"Take the opportunity for a parental leave, it’s an investment into your family."
Florian, TeamLeader Asset Management at AXA IM Germany
We have asked some of our colleagues to share about their parental leave experience. Hear from Florian who took advantage of the 4-weeks paternity leave.
How did you feel that you benefitted from this leave?
I realised the benefits in many situations. You don't really notice - especially as a working man, - how a child really grows up or what kind of progress it makes. And what kind of progress you already make at that age. Being able to see that was actually the best thing. It is really interesting to see how he has developed from day to day.
Personally the self-determination was what I liked best. At lunchtime, he almost always slept for two hours, and I usually took a nap with him right away. It was really nice. We woke up together, ate something and then went out for a short while. You alone are the master of your time. I was no longer used to that and it is a real luxury. No appointment, no compulsory event, just you and your family.
How did your manager support you in this process?
In Germany it is possible to take two months of statutory parental leave as father. After careful consideration, I decided to take the AXA IM paternity 4-weeks directly afterwards, so that I was off for three sequential months.
Of course, I was unsure how my manager will react because the business continues and the operational topics were enormous. I finally addressed it openly and my manager was very supportive. He did not hesitate for a second and said that he would have done the same if he had the opportunity a few decades ago. My team also gave me excellent support. Everyone worked a little extra to compensate for the workload caused by the temporary loss of one member of the team.
How did this leave allow you to play your role as a parent?
Everyday life was a strange mixture of underchallenge and effort of a different kind that I was used to in my professional everyday life.
I came much closer to my son, was able to decode his messages better and perceived him better in his individuality.
We never have so much time for ourselves. You get to know the world around you from a completely different perspective; I hardly knew many of my neighbours, for example.
Do you have an anecdote to share with us?
One day when we wanted to go to the zoo, there was another baby in the queue in front of the entrance. The baby was completely dressed in pink. Pink pants, pink top, pink hat. My son took his pacifier out of his mouth and started grunting. Our zoo trip was about to begin…
What advice would you give to your colleagues?
Take the opportunity for a parental leave, it’s an investment into your family. In a while, you will certainly not remember which topics you would have worked on in your job at that time. But you will remember what you experienced during your parental leave for the rest of your life. The memories of the first attempts of walking or the first words ("ball”, “papa”) are priceless- the list is really long. Parental leave allows you to be with your child in exactly that time and to experience that time more intensively.
Why paternity leave matters for everyone
In our offices worldwide, we support parents to manage their careers with us whilst also managing the challenges of family life.Read our story for more