Diversity & Inclusion

What’s it like to take paternity leave? | AECOM

Ally Paine, Surveyor at AECOM, has recently returned from three months paternity leave, and we ask him tall about his experience taking leave as a new dad.

To celebrate Flexible Working Day 2019, we turn the spotlight to our employer partners leading the way in flexibility.

Ally Paine, Senior Quantity Surveyor in AECOM’s Wellington office, has recently returned from three months of paid parental leave to care for his daughter, Olive – a benefit on offer to all AECOM team members (after six months of service).

We caught up with Ally to learn more about his role with AECOM and the challenges of negotiating with a nine-month-old.

Describe your role in 25 words or less.

I am a quantity surveyor based in the Wellington office. Often described as construction accountants, except with way more charisma than your typical number cruncher.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

After the commute in from the sunny Kapiti Coast, I kick-start the day with a flat white (one sugar) then roll the sleeves up.

A typical day could consist of measuring plans with a scale ruler or using measurement software packages, estimating or reviewing construction costs, conducting site inspections, or a combination of the above. Every project is different and no two days are usually the same. We have a great team environment, and we’ve figured out the fine balance between work and play, which makes work life that much easier.

What did you enjoy most about being on paid parental leave?

I took leave when Olive was nine months old through to a year. This, for me, was the perfect time as Olive’s physical and cognitive development was ramping up. She crawled, stood, chatted and generally grew so much during this period. It was amazing to see her level of understanding and comprehension grow. Olive has both parents wrapped around her little pinky.

What skills did you find yourself using?

Time management skills, primarily. My partner Em and I tried our best to implement routine with Olive. For the most part, it’s been a success.

My negotiation skills however were also put to the test i.e. “Olive, it’s time for bed.” Olive on most occasions won these negotiations and it remains an ongoing daily dispute.

If you could choose a song to play every time you walked into a room, what would it be?

After three months of parental leave you’d be forgiven for thinking Baby Shark. The QS in me says ‘Money’, by Pink Floyd.

Interested in working at AECOM? Check out their available roles here.


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