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August 18, 2023

Isometric’s Parental Leave

Ellie Romer-Lee
Head of People

I had my first daughter in 2018 (Matilda) and my second in 2021 (Emily).

When Matilda was born, my partner was offered 3 weeks’ paternity leave which—at the time—was market leading. However, after a difficult birth and recovery (I had sepsis; it wasn’t enjoyable) we were only just out of hospital by the time he had to go back to work.

Fast forward happily to 2023 when, as step one to creating a Parental Leave Policy for Isometric, the People Team conducted a thorough market review to find that things have changed drastically.

We reviewed 33 companies—everything from Tech Giants like Amazon, Google, Meta and Netflix to trail blazing startups—and found that, in the UK, the average offering is 21 weeks of paid leave to childbearing parents and 14 weeks of paid leave to other parents.

Hallelujah, I thought. The times, they are a changin’.

However, we’re also keen to use our platform to advocate for wider societal change.

In other words, to us, the distinction between mothers/fathers or childbearing/non-childbearing is not only antiquated, but is actively antithetical to gender equality in the workplace—not to mention terrible for actual family life.

So, we’ve decided to allocate the budget that we would have spent on matching what’s offered by our market leading competitors to offering something slightly different: namely 18 weeks’ full pay to either parent in our UK Team.

Interestingly, our market research showed us that the US is ahead of the UK on this point. The average we found in the US was 16 weeks’ full pay to either childbearing or non-childbearing parents. So, that’s what we’ve decided to offer to our US Team.

We’ve also decided to stipulate a very short amount of minimum service (passing your probation period in the UK, or completing your first 12 weeks’ work with us in the US). Our logic is that you’re ready to have a family when you’re ready, and our interest is simply in attracting and retaining extraordinary people to come and work with us.

Finally, we’ve decided not to offer different terms under shared parental leave. Instead, our UK team members will receive 18 weeks’ full pay regardless of whether they take it as maternity leave, paternity leave or shared parental leave (although your statutory entitlements would vary depending on which leave type you took). Again, our reasoning here is that offering enhanced terms under shared parental leave may actually prevent non-childbearing parents from taking the leave if, for instance, their partner isn’t keen to curtail their own leave. This seems counterintuitive to us—so we’ve kept it simple and equitable.

Forward, gang, into the promised land! And enjoy your wonderful families. I certainly have :)