Parental Leave: A Priceless Experience for Luciano Maciel
As an SAP employee and as a father, Luciano Maciel’s life has been a story full of surprises. Fortunately for him and all of us here at SAP, the surprises always seemed to end better than they started. Luciano started at SAP in 2014 as a member of the development team for a software related to regulation that SAP was looking to bring to market as part of its own separate business. Much to Luciano’s surprise, the entire business quickly got bought out and he was one of numerous employees who was to be laid off.
As an immigrant from Brazil, Luciano likes to take a different approach but encountered his share of barriers finding employment, and with his previous position terminated completely, Luciano said he found himself in a situation where his experience at SAP may come to an end. After looking for different roles, Luciano found another SAP position in GCO Sales, and was then quickly promoted to a GSO Sales Technology and Support Specialist. Around this same time, Luciano and his wife received news that she was pregnant.
|“It was priceless to have that time to share with my wife and to be able to fully support her. Being able to give that time back to my wife is one of my proudest accomplishments in life.”|
Luciano researched parental leave at SAP and spoke with his manager. His manager was very open and understanding and told Luciano to take as much time as he needed in addition to offering Luciano the option to work from home for a few weeks after his leave ended. Although, since Luciano had just been promoted (and it was the end of a quarter which is a hectic time for sales), he felt it wasn’t the right moment to take the full six weeks of parental leave. In the U.S., fathers are eligible for six weeks, but Luciano decided to only take four weeks.
Luciano believes we still have some barriers to overcome as far as the perception towards men taking parental leave in the workplace goes, but said he received a fantastic response from friends and family. He said the general response was, “Wow, that’s amazing that your company offers that, especially for men!”
Another surprise in Luciano’s life came when Luciano and his wife went for a routine checkup to assess the progress of his wife’s pregnancy. Shortly after arriving for their appointment, the doctor informed them Luciano’s wife had pre-eclampsia (a sharp and dangerous rise in blood pressure during pregnancy). Their physician informed them his wife would need to have the baby as soon as possible.
Luciano and his wife spent four days at the hospital while the doctors induced early labor, but fortunately everything went well. Now, Luciano said his daughter Sophie is big and healthy, laughing, and walking.
Having a true equal partnership with his wife is important to Luciano, and he scheduled his parental leave so it kicked in once his wife’s maternity leave expired. Luciano said, “Parental leave is not only a benefit. It is something that is needed and something that is applicable to everybody.” Luciano was able to reduce his wife’s stress and give her time off as he took care of their daughter, did the grocery shopping, cooked meals, and cleaned the house among numerous other responsibilities which allowed her to perform better in her own job when she returned to work.
“It was priceless to have that time to share with my wife and to be able to fully support her, he reflected. Luciano recalled, “Being able to give that time back to my wife is one of my proudest accomplishments in life.” He also believes the love and happiness between himself and his wife grew exponentially as a result of the experience, a commonly found benefit of parental leave (study finds paternity leave improves relationships for dual-income couples).
Luciano said he has no regrets regarding taking his leave. In fact, he said the only thing he regrets is not taking the full six weeks he was allotted. Luciano mentioned, “For me, I am grateful for every single moment with my daughter.”
As part of our EDGE action plan, the Global Diversity and Inclusion Office is launching numerous campaigns to create awareness and change behavior that benefits both men and women. A recent Deloitte survey found 57% of men said taking parental leave would be perceived as a lack of commitment to their careers but a wealth of research shows men who take parental leave are more active and engaged fathers with stronger family relationships, lower divorce rates, and more successful partners. Paternity leave is also associated with overall improved mental/physical health and well-being for new mothers and new fathers. SAP’s six weeks of paid parental leave takes us one step closer to gender equality as parents share child-caring responsibilities more equally and mothers, fathers, and SAP see the benefits with happier and more productive employees.