When ACU staff member Ricky Chan became a father, he was keen to spend as much time as possible with his new daughter Emily. Thanks to ACU’s parental leave provisions - which are available for either mums or dads – the Senior Quality and Risk Officer has had the opportunity to step into a new role. For the past seven months, Ricky has relished his new role as a stay-at-home dad and is enjoying caring for his young daughter.
“My favourite part of our day is our walks,” Ricky said. “Each day, I take Emily in the baby carrier and go for a 45min-1 hour walk after breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea - she loves going outdoors and seeing other people. Emily is nothing but giddy and smiles on these walks.”
Taking a parental leave break from his role at ACU wasn’t an entirely easy choice to make, as Ricky says he really enjoys working with his team in the Office of Planning and Strategic Management. However, Ricky felt the opportunity to spend time with Emily at such an early age was too good to pass up.
“Previously, I had never thought I would [be a stay-at-home dad], but if you look at Emily, you know she's worth it...” Ricky said. “The entire ACU community has been extremely supportive and congratulatory in my decision to take parental leave and many have commented on how refreshing it is for the dad to take leave.” Ricky says moving into a full-time carer role required him to set routines quickly, but to also be adaptable to Emily’s ideas! “Emily can be a rebel and refuse to conform with routines on some days. Luckily, I work in strategic management - so adaptation and planning comes naturally.” Ricky said. “This opportunity would not have been possible without the support/empathy of my Manager Simon Potts, and the Director of the Office of Planning and Strategic Management (Evelyn Picot), and of course ACU's policy of Parental Leave.”
Working with his manager, and the local HR consultant, Ricky was able to demonstrate his family’s need for the parental leave and make all the preceding planning arrangements easily. “I was pleased that Ricky wanted to take the opportunity to spend this time with Emily.” Simon said. “Ricky and I worked together to carefully plan the lead-up and period of leave and I will be doing the same for Ricky’s return to work. This included a number of in-depth hand-over sessions with the team and a phased approach to sharing responsibilities.”.
Ricky says his opportunity to become a stay-at-home dad from when Emily was six months old has benefited his family, and enabled his wife Paula to return to work. “I think it takes the pressure off the other partner to have to do everything. When Paula comes home, she can spend some quality time with Emily while I can prepare dinner or clean up an unexpected mess or do a couple loads of laundry (I really enjoy household chores but it's difficult to do some things while watching Emily). I definitely have bonded more closely with Emily as a result of taking leave,” Ricky said.
“I also meet a lot of people on the street and in shops (those who know me know I'm a people-person) and they have been nothing but elated/congratulatory of my decision to be a stay-at-home dad and indirectly are very positive of ACU for allowing dads to take parental leave.”