As someone who has been working at SAP for the entirety of his professional career, DBS Consulting Associate Perci Silva feels incredibly lucky. Perci also feels lucky to have had the opportunity to connect with his newborn daughter Manuela to an extent few in Brazil have experienced thanks to SAP’s parental leave policy.
Thanks to SAP’s new extended parental leave policy in Brazil, Perci was able to take 30 days of paid parental leave. Perci found out about SAP’s new policy only a month or so before his daughter was born during an all-hands meeting and thought, “Wow, I am such a lucky guy to be able to take advantage of this.” His coworkers and colleagues echoed similar sentiments.
“I didn’t have to be thinking about our customers, our services, or anything else.” Instead, he was able to completely focus on his daughter and her routine.
Perci set up a schedule and plan with his manager, but his daughter Manuela decided she wanted to come into the world ten days ahead of her due date. Fortunately, Perci’s manager was understanding about the situation and the two were able to change their original plan to fit Manuela’s actual birth date.
Thanks to his parental leave and the opportunity he got to speak with nurses who came to his home a few times before Manuela’s birth, Perci felt completely ready to welcome his baby into the world and take care of her. Perci found that within the first hour of his daughter’s birth, the knowledge he gained from the nurses proved incredibly useful to helping him become an active participant in his daughter’s care.
“It’s so great that SAP gave me this time to have just one thing on my mind”, says Perci referring to Manuela. “I didn’t have to be thinking about our customers, our services, or anything else”, he went on to say. Instead, Perci was able to completely focus on his daughter and her routine.
Perci’s wife also works at SAP as an Account Executive and is going on her eighth year now. Perci said that his parental leave has had a positive impact on her career and well-being. Some of Brazil’s population fosters a bias that when couples have a baby, the woman stays home and the man continues to work. Perci acknowledges this trend, but says he was determined to be the best father he could be. He says many of his friends and people in his community were surprised when he told them of his intention to take leave initially, but they were also happy and excited for him during leave.
Additionally, Perci notices that Manuela is calmer, happier, and easier to take care of now due to the extensive time she has been able to spend with both of her parents. Perci and his wife were even able to take leave together at one point, and Perci was determined to learn how to be a true 50/50 caregiver. He remarks, “I did not just want to be somebody who could help. Dad is dad. We should have equality regarding the responsibilities.” He is proud he can effectively change and bathe his daughter among numerous other tasks and responsibilities.
Perci ended his remarks with some advice for SAP fathers considering parental leave. He said, “Those early stages are the best times we can spend with our babies. It is so important to take this time, especially at the beginning. Your baby can feel the presence and love of both the father and the mother, and this opportunity is one huge reason why I am so happy and proud to work for SAP. It was one of the most special experiences of my life, and I don’t see any reason to not take advantage of the opportunity.”
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. Parental 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 shared 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.
To learn more about gender equality and parental leave, check out Shuchi Sharma’s blog on parental leave at SAP.