Nestlé’s Parent Support Spotlight on Michael: Taking the Time You Need as a New Foster Dad

“Paid parental leave meant we could give our foster kids the attention they need.”
Jan 22, 2018 12:00 PM ET

by Michael, Forklift Operator at Nestlé Purina

My wife Katy and I had been looking at adoption for a while, and we’d gone through the process of attaining an Illinois licence for adoption. It’s not about just filling in a form — we met a caseworker in December of 2016, and it took 10 months to go through the whole system, which included 35 hours of online courses and attending in-person classes 2 days a week from January-March 2017. Fortunately, in my role as forklift operator at Nestlé Purina’s Davenport facility in Illinois, my shifts include weekend hours — so I had some weekdays free to attend courses.

I had told my HR manager and our team lead that I was looking into adoption, and I’d heard that Nestlé had a new Parent Support Policy that I was eligible for, so in some ways we were prepared. But I don’t think anything could have prepared Katy and I for what was to come!

In Illinois, you need the same licence to foster a child as you do to adopt a child. We got the licence on September 1st, and were already applying to adopt a child — then something unexpected happened. I left for work on the morning of September 18th, and by the time I got to work at 6:30am Katy called and said the foster service were in need of emergency placement, and she’d agreed that we were available. I took a break from work at 10:30am and saw a text from Katy — two babies had already been brought to our house, we had practically no warning!

I immediately told my team lead, and headed home. I wasn’t due back at work for three days, but after two days my HR manager called and told me that I could start the Parental Support Policy. My 14 weeks of paid leave started with that frantic text and heading home on my break — it was that flexible!

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