Posted: 30 May 2022 4 min.

Happy parent and happy partner at the same time? Steps to improve the transition back to work after leave

Topic: Talent & Lifelong Learning

Just as Deloitte’s improved policy regarding parental leave is stepping into force – from June 1st – we have decided to add several upgraded or new benefits for parents who return from parental leave.

Returning to work after months of taking care of one’s baby can be a difficult phase. Sometimes, it feels like having to work two full-time jobs, with too little sleep at night adding to the load. 

Unsurprisingly, these conditions can challenge employers’ ability to retain talents who return from a long parental leave. Deloitte is no exception. Retention is more important than ever due to the current race for talent, and our data as well as other surveys (see e.g. Finans) shows that 70% consider applying for a new job while on parental leave.

In January 2022, we launched Deloitte’s Happy Parents Package in the shape of an improved parental leave policy offering equal parental leave terms for all parents in Deloitte. 

To further provide equal opportunities and attractive conditions for our talents when they become parents, we now launch Happy Parents 2.0 – an improved Happy Parents Package with elements targeted at both talents and immediate leaders before, during and after parental leave.

Initiatives to support balance and flexibility
So, what can you expect if you are expecting in Deloitte Denmark?

  • From 1 June, fathers and co-parents are offered 24 weeks of paid leave to give women, men and co-parents equal parental leave terms. This is possible after just 3 months of employment instead of 12 months which was previously the case.
  • An improved post-leave plan with six topics to discuss with one’s immediate leader – this effort already starts before a talent goes on leave.
  • Employees who have taken more than 16 consecutive weeks of parental leave are offered five additional days off to facilitate an easier and more flexible schedule on a day-to-day basis.
  • Parents who have returned from leave will experience increased flexibility and fewer demands e.g. reduced targets, according to their individual needs. So, while reduced demands and more flexibility will be offered as a standard, the parents can also choose to continue with the pace and targets they were used to.  
  • Finally, the option of receiving individual coaching via an external partner – although not a new initiative – can be relevant when considering career paths and future options after having a child.

These initiatives are all targeted at the parents, but that is only one side of the coin. The other part of the package is offered to leaders who have been asking for strengthened guidance and support to take better care of employees who become parents and return from parental leave. 

Better conditions for parents: A win-win

The length of parental leave is the primary factor behind the inequality between men and women in the Danish labour market. Lack of paid leave is among the primary barriers for men taking longer periods of parental leave. In Denmark, 90 % of parental leave is taken by women. 

Improving the possibilities for men to take a longer leave is expected to not only enable closer links between father and child but also improve the position of women professionally on a societal level.

In Deloitte, it is obvious that our male talents who want children also want to take a more active role in family life and – naturally – a longer parental leave. This tendency is supported by research, and more companies are improving their terms to accommodate this in an increasingly competitive labour market. Deloitte was among the first with equal terms for men and women.

Diversity in the workplace is tightly connected to parental leave policies and a culture that celebrates the balance between career and personal life. With improved conditions surrounding the return to work, I am proud to state that Deloitte is showing the way for a more holistic, flexible, and people-centred life balance.

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