“It was empowering to have the flexibility to be in a position to support my wife’s re-introduction into the workforce and also to spend precious quality time with my girls.”

man with two kid

Warren Shirley and his wife are a Shell dual-career couple who, at the time of growing their family, he was working as an Economics and Scheduling Manager while his wife was a Senior Process Engineer/Technical Auditor.

Prior to the arrival of baby number two, Warren’s wife was working four days a week and caring for their two-year old toddler. And when the baby was born, Warren’s wife took a six-month maternity leave. The couple juggled their time and leave to care for their young ones.

“When it came to the end of her maternity leave, I took a six-weeks paternity leave while she returned to work full time,” said Warren. “It was significant because I was a member of two management leadership teams, and my taking the paternity leave sent a profound message to the organisation on what was possible from a parental leave and primary caregiver point of view.”

Shell’s parental leave policy allowing Warren to take the paternity leave meant that his wife was able to have a quicker and smoother transition back full time into the workforce. And she quickly caught up on what she had missed during her absence, reconnected with people which ultimately resulted in her landing a new role as Laboratory Manager.

By this time, the baby was a little bit older and crawling. Eventually she went into daycare four days a week, following his return to work and his wife moving to a four-days a week schedule.

Man with his wife and two kid

Warren felt it was empowering to have the flexibility to be in a position to support his wife’s re-introduction into the workforce and also to spend precious quality time with both his young daughters, all the while having the full support of the business and the Supply & Distribution GM.

Warren reminisced, “I used this opportunity to broaden my daughters’ musical interests during our time together. Years later I am still grateful I was given this opportunity, and with my daughters now school aged my wife and I still take full advantage of Shell’s flexible working options to balance our careers, home responsibilities and precious time with our girls. Every Tuesday morning I start work at 9:30am so I can take my youngest daughter to tutoring. I can see my daughters’ view of the world where their parents are equals rather than different gender-assigned roles”.