David Martin with his family.
David Martin with his family.
David Martin with his family.
David Martin with his family.
Inside the Stagecoach
December 16, 2016

New dad of twins ‘grateful for parental leave’

A team member talks about how Wells Fargo’s new parental leave benefit helped his family welcome twins and adjust to a new family dynamic.

We’ve asked David Martin, a research and remediation manager in Charlotte, North Carolina, to share his recent experience using Wells Fargo’s new parental leave benefit and how it helped his family welcome twins.

When my wife, Annaliese, and I found out we were having twins, we were shocked, excited, and nervous all at once. The weight of it hit us as we started planning for the twins’ arrival. Annaliese works for a company that doesn’t offer any short-term disability or maternity benefits, so she would have to return to work after only a few weeks. Our only option was to stagger her unpaid time off and my paid time off to care for the twins as long as we could, before our finances forced us to put them in day care and return to work. We were struggling to come to terms with this less-than-ideal scenario, since it meant we’d have much less time to bond with our twins than we hoped.

When we were more than halfway through the pregnancy, Wells Fargo announced the new parental leave benefit. Our concerns quickly turned into a huge sense of excitement and relief. We began to formulate a new plan, which included me staying home as the primary caregiver to care for the twins for a full 16 weeks.

"The parental leave made a huge difference for our family."

At first, I was nervous about the whole prospect and how people at work would react to me, as a father, taking the 16-week parental leave. I felt a little hesitant to use the parental leave benefit — even a bit guilty. When I approached my manager about it, she expressed her full support and helped set my mind at ease. I realized this was a once-in-a-lifetime event and that using the benefit was the right option for our family.

When the time came, we were overjoyed to finally meet our twins. Annaliese’s transition back to work was still emotionally hard for her, but knowing I was caring for the twins at home made it much easier. The 16 weeks was a wonderful bonding time for our family; watching how quickly the twins changed over those first 16 weeks is an experience I’ll never forget. Of course, it came with challenges — like sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, and double-bottle feedings — but because I was able to solely focus on taking care of the twins and not worry about juggling work responsibilities, our family had a positive experience during what could have been a stressful time. What’s more, receiving full pay during my leave alleviated the financial worry that comes with adding two new babies to the family.

My team was incredible during my time away. They worked together, along with my manager, to ensure that everything was taken care of while I was out. More than anything, they were excited about the twins and happy for our growing family — it was awesome to have that kind of support and a benefit like this.

Some of my family and friends were really surprised and impressed that a company would offer such a generous benefit to a male parent — even if he was considered the primary caregiver. It’s cool the company designed a benefit that’s inclusive of all team members, regardless of their gender, circumstances, or family structure. Having the opportunity to use the parental leave made a huge difference for our family, and we’ll always be grateful for it.