I could support my partner going back to work after childbirth, be there for the baby and be there for my eldest daughter – all full time.

Moving away from the ‘dad has two weeks off when the baby is born’ thought process really helped my family. It helped me get straight into the hands-on mind-set. I had the time to be there, and make that the norm moving forward.

Coming back to work wasn’t so bad either! A few Keep In Touch Days here and there helped so I had an idea of what I was getting myself back into.

The Euros were cancelled anyway so three months was good enough!! :)