1st July 2022

Flexibility and support for non-birthing parents: How Vodafone’s 16-week global parental leave made a difference to me.

Making it easier for new parents to enjoy those special early days

Those early days with children are priceless, and you only get them once. That’s why at Vodafone, we’re ensuring that no matter where you work or what your role is in our organisation, you’re empowered and comfortable to take that special time and fully dedicate it to your family.

Our global parental leave provides 16 weeks fully paid leave to all non-birthing parents, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or length of service. Additionally, employees can phase their return from parental leave by working the equivalent of a 30-hour week at full pay, for a further six months. These are just some of the many ways we offer flexibility and support for working parents at Vodafone, and yet another step towards promoting gender equality.

Below, two of our team members are sharing the difference this parental leave has made to them and their families. Read Victor and Mark’s stories below.

Victor Fernandez
Manager of Network as Platform, API Catalogue Delivery

Being able to enjoy my daughter Lia for 16 weeks and take a more active role in childcare was just a blessing. I couldn´t be happier and I wish I could have done the same with my first daughter as well!

If I had to choose the best part of the whole thing, I would have to say bonding with my baby – spending time together, laughing and crying together, having naps together (spoiler alert for soon-to-be parents: your baby will sleep everywhere except its cot!). I can still feel that special bond and it’s there forever. But parental leave is not only about joy. Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months and being there to offer support during those extra weeks certainly helped my partner to make a faster recovery.

I think flexibility is key to supporting working mothers and fathers in the workplace, and I can't thank my manager Beatriz enough for her support. A variety of forms of flexible working were made available to me before, during and after my parental leave. I did spend a long time preparing my off boarding, but it was time well spent as I knew I could go on leave and just enjoy my little one. I’ve always thought that the happier you are at work, the better you perform, and that’s definitely true of my experience with Vodafone! It’s a win-win.

Mark Pocock
Senior Manager, Digital Engineering

Such generous parental leave has had a massive impact on my ability to support Hannah, my wife, and get to know Holly, our daughter. It’s been hugely rewarding and eye-opening being on hand to help so much in the early days of new parenthood – the only downside is I now know what I am missing being back in the office! 

As new parents, the initial eight weeks were amazing, exciting, challenging, energising, tiring and full of experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to have without this policy. Also, our daughter was born two weeks early and needed help with her feeding in the first few weeks, so being able to be on hand 24/7 was invaluable.

Despite the fact we were undertaking a significant reorganisation at the time and my role had changed from a UK-focused one to leading a team across Europe, everyone was super supportive.

Now I’m back, I’m still given flexibility to work from home or the office, which has ensured I enjoy all the milestones in Holly’s development like her first smile, first tooth, first roll and first laugh! And the truth is that when I’m having a challenging day, nothing beats having a cuddle with my daughter and getting a huge, engaging smile in return!