Embracing Paid Family Leave

Parents need to spend time with their kids. We get that.

The baby boom at SunCommon is continuing and we are so excited for our new moms and dads! Since we were founded in 2012, we’ve offered paid parental leave to our employees. Fifteen dads and six moms have used the benefit — some of them more than once — for the births and adoptions of twenty-five children. Right now, lawmakers in Vermont are debating a universal paid family leave bill. Here are some thoughts by two of our employees on what the paid leave benefit has meant to them.

Luky Cady Suncommon Dad

Luke Cady; Isaac’s Dad

Supply Chain and ERP Manager

Having my first child has been an exercise in learning how to drink from a fire hose.
The first weeks were spent navigating sleep deprivation, care for a new human, and care for myself and my partner. The four-week leave provided by SunCommon gave me the space I needed to focus on my new family and their needs without having to split my time and energy between work and home.  The time it gave me took immense pressure away from my spouse, and in turn, created a more relaxed, supportive environment for our child.

As a new parent, my wife and I were learning everything from scratch – we had very little newborn baby experience.  Being able to work together on each aspect, learn from each other, discuss, change our game plan, change again, and work towards a cohesive way we wanted to approach all of the new parts of our life, was only possible because I was present.  Being present for the first weeks of a child’s life, when they need the most and are being introduced into their entire new world, is irreplaceable. There is no such things as phoning it in, Facetiming, or catching up in the evening – this requires full-time presence and I am fortunate enough to work at a company that understands this.

Kristin DeDiana; Maris and Selene’s Mom

Solar Site Evaluator

I was very fortunate when it came to taking leave after the birth of my second child Selene. I had been dreading talking with my manager because I was only part-time and I didn’t know what to expect. I was incredibly grateful to find out that I was eligible for paid family leave. The alternative was that I force myself to come back before I was ready or I leave the job, cross my fingers, and hope this job or another one would be available. Because of SunCommon’s parental leave policy, I didn’t have to make those hard choices.

Vermont faces two big challenges when it comes to young professionals — getting us to come here and providing enough daycare when we start families. The cost of living in Vermont is high, and universal paid family leave could tip the scales for young people deciding if they want to move to Vermont, or, even, to stay here.  A 12 week universal paid family leave program also has the potential to ease the childcare shortage. If both parents get 12 weeks leave — without the financial worries of not having a paycheck — then so many more children would start daycare at 6 months, rather than 3 months, or 6 weeks, or even younger. In addition those same parents would not have to start paying for daycare so soon.

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