Recognise the diversity of family life and different routes to becoming a parent
My husband and I have welcomed two children via surrogacy, one under the previous policy and one under the new policy, and I can attest that the FamilyCare policy is uncomplicated and easy to digest. Matters that arose with my firstborn under the previous policy were non-existent under FamilyCare, making preparations for my second child feel seamless.
When deciding on the timing of my parental leave I had concerns about the impact it may have on my career and sought the advice of a few Partners on what timing of leave would impact my career progression the least. To my delight, the consistent message from all was that taking parental leave would not affect my career and that I should take leave based on what made sense for my family circumstances.
This mattered a great deal to me as it confirmed Ashurst's people-centric culture - a rarity within the industry. It is comforting to know that our hard work is recognised by our leaders and that they respect and even encourage a balance between our personal lives and our professional lives.
The thoughtful construction of the parental leave policy goes a long way to break down preconceived ideas and assumptions around who should look after a child. Parenthood is a shared responsibility and the policy empowers all parents to put their hand up to access leave and other benefits so that they can have an active role in raising their child.
The policy also sends a message to men in particular that if they do choose to take parental leave then no one is going to think less of them and they aren’t going to be reprimanded or restricted with their career for doing so. We have the luxury of working for a firm that actually supports all our parental journeys, so we should all take advantage of it.
Having a child is an extraordinary experience but it doesn’t mean that my personal experience, although less common, is extraordinary or different from any other families experience. My family is no different to the next and under FamilyCare I was able to reap great benefits, with the greatest being that I was treated the same as every other parent and carer at Ashurst.
"I hope that my positive experience and the support and celebratory attitude shown to me throughout my journey will enlighten anyone else in the firm who is in a similar position to realise that if I can do it, then so can they."
Rodrigo Romero Hidalgo, Senior Associate