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Life at Deloitte
Caring for our caregivers
Our inclusive approach to paid family leave recognizes changing family dynamics and the evolving needs of our people throughout their life journey. Learn how the family leave program is supporting our people, their families, and their careers.
At Deloitte, our family-friendly culture isn’t just about maternity leave. Our inclusive approach and expanded paid family leave program recognize changing family dynamics and evolving needs that emerge at different phases of life and career.
Matt Cohen took 16 weeks of paid family leave throughout the course of his son's first year; the flexibility allowed him to be present for several milestones.
Rui Soares was able to take 16 weeks off when his son was born, allowing him to help with newborn care and tend to his 4-year-old daughter's needs as well.
David Pollock took advantage of Deloitte's paid family leave program when his wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness, providing him critical time to be available for her care and to say goodbye.
Sheila Malhotra and Mrugank Desai, both Deloitte professionals, were able to take paid family leave consecutively, aiding in their adjustment to a family of three.
Marcia Haugstad was faced with both a hospitalized son and an injured elderly parent; Deloitte's paid family leave provided her with the opportunity to focus on their care.
Keep reading to see how paid family leave is impacting Deloitte professionals and their families.
Matt Cohen on family leave at Deloitte
Being a new parent isn't always easy, but Deloitte's family leave program gave Matt Cohen the ability to be there for all the important milestones of his son's first year. As Matt says, "when people say having a family pauses their career, I think that story is changing."
We would have been a person down: Rui Soares shares his family leave story
Four years ago, when his daughter was born, Rui Soares took two weeks off—even though he could have taken three. “They were a fantastic two weeks,” he says. Fast forward to this past September, Rui found out about Deloitte’s new paid family leave program about 30 minutes after the news hit LinkedIn: His pregnant wife emailed. And called: “Have you seen this?”
Rui says, “I read the post several times—trying to figure out if it was some sort of April Fool’s joke in September. But it was real. And it couldn’t have happened at a better time. We’d been trying to figure out a support system for my wife after my planned three-week paternity leave ended for our second child on the way.”
A bit skeptical at first, Rui wondered if his team would support him taking the full leave. “I spoke to a number of partners to kind of test the waters, and one partner in particular said ‘I’m speaking to you as a friend and as a father myself, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Do not even think about not taking the full leave.’ Once I heard that from a partner, it opened the door; I realized I didn’t need to worry about it anymore.”
So Rui took 16-weeks of Paid Family Leave when his son was born in February 2017. “The first time was probably easier for my wife especially because we only had one child to focus on. But this time, with a toddler and a newborn, we would have been a man down if I hadn’t been around.
"Every day I was involved in comforting and soothing my son and putting him to bed, changing his diapers, doing whatever it takes. Also bringing my daughter to school, being in her class as a guest reader, bringing her to swim lessons and being present every day. I was cooking meals, doing chores around the house, laundry, cleaning, taking care of everything we do domestically at home. It really made me appreciate all that my wife does as a stay-at-home parent. And it gave me the space to become more central to the daily life of my family."
Now back at work, Rui believes that the leave gave him a new perspective on family—and his work. “While I’m at work doing all the things I do for clients, I realize there’s a tremendous amount of effort going on at home, and as a father, I see how important it is to be part of that.”
And at work? "I feel completely reenergized. When I came back I immediately got back into the swing of things and started on a project. I notice I feel a lot more ownership of the project that I’m on. I feel more mature in my role as a senior manager. Or maybe I feel a little more confident and capable—I feel I’m performing at a higher level than before."
While being at home for 16 weeks strengthened his bond with his family, the leave also strengthened his bond with Deloitte. “Deloitte has taken a leadership role on this issue; it makes me feel good about working here, that’s for sure. And it’s an experience I’ll be sharing as I help in recruiting —I’m the champion for technology consulting at my alma mater. Once you’re at a point when you need time for your family, Deloitte is an organization that values that. And they back it up with 16 weeks of paid leave. That’s extraordinary.”
Time to say goodbye: David Pollock shares his family leave story
About a month before Deloitte announced the new paid family leave program, managing director David Pollock’s wife Theresa was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. David and Theresa realized their time was limited, but David says, “knowing the paid family leave program was there and what a difference it could make in the future gave us a certain amount of relief.”
In fact, David doesn’t know what they would have done without the leave: “I can’t imagine what other people do in these kinds of situations.” Theresa needed full-time care, but they had just moved 1,200 miles away from home—the diagnosis came through the day after they sold their home in Washington state and moved to San Diego. “We had no one nearby,” he says. “Having the leave gave me more time to investigate and arrange support options available through the community and hospitals. And it gave me the freedom to be there for my wife, take her to appointments, and when she was in hospital, to stay by her side the entire time.”
“Everyone we dealt with in the medical community was amazed to hear about Deloitte’s Paid Family Leave Program—very few of their patients’ family members have the ability to stay in the hospital 24/7.” And of course having him there made things much easier for Theresa. “Being hospitalized is always scary for the patient, so I’m really grateful that I could be there and focus on Theresa with no distractions from work.”
The paid family leave program wasn’t all about hospitals and sadness. As David wrote in a Facebook post the day after Theresa passed:
"…we grew much closer over the time she was sick. Much deeper, much more intimate, a much clearer sharing of faith, trust, and love. She was funny, ironic, smart, insightful, spirit filled, clever, and inquisitive—all things I love."
