Ably Commit To Inclusive Parental Leave

A guest feature, written by Ably's People Partner, Gaia Corno. Originally published by Gaia Corno on the Ably Blog.

12th Nov 2021

This is an exciting time for Ably! With our recently raised Series B round we are growing the company, and many new people are joining us. We started 2021 with 38 people in our team; currently, we are at 82 Ablyans, with plans to grow to about 200 by the end of 2022.

We want to make sure that each new Ablyan - and each current Ablyan - has the best experience possible. This means creating and fostering an empathetic culture that is open and inclusive, and that follows our core values. Jodie, our Head of People, has written about how these values came to be defined.

With our values in mind, we reviewed our policies to ensure they were inclusive, generous and suited to our current team. Autonomy and flexibility are at the forefront: we're a remote-first company with flexible hours and have created generous leave policies, including our Compassionate Leave, Dependent Leave, Sick Leave, and of course, we offer 27 days of Annual Leave (plus a day off on your birthday!).

The first policy that jumped out at us was our parental leave policy, because it wasn't as generous or compassionate as we'd like. We were only offering statutory maternity, paternity, and adoption leave, which just wasn't good enough. So we started to look at how to update it to match our other Leave policies.

To benchmark our existing policy, we researched leading parental leave policies in companies we compare ourselves to and aspire to be. Throughout this process, the Ably values guided us, particularly the principles to be inclusive, compassionate, and competitive.

The main components of our new parental leave policy are:

  • a gender-neutral parental leave with equal leave for primary and secondary caregivers;
  • a generous and competitive amount of leave;
  • compassion for anyone facing loss, whether through miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, or unfilled adoption.

To make our policy as inclusive as possible, we worked with FairHQ, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion external consultant, which has been supporting us in our work since early this year. FairHQ provided a checklist of components and some key reference points for us to base our research upon.

You can read the full policy here (please keep in mind that all other policies are still internal at the moment, so you won’t be able to view any of the linked items), and here's a snapshot of the full-pay time off (for Ablyans based in the UK and Europe, inclusive of situations such as miscarriages):

Here is a more detailed explanation of each of the main components and driving factors behind our parental leave update:

An inclusive policy

We want to champion our “Open for All” value, which we define as follows:

Open is a mindset. When open, we're better collaborators, communicators, and creators. Whether open source, standards, or protocols, open hearts, minds, and eyes. It's better when it's open.

We recognize that:

  • Not every parent will be in a mother-father couple. We want to give all parents the chance to take parental leave equally, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or family composition;
  • All parents deserve time with a new family member to bond, get to know each other, rest, and recover;
  • Every parent's work is equally important - both in the office and at home!

With a gender-neutral parental leave policy, each parent is free to make their own decisions for their family, which makes Ably more inclusive.

A compassionate policy

We strive to add humanity to everything we do at Ably. We define technology needs humanity as follows:

Our technology means little without people - whether that's how we treat our colleagues, or how we design developer experiences. Being human matters.

There are unfortunate cases in which an expectant parent will not have a child. We want to give Ablyans facing loss as much support and leave as possible in these circumstances and allow them to grieve as they need to and as they choose to. We include these situations in our Parental Leave, along with employee support options during time away from work and return-to-work support available once they are ready.

A competitive policy

Even the best do better! We took apart our existing parental leave policy to improve it and to improve Ably. We want Ably to be a great place to work, both for the work we do and for the company we are. We aim to create inclusive policies, encourage diversity and productivity, and, most importantly, make Ablyans happy.

We want to have a generous and competitive Parental Leave policy so Ablyans can take the time to bond with their new family members. Then they are fully supported by our return-to-work policy, which recognises that work-life balance means something different to everyone. There should be flexibility to allow Ablyans to go at their own pace. We will give everyone greater peace of mind and mental wellbeing since they can prioritise their family when it counts and return to work when they are ready.

We've recently raised our Series B round, and are growing steadily. We intend to keep creating a more inclusive and open workplace. If you want to join us on this journey, apply for one of our many open roles and/or follow along on Twitter or LinkedIn.

We're still taking baby steps to build out life at Ably, and with our inclusive and people-first approach, we're a fun place to work. Don't just take my word for it, check out our reviews on Glassdoor!

If you're reading this as an HR person: our full parental leave policy is available to read here (please keep in mind that all other policies are still internal at the moment, so you won’t be able to view any of the linked items). We'd love to hear from companies focused on inclusive policies too! What feedback do you have for us? What's working for you, and how are you reviewing and updating your policies? Get in touch!

If you'd like to learn more about Ably and their approach to Flexible Working, be sure to check out their Company Page!