HOW TO PLAN FOR PATERNITY LEAVE
If you’re a new Dad or are taking Paternity leave for the first time, you may not know where to start. Paternity leave takes as much thought and preparation as any other fatherhood task and at times can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are some simple items you can cross off your list to help with your decision and plan for the rewarding time you’ll have with your little one.
PLANNING AHEAD AT WORK:
• As soon as you can, speak to your supervisor, human resources department, union or professional association to understand your options available. Ask a lot of questions. It will help you uncover benefits you may not know exist.
TIP: In conversation, be sure to ask if your employer will top-up Employment Insurance (EI) parental leave benefits and give other forms of support. Every organization is different.
• Help your supervisors plan for your work to be covered during the time you are taking off. Preparing work colleagues for this in advance will ensure a smooth transition and guarantee you can make the most of your time away.
• Just as important as your exit, you should plan your re-entry to work. This can include how to get back up to speed on projects, a detailed transition plan with your replacement or colleagues supporting your workload and what your work schedule will look like when you return.
TIP: If flexible working hours or working from home is in the cards for your job, consider defining your expectations during this transition to ease back into your routine to best support both work and home.
Planning Ahead at Home
• To ensure quality time with your newborn, try to complete household tasks you may have been putting off before starting your paternity leave. Whether it be fixing a tap or building a shed, plan to conquer these in advance so you can focus your energy on quality bonding time.
• Discuss how to divide the common household tasks with your partner to ensure you’re sharing the load and have equal time spent with your infant. Supporting one another during this time is essential. TIP: Make a list of all the household and parenting tasks that need to get done each day and update it on a chore board or calendar. This can help keep these duties top of mind and equal.
• Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of friends, family or a financial representative to get support in financial planning for your paternity leave. This will help you stay on track with your goals and combats a common barrier to taking the leave in the first place.
TIP: Financial representatives can also help clarify any financial questions you may have on the new Government of Canada Paternity benefits (opens in a new window).
Take a Parenting Class
• Once you start your paternity leave, you will want to ensure you’re well-prepared to care at every stage of your baby’s life. A parenting class isn’t just about acquiring basic skills, it’s also about learning how to overcome common challenges and issues.
TIP: Parenting classes are a great forum to discuss any barriers or challenges you’re facing with paternity leave. They are a great place to meet other new parents and start to build a support network.
Join a community:
• Joining a parenting community helps provide support to challenges you may will face through the early stages of parenting and being on paternity leave. This community can be a great resource to discuss common topics and issues, learn new skills and knowledge, share experiences and spend time with other parents on leave.
TIP: Many parent-baby/toddler groups currently exist and there are a range of groups to choose from to suit your own personal situation or preference.