Having recently returned to work after a year of maternity leave, I spent some time reflecting on the amazing year I had at home, taking care of my newborn. Personally, it was a special time to bond with my baby and watch her grow, while, professionally, Fleet Complete has made the whole experience a fantastic one for me – before, during, and after.
Fleet Complete has a very supportive culture when it comes to parental leave, which helps immensely in the time when one might feel like a burden to the team. I found it quite stressful to break the news, however, from the moment I did, I felt nothing but support from my colleagues at all levels in the company. My team threw me a baby shower to celebrate the expected arrival of the baby and I felt accommodated throughout the entire pregnancy. Although easy to overlook, the mom-to-be bash at work meant a lot to me, and celebrating this exciting time in my life with my team members, with whom I spend more time than my own family, made the experience a special one.
As wonderful as it was to have the time off with my new baby, the financial stress was always on my mind. I was lucky enough to be one of the first mothers to benefit from Fleet Complete’s new Top Up Program, which I received for the full year in addition to the EI benefits from the government. Very few companies provide mothers with a top up, and even fewer companies top up for the full year. When Google increased its paid maternity leave, the rate at which new mothers quit dropped by 50%. And as our company strives to be the leader of the pack in everything we do, it is not surprising that we have one of the best maternity top up programs in the world.
Keep in Touch (KIT) days
Some companies have formal KIT days for new mothers to stay in the loop. My KIT days were less formal, but just as informative. Throughout the year, I would occasionally visit work to say hi or have lunch with my boss and peers to stay up-to-date about the happenings in the company. In addition to the face-to-face meet ups, our HR department had continuously corresponded with me to ensure I had the most current information when it comes to our benefits and training programs. I even had the chance to participate in Fleet Complete’s Rotman Leadership Development program at UofT for a few days, which gave me an opportunity to sit in one classroom with my peers and have some baby-free time.
Returning to work
While the transition has been smooth, I often feel conflicted, missing my kids while wanting to work and provide myself with a sense of professional fulfillment. At Fleet Complete, I feel supported and appreciated, which makes the time away from my kids a bit more bearable. I wish more companies invested in helping and supporting women through this transition, as it pays dividends in employee retention and morale, and builds a culture of inclusivity.