Accenture’s inclusive family friendly policies were a big drawcard
May 18, 2022
Daniel Montgomery-Morgan and his husband are preparing for fatherhood via surrogacy. As a recent joiner at Accenture, our family friendly policies were a major factor in his choice of employer. Find out more about Daniel’s story and how he’ll be using our paid parental leave.
In 2019 after same sex marriage in Australia was legalised, my husband Michael and I got married and made the decision that we wanted to start a family. We started exploring the various options, investigating adoption, local surrogacy and international surrogacy. It’s been quite a lengthy road, with COVID creating additional challenges and delays, but we’re now in the process of completing our surrogacy journey in Canada.
Our road to parenthood will be possible thanks to the generosity of two amazing women. Our egg donor is an Australian woman living in Vancouver and we’re hoping to finalise our gestational surrogate soon. We’ve been doing lots of interviews and meet and greets to find our perfect surrogate, as it’s really important to us to connect with someone who will have a long-term relationship as part of our family.
One of the major reasons why we chose Canada for our surrogacy journey is that it didn’t align with our values to have a paid surrogate. It just didn’t feel right to go down that road. The laws in Canada are for altruistic surrogacy only, with no financial benefit to the egg donor or the surrogate. It’s still a very long and expensive process though, as we cover all the medical expenses, obviously.
How Accenture is supporting our transition to parenthood
I only joined Accenture a year ago, after 20 years’ experience in industry. One of my criteria for choosing a new employer was its policies around parents, especially same sex parents, as Michael and I progressed further along the surrogacy process. A lot of roles I applied for did offer parental leave for fathers, but only a maximum of two weeks, even for same sex couples. Accenture’s culture around LGBTIQ+ inclusion and family friendly policies like 18 weeks paid parental leave that are open to all employees, regardless of gender, were a big reason for choosing to work here.
As we are using an international surrogate, there will be quite a bit of time where Michael and I will be required to be in Canada. This includes a trip at the time of the embryo transfer, another journey at the time of the gender reveal, and obviously around the birth. Around the baby’s due date, we will need to move to Canada for around three to four months. This includes arriving around a month and a half before the due date, then staying in Canada for another few months while the paperwork is all finalised.
Accenture has been incredibly supportive and accommodating of this, and I’m going to be able to work from Canada to Australian hours during those trips before the baby arrives. I think this kind of support is very rare from an employer perspective. During my recruitment process, I was also very clear that my ability to travel once the baby arrives will be limited. I’ve been told that won’t be a problem and I can be directed to client work with no dependency to travel.
My parental leave plans
Both Michael and I are incredibly fortunate to work for companies with market-leading paid parental leave policies. As Accenture offers 18 weeks paid parental leave, our plan is for me to take my leave first, probably at half-pay to double the amount of time I have with the baby. Michael will then take his leave after me, and this should enable us to keep the baby at home for up to two years while still receiving an income.
One of the biggest gifts of COVID is that I think there’s been a lot more acceptance of accommodating individuals needs, and a recognition that both parents need to play a part. In traditional family dynamics, there’s often still an expectation that it’s the mum that takes the time off work, but Michael and I really want to approach parenthood as a partnership.
Once we’ve both used our parental leave, our plan is for both of us to move to working a four-day week. We’ll each take one day a week off, which means we’ll only need to put the baby in childcare for three days a week.
We’re excited about what’s to come
One of the things Michael and I are most looking forward to is the ability to shape a person and their values. We really want to take all the good and bad experiences we had growing up, and help create another great human for our world. I’m looking forward to being the best dad I can possibly be.
We know that we’re probably going to have to face adversity as a same sex couple, especially as two dads. There’s still a bit of a belief that a child should have a mother, but we’ve been through a lot of assessments to make sure we’re ready. But for all the negativity that’s out there in the world at times, we’re just so thankful that there are some genuinely amazing and generous people out there who will help to give the gift of life – and do it for complete strangers, without any personal financial benefit. It’s a profound thing and something we’ll never take for granted.
We’re also looking forward to inspiring others and helping to set different expectations of what a modern family looks like. Our road to parenthood is helping to break stigmas and the support of employers like Accenture is playing a role in making that possible.
Do you want to work somewhere that is proudly family friendly? Find out more about our policies and explore current opportunities.