Schneider Electrics family leave policy helps mothers thrive

Schneider Electric's family leave policy helps mothers thrive

 December 18, 2018

Stephanie Byrd is passionate about energy and its role in reshaping industries, transforming cities, and enriching lives. She is the Director of State Affairs at Schneider Electric where she is a go-between to lawmakers, regulators, and industry associations to create new energy landscape. Stephanie shares her experience of  Schneider Electric’s inclusive Family Leave Policy.

A big announcement

When Stephanie's first child was born, she had been working at Schneider Electric full-time. She spent the following 12 weeks using a mix of holiday allowance, short-term disability, and FMLA to finish work and start motherhood.

After Stephanie had been back to work full-time for several months, her baby now grown into a toddler, Schneider Electric made a big announcement.

On June 2017, Schneider Electric launched what Stephanie describes as a "best-in-class" global family leave policy that gives 12 weeks of fully paid leave for new parents (12 weeks for the primary parent and 2 weeks for the secondary parent) for both natural birth and adoption.

"It’s a clear testament to Schneider’s unique core values of diversity and inclusion . I knew that most of my other working friends did not have this luxury at their companies. I admired Schneider Electric for truly stepping up to the plate—not just talking about Diversity and Inclusion, but writing it into policy and practice," says Stephanie. "Little did I know, I would soon test out the new family leave policy with my second child."

Appreciative of Schneider Electric's job flexibility

SchneiderElectric Family Leave Policy

While pregnant with her second child, Stephanie could walk around during phone calls in the Schneider Electric offices and make frequent trips to the kitchenette and well-stocked vending machines for more and more food.

"I even used the treadmill in the gym (especially in the last month hoping to walk the baby out!)," says Stephanie.

"My job also requires air travel and although being pregnant often slowed me down, it didn’t stop me. I recall having to pass on a few cocktail hours and a competitive game of bowling, but overall felt proud of doing my job while also growing a human being. When I couldn’t fly anymore due to airline rules, Schneider was okay with it. When I had doctor appointments that cut into work hours, Schneider was okay with it. I am thankful to work for a company that provides this type of job flexibility and I felt very supported throughout the journey," adds Stephanie.

"My son was born on a Saturday (8lbs!) and on Sunday I texted my manager a happy note and later sent out an email to my colleagues. I really appreciated the warm wishes they sent back."

Stephanie explains that the entire maternity leave process was very simple and easy to manage.  Stephanie worked with Schneider Electric's family leave administrators while in the hospital to ensure all the paperwork was sorted for 12 weeks of paid leave.

Stephanie is also thankful to Schneider Electric’s new policy for offering 2 weeks of fully paid secondary parental leave. Her husband, a fellow Schneider employee, was able to use the two-week secondary parent paid family leave, which for Stephanie and her husband was a huge help during her first weeks home. 

"That time was a blur of baby care and Netflix marathons, and thankfully Schneider respected our time off!" says Stephanie.

Returning to work

After 12 weeks Stephanie went back to work around the time of her ten-year anniversary with Schneider Electric.

"It is easy to spend ten years with a company that invests so much in employee engagement and high performance (see us as one of Forbes America’s Best Large Employers and certified as a Great Place to Work!). It is also easy to transition back to work when there is a supportive culture, a nursing mothers’ room, and a complimentary mail service for shipping breast milk home when traveling," say Stephanie.

"I’m grateful for the new family leave policy that helps keep our Schneider Electric motto “Life is On” true for new parents. I hope we inspire other companies to make diversity and inclusion an integral part of their business."

Join talented women like Stephanie 

Schneider Electric appreciates what makes you you — your talent within talent. Schneider Electric are a dynamic, global company looking for passionate people to help it innovate at every level; champions of safe, reliable, efficient, sustainable and connected energy for everyone.

Schneider Electric is keen for talented women to join them as one of their #SEGreatPeople.


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