East Durham Business editor and owner of LEC, Leanne Fawcett on maternity, paternity and being a working parent.
In this issue’s What’s Trending Now feature, EDB designer Alan Sawyers chats to EDB editor and MD of communications, digital and publishing company LEC, Leanne Fawcett. Leanne talks about her impending new arrival, how she plans to juggle having a new born with running a business – and that fact she won’t be taking any maternity leave.
EDB: It’s fair to say 2023 is going to be a big year for you… LF: It certainly is yes. My husband and I are due to welcome our baby boy in April, and while this will be our third child, it is our first together. Being a biological mother was always something I’d dreamed of, however, after several setbacks I had accepted it wasn’t meant to be and was more than happy being ‘mum’ to Quin and Darcey, who I have brought up since they were three and four and are very much my children. But maybe it was fate, or just meant to be, as in the summer we found out I was pregnant and this time around, everything worked. I am now just seven weeks off my due date and can’t wait.
EDB: How will the new arrival impact on your business, LEC? LF: Well, unlike most mums-to-be who can expect to take months of maternity leave, unfortunately I am not in a position to do that, as I am both the employer and employee and it’s down to me to make sure the work continues to come in. Of course, I do also want to enjoy every minute of time with my baby boy so for me, it’ll be getting the balance right between spending time with my new baby and also ensuring the clients are looked after. Thankfully, I am not on my own and have some great support around my, both personally and professionally, so I am certain I’ll manage.
EDB: What about your husband, will he get to take some time off to help you? LF: Well, our experience with regard to paternity leave has certainly been an eye-opener. We assumed he would get two weeks of full pay, so our plan was that he would take two weeks paternity leave and two weeks holiday. However, we have since been told his employer doesn’t offer a paternity package, despite them being a large global employer, which we were amazed at. However, what we did look into was him taking some proportion of ‘maternity’ leave as I am unable to and that’s something we are waiting to hear more about.
EDB: It sounds like it’s quite a complex area when the mum can’t take straightforward maternity leave… LF: I am no expert in this area by any means, but yes, it has been quite complex. Obviously everyone’s experiences will be different depending on whether the mum is taking maternity leave and what package the dad’s employer offers. Our challenge has been that I have to keep on working to ensure I can pay myself and the statutory paternity offer is not viable – it would have meant my husband getting paid £156.66 per week which is simply not possible when you have bills to pay.
EDB: So when your little boy arrives, what’s your plan to juggle motherhood with running your business? LF: I’ve got a plan now but I have no doubt the reality will be far different from the ideal. With help from my husband and family, my intention is that I will either work as and when I can each day, depending on client commitments, or schedule one day a week where I sit behind the laptop and get everything done I need to. I guess though, I will have to play it by ear and see what happens once little man arrives. I have to say, I am very lucky that LEC’s clients are fantastic and I have great relationships with then, so many have said they’d like me to take the baby in when I go in for meetings. I’m not sure how realistic that is but it’s good to know that even professionally, the support is there!