And as David supported Theresa, he always felt supported by Deloitte. “There was never a question about what ‘the right thing to do’ was,” he says.
It wasn’t easy for David to share this story, but he wants everyone to understand that Deloitte’s Paid Family Leave Program is not a “theoretical benefit.”
“Sometimes benefits feel abstract. Or it feels like the culture doesn’t support them. But this is real. For the people who really need to take advantage of family leave, it can make an astounding difference in their lives. It’s an extraordinary thing Deloitte has done for us—whether you’re taking the leave for a joyful reason, or to spend the last precious weeks with the love of your life.”
Family Leave Tag-Teaming: Sheila Malhotra and Mrugank Desai share their family leave story
Deloitte’s new paid family leave program was announced about a month before Sheila Malhotra and Mrugank Desai (MD) welcomed their first child. Theirs is not just a two-career household, it’s a two Deloitte-career household. And when their son Aayan was born, mom and dad both took the full paid family leave, first Sheila and then MD.
“We have a number of friends and family members who worked at Deloitte back when parental leave for secondary caregivers was only a couple of weeks. So they know exactly how much Deloitte has evolved on this issue,” Sheila says.
Sheila took her six months (including short-term disability) first. When she returned to work, MD began his 16-week leave. “A lot of Aayan’s bigger milestones have happened on MD’s leave—crawling, eating, babbling”, Sheila noted. “It’s a great comfort to me to know he’s there, getting to experience all of that.”
“I took a couple of weeks off when Aayan was first born and the rest after Sheila returned to work,” MD adds. “Everybody was supportive and we worked together as a team to plan out the continuity of the engagements I was working on.”
“Being one of the few dads in the playgroups and activities Aayan goes to, I’ve gotten some great reactions,” MD says. “People recognize that it’s pretty rare to have a benefit like this, especially in the world of consulting. But Deloitte understands the importance of family leave.
Sheila had the same reaction among her moms’ groups. “My peers definitely recognized how unique this program is. We’re very proud to work at Deloitte and we’re grateful to be able to spend this time with our son. It’s been important for our family. And it’s important to show a culture that values the opportunity for both parents to spend time with their babies.”
“We’re both professionals and we share responsibilities at home. Neither of us has any extended family in the Chicago area, so we’re pretty much on our own. Now when I travel, MD gives him a bottle, washes the dishes, takes him to play dates. There’s nothing MD doesn’t do while he’s out on leave. It’s been beneficial for our relationship, I see a new side of him and have a new level of respect for the contribution he is making to our child and household.”
Sheila notes that under the former program, “we would have had to evaluate our career options more urgently. But the extended leave has allowed both of us to have conversations with our leadership about our well-being needs as a family.”
Sheila says, “I feel a good sense of loyalty to Deloitte because of this leave and the generosity of the benefits. We want to continue to add value to the organization.”
MD adds, “Many dads in the workforce don’t have the opportunity to enjoy this extended time with their newborns. The fact that Deloitte gives me that, gives me great respect for the organization and how we are together. I know I still have a good career at Deloitte ahead of me and…”
Aayan chimed in—he was ready to have his father’s full attention again. Sheila translated for her son: “He’s saying he’s one spoiled baby already because he has gotten so much time from his mom and dad.”
MD made one more point before he resumed his duties. “A handful of colleagues are just about to have a baby, and now they’re looking to take the entire time off. So we’re removing the stigma for fathers. And my son is clearly a trend-setter.”
Just like Deloitte.
Raining and pouring: Marcia’s family leave story
Marcia Haugstad requested paid family leave when her 17-year-old son Noah needed more intensive treatment for symptoms arising from his Asperger’s syndrome. While Noah attended a partial hospitalization program, Marcia needed the time to take him to doctor’s appointments and attend therapy sessions with him.
But you know the old saying, “it never rains, but it pours”? Noah was making good progress in the program and Marcia was just beginning to see the going-back-to-work light at the end of the proverbial tunnel when her elderly mother fell and broke her pelvis.
“I really believe she’s still alive because my sister and I were there in the hospital with her,” Marcia says. “We noticed things the doctors didn’t, and we advocated for her to be moved to Intensive Care.” For 10 days, her mother struggled on life support. Then she turned a corner and when she was well enough, began six months of rehabilitation.
When Noah got released from his program early, Marcia had theoretically accomplished the purpose of her leave. “But I called Deloitte and told them about my mother. My team was 100 percent supportive. They agreed I should take the full four months off. That got us almost all the way to the end of my mother’s rehab period.”
“I was grateful to Deloitte for giving me the opportunity to support Noah through his program. And then Mom…Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have access to the paid family leave program. It would have been incredibly stressful. If I’d tried to keep working through all that was going on, my clients wouldn’t have had the best of me, that’s for sure.”
Marcia comes from a Deloitte family: All but two of her six brothers and sisters have worked at Deloitte at one time or another.
But as more people find themselves in the “sandwich generation”—taking care of children and elderly parents— “sometimes something has to give,” as Marcia says. “We are all fortunate that Deloitte has recognized that sometimes we may need to address some family issues. To be honest, I don’t know how I would have made it through this without the paid family leave program. And now I’m very glad everyone’s healthy and safe and I’m back with my team and my clients.”