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Matt Stancombe

Matt Stancombe

Stancombe,Matt.jpgI have been working at the department since February 2001 in a number of assistant staff roles, and currently I am a Laboratory Manager and Departmental Teaching Technician in a 50/50 split.

I have two children, one five year old and one two year old and in terms of my working life had a broadly similar experience upon the birth of each. The department highlighted the available options and benefits for me and assisted in the completion of the applications. I requested two weeks parental leave around the time of birth alongside an extra two weeks annual leave to allow me 1 month absence. I also applied for 1 month shared paternal leave at the end of my partners' maternity leave.

Both periods were approved without question and I was fully supported by the department around each and every period of absence. Informal flexible working was discussed and used when necessary, something that continues up to the present. The complication that my job is divided in two roles was irrelevant as both were supported by the respective staff, colleagues and managers.

The Paternity leave was not only useful but necessary as after the first pregnancy and birth my partner suffered from a spinal leak due to the epidural procedure and was unwell and unable to support herself or child during the first month of motherhood. The Shared Paternity leave was also both useful and necessary as my partner is an academic who was head of a research group with paid staff that could not be suspended during a period of maternity leave and so an earlier return to work was essential to the successful delivery of a grant. It was also highly beneficial to me to enable me to both bond with my children and learn to be self-sufficient in their care.

The ease with which I found my preferred options delivered makes it very easy to take for granted that these procedures would be duplicated everywhere outside the university - obviously this is not the case!