Equal Pay Day took place on 15th November. It marks the date that symbolises how many extra days women must work until the end of the year to earn what men earned in the same year.
It is a moment to raise awareness of the fact that female workers across Europe still earn on average 12.7% less than their male counterparts. This is the equivalent of working for free for six and a half weeks per year (yes, more than most Europeans get as Holiday Leave).
The stereotypes entrenched in society depict women as being warm and caring and men being decisive and assertive - because of this, women are perceived as less suitable for leadership roles. Evidence tells us that women's career progression is impacted by gender bias, in particular those around motherhood.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies (UK) measured the impact of childbearing in a women’s career. Their stats showed that by the time her first child is 12-years-old, a women’s hourly pay rate is 33% behind a man’s. Sociologists have coined the term “motherhood penalty” to sum up the disadvantages women encounter in terms of earnings and career progression when they have children.
There are a number of things we can do as a company and as individuals to close that gap. According to the UK Government, one of them is to encourage the uptake of Shared Parental Leave.
Other actions are for men to work reduced and/or flexible hours after paternity leave. Because while new mothers celebrate their working arrangements -pleased that they can earn some cash while still seeing their child-, as activist Joeli Brearley puts it “part-time working can mean that any chance you had of being promoted, grounds to a stubborn standstill”. More dads taking part-time arrangements after parental leave, help de-gendering and destigmatizing the taking of leave during one's career.
It is for that reason, that we thought in having a conversation with our colleagues Grant Sprigings and Robin Elmes who have returned from parental leave recently. Here is what they had to say.
You made use of DAZN’s enhanced paternity leave recently, how did it work for you? What did it mean for your family life?
Grant: I decided to take 4 full weeks and return to work at 60% for 12 weeks. The 4 weeks break was invaluable. Our son was born premature and therefore had to spend the 1st week of his life in hospital being monitored having the ability to have 4 full weeks meant I was able to support my wife whilst she stayed in hospital and meant I was still able to have time at home settling in.
Robin: My partner and I experienced the benefits of DAZNs shared parental leave for our first child, so with DAZNs new enhanced policy this year, the extended support enabled us as a family to build an even stronger platform to give our newborn the best start and our toddler the time and attention to adapt and embrace the change. For me, the shared Parental time at the start, helped build a bond with our baby and set the tone of our childcare, one where the partner and the mum try to share all possible care and support roles, enabling confidence to grow and work commitments aren’t a distraction or an excuse! The benefits of this continue to present themselves as the children grow.
How easy was it to approach DAZN with your request?
Grant: The request was extremely easy, the guidance on the intranet was exactly what was needed and answered all the questions I had.
Robin: Firstly, shared parental leave is complicated! Having had the experience 3 years ago, we still found we had many questions about the newly enhanced policy. That said, with the help of Rafa from the People Team, we navigated the policy options and put a tailored plan together.
You are now working reduced hours, how does it impact you work-life balance? What challenges are you facing and is there any other support that you think DAZN can offer?
Grant: It is a massive change to life and your priorities are split, the company has been very supportive and my line manager has allowed me the flexibility with my role to take the time needed at home, I have been able to deliver my daily role over the course of the day and have not been confined to a 9-5, sometimes my day starts at 1 in the morning but have the flexibility to do so.
Robin: I have now concluded my period of return to work on reduced hours, this approach gave me and my family the extended time and flexibility to adapt back to our new ‘normal’. Of course, the return to work on reduced hours period cannot be achieved without the support and understanding of your manager and team colleagues. Yes, you feel guilty, but the time you get back allows you to continue to provide childcare and your partner the time to adapt to their return to work. I feel DAZN offering this support is a real good news story for the company and we should shout about it!
What piece of advice would you give to DAZN’s dads-to-be?
Grant: Don’t sweat the small stuff, DAZN has an amazing team and people are on hand to help you along the way, don’t feel bad for feeling like you have split priorities because you do.
Robin: You can never be fully prepared to be a parent, so don’t overly try to be! Instead learning on the job with your baby and partner on shared parental leave is to be embraced. And more generally, the internet can deliver anything you may require to solve any eventuality in 24 hours. So no need to buy everything available in the baby department of John Lewis before the baby is born…