‘Happy homes, happy employees and high engagement scores go hand in hand…giving your working dads a gentle embrace is an obvious next step for leaders to make.’
How to manage maternity is often at the top of the list for a line manager when a team member announces their pregnancy. But what about when your team member tells you they are going to become a dad? What if they ask for Shared Parental Leave or apply for flexible working?
This is a life-changing event for your team member, and needs to be managed carefully. New dads can feel overwhelmed as well as exhausted, and may feel culturally that it’s hard for them to approach you to ask for flexibility.
Use these tips in your manager and D&I development courses:
1 - First things first, CONGRATULATE when your team member announces they are going to be a dad! This sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget when your mind may be running ahead thinking about timing of paternity leave...
2 - Make sure you are familiar with your organisation’s paternity policy, or check out the statutory guidelines here: https://www.gov.uk/employers-paternity-pay-leave. Ensure your team member also knows where to look for entitlements.
3 - Take note: we are in ‘generation daddy’! More and more new dads want to spend more time with their families and strive for a happy work/life balance.
4 - Talk about plans for paternity leave as you near the due date – ask your team member for the dates he intends to take off as paternity leave and make the assumption he will want to take off the full allowance. Make sure they are recorded in your team calendar.
5 - Your team member is entitled to take Shared Parental Leave – this is where he can choose to take an extra 50 weeks leave up to his baby’s first birthday. Your team member should be made aware of this option – see more information here: https:/www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay-employer-guide
6 - Consider offering your team member informal flexibility during the early months – discuss how he may be able to work from home, come in later or leave earlier, or use annual leave a couple of days a week so he can establish a better work/life balance if he needs it.
7 - Your team member will be entitled to apply for flexible working. Any employee with more than 26 weeks of service has the legal right to request flexible working. It’s important that your team member is aware of this and feels comfortable having this conversation with you. For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working
8 - For the first 3 months following the birth, be prepared for the fact that your team member may well be physically exhausted, so make allowances and ask if he needs any support. See here for tips on how to cope with sleep deprivation: https://parentandprofessional.co.uk/are-you-a-sleep-deprived-working-parent/
9 - Show an interest in your team member’s family – and share your own stories, especially if you are a parent yourself. Talking about children at work enhances personal wellbeing and relationships.
10 - Look out for internal support networks for new parents or new dads – if there aren’t any, suggest your team member starts one – networking with like-minded individuals is hugely supportive.
We run workshops and webinars on managing family-related leave.
Managers who are able to communicate well with employees experiencing a life-changing event will contribute to the retention, productivity, motivation and wellbeing of their teams.
If you would like an outline, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org