At Salesforce, we often refer to our colleagues, our partners, and customers as family. We care for our family and we empower our employees to care for theirs. The arrival of a new family member is a precious and challenging time for all families. Each family is different and we all play different roles.
This is why we developed two options for parental leave: 26 weeks paid leave for the main caregiver, and 12 weeks for the parent who takes on a supporting role. We want to encourage everyone to take off time for their families.
However, it seems that many parents who are not the main caregiver don’t always take full advantage of their leave entitlements. Taking time off to support your family is a big step. We asked parents who took 12 weeks of parental leave to share their stories and experiences with us to encourage others to follow.
“I had my interview with Salesforce two weeks after my first child, Josh, was born. You can imagine this was not my best moment,” Matt laughs. Currently, Matt is working within the Digital Transformation & Innovation team helping customers with their digital transformation.
When Matt and his wife were planning to have a second baby, Matt remembered Salesforce’s parental leave policy and decided to take the bull by the horns. “Getting 12 weeks to focus completely on my family? Most of my friends and family members were blown away by this. Parental leave gave me the time to do simple things, like visiting local parks or exploring the neighbourhood.”
Matt also remembers one frightening moment that made him appreciate his time spent with his family even more: “One time, Ella was feeling a little sick – and there’s no way we could have predicted this! – all of a sudden she got worse and had to be taken to the hospital. She bounced back quickly, but it was such a scary moment, and I am beyond grateful that I could be there to take care of her.”
For Matt, a well planned transition was key. “In a way, I was also lucky, because I was changing roles at that time and had to hand over my work in any case. Coming back to the office, I was more tired, for obvious reasons, and some things had changed. But I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to focus on your family, it was the best thing I’ve done.”
In April, Emma’s and her partner’s life was totally transformed when their son Harry was born. “My partner and I were overjoyed to welcome Harry in our lives. It’s a wonderful experience and a total joy but there’s also a lot going on. Sometimes, I have to change three times a day just to wear a clean shirt,” Emma jokes.
While career growth and achievement are important to Emma, nothing is as valuable as spending time with her family. “As an Account Executive I have to deliver on a monthly basis. Many of my deals take a lot of preparation and effort, and of course, I want to be acknowledged and compensated fairly. Considering all this makes me a little nervous about taking parental leave; however, I am sure, I won’t be looking back on my life and regret not working for three months. Instead I’ll cherish the memories I’ve made. And, the generous coverage adds an extra layer of security.”
Emma felt fully supported by her manager and her team. “It’s been difficult, because Harry was born during lockdown, but I felt that I had the space and flexibility to put my family first. I totally trust the team and know that my accounts are looked after.”
Tom encourages everyone to take advantage of this benefit. “I am surprised that paternity leave or secondary care giver leave is still not the norm. It's an amazing opportunity, and I feel so grateful to have this option. Taking this time dedicated to family and away from work helped me focus on what’s important and find a balance. It helped me be more effective.” His advice? “Plan ahead to find an arrangement that suits your partner and yourself. Trust your team and your colleagues to keep everything running while you're away. And spend as much time as possible with your child.”Tom who has been with Salesforce for more than five years found support in his network. “I talked to colleagues who went through the same experience, getting reassurance and advice from my network and from senior leaders helped a lot.” He also sees a silver lining in the lock down. “Because I was working from home, I was able to spend more time with Jude than I usually would have. This helped me ease into taking care of him full time once my wife went back to work.”
“The business will still be here when you come back. Connecting with your child and having a good time together, not just on the weekends, that’s priceless,” is Jeremy’s advice to any new parent.
Jeremy joined Salesforce through an acquisition while he was living in Sydney with his wife. Three years later, their first son Arthur was born. “Back then, Salesforce didn’t have any policy around parental leave for dads. But my boss was very supportive, and I could take two weeks off.”
When they were expecting their second baby, Delilah, the family decided to move back to the UK to be closer to family and friends. “When Delilah was born, I knew that Salesforce offered three months of parental leave for fathers taking the supporting role.
Sure, I had concerns to some extent: I had just moved to a different team, a different country, I was working with a new manager.” Support from his team and his manager helped Jeremy transition smoothly in and out of parental leave. ”Structure helps too. I wrote a list of 20 things that are most important before leaving. I also took an extra day to catch up, and made sure everything was planned and structured.”
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