Life
JM | Jun 20, 2022

Young father hails benefits of Flow’s Parental Leave Policy

/ Our Today

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Over the last six months, Stefan Fennell experienced what he described as a life-changing opportunity.

Not only did the first-time father and partner channel co-ordinator in the B2B Division at Flow Jamaica welcome the birth of his daughter, Selene, he also received paid leave to spend more time bonding with his young family.

Fennell credits his company’s Parental Leave Policy for allowing quality time with his wife, in the early days after giving birth.

“Taking care of an infant takes both parents, and my wife greatly appreciated every moment that I was there to help, as it took so much more off her and enabled her to relax when she needed to. After all, she did the hardest job of all!” he shared.

Flow’s Parental Leave Policy, in effect since June 1, 2019, is applicable to permanent employees or those on a fixed-term contract. It provides 16 weeks of paid leave for birth mothers, and eight weeks of paid leave for fathers, adoptive and foster parents as well as surrogate parents.

After his experience, Fennell is clear in his recommendation to any new father, whose company provides such an opportunity.

“My greatest challenges were learning what my baby likes and dislikes; learning the different cries to understand whether she’s in pain, uncomfortable, is hungry or needs a diaper change.”

Stefan Fennell, first-time father and partner channel co-ordinator in the B2B Division at Flow Jamaica

“Those eight weeks are so crucial to your baby’s life. Just that close bond to learn their needs in those first critical weeks makes a huge difference in your family’s life and it creates a strong connection between you and your little one,” Fennell explained.

He added: “Your significant other will also come to appreciate you so much more because they realise they’re not alone in taking care of your baby.”

While he enjoys fatherhood, he stated that it is not without its challenges.

“My greatest challenges were learning what my baby likes and dislikes; learning the different cries to understand whether she’s in pain, uncomfortable, is hungry or needs a diaper change,” he said.

Fennell also learnt first-hand about the sleepless nights.

“The lack of sleep as a new parent – people state that it will happen, but you will never know until you’re fully in that situation,” he added with a smile.

Despite the challenges, Fennell would never trade fatherhood for any other experience. In fact, his daughter gives him a reason to be his best self at the office. He further explained how he maintains his work life balance.

“My daughter brings out the best in me and knowing my job affords me the ability to take care of her financially is the best motivation to keep pushing. The balance comes from the love for your child and the attitude of wanting more success to afford her the life she deserves,” Fennell reflected.

‘LEARN YOUR CHILD’S LIKES AND DISLIKES’

On the matter of advising young corporate fathers facing the challenge of balancing fatherhood and a successful work life, Fennell said: “Learn your child’s likes and dislikes; understanding how they are as a little person makes a huge difference.”

He added: “I can tell when she needs anything because of those early crucial eight weeks with her. The behaviors may change with added personality of how she/he expresses themselves but once you learn that from the initial stages, it will make life so much easier.

“The more comfortable they are with you, the better. Also, always make time for them because they will know they can depend on you. You will be faced with challenges but overcoming them is a learning process. Keep trying to learn as it will make you a better man and a better father in the end.” 

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