Taking the time: Walmart Canada dads on making the most of parental leave

June 16, 2023

3 Min. Read

When Jordan McKee, our Senior Manager, Communication Technology, found out he was going to be a dad, he felt a mix of emotions – an experience many soon-to-be parents can relate to.

“I felt excited and nervous at the same time. I knew my life was about to change forever,” Jordan says.

Jordan and his wife welcomed their son in the summer of 2022, and he quickly discovered how becoming a parent completely changed his perspective on life.

“Suddenly, the world revolves around this tiny human being and your priorities shift overnight. Things that seemed to be important before are so small now in comparison,” Jordan says.

As Jordan started to wade deeper into the “new dad” waters, many people told him how this was a special time in his life he would never get back. At Walmart, we’re here to make sure our associates can take the time to enjoy these major life milestones.

Pictured above: Jordan's wife holding his son

To support our associates as they grow their families, we offer non-birthing associates paid time off through a top-up program (to supplement Parental Benefits) for up to 12 weeks.

Our full-time associates can also access a Gradual Return to Work Program for four to eight weeks.

When Jordan learned about the leave program, he decided to take some time away from work to be with his family during these early months in his son’s life.

“When I realized this was an opportunity I had now, I knew the time would be irreplaceable,” Jordan says. “I was determined to be the best father that I could possibly be.”

He said the parental leave program was easy to navigate which made him feel more confident in his decision to take the time to focus his family.

“My son is growing so quickly, and so much happens in just one day. Instead of hearing about moments from my wife, I was able to witness new milestones for myself,” Jordan said of his time on parental leave.

“Aside from the small day-to-day experiences, we also did a few outings as a family. We visited the Toronto Zoo, Ripley’s Aquarium, and The Big Apple (a popular attraction in Colborne, ON.)”

Reg Brown, Corporate Counsel at Walmart, is also a new(ish) dad, and will start his parental leave the day after Father’s Day 2023.

“In just 10 months, Max has gone from a 4-pound 13-ounce ‘potato’ - that is what my wife called him as a newborn - to a nearly 20-pound baby beaming with life, energy and personality to spare,” Reg says.

He knew he wanted to take parental leave the day Max was born – not only for his son, but also for his wife. Reg says it was important for him to be there to support his wife as she transitions back to work. He also wanted to spend some time one-on-one with his son.

Pictured above: Reg's son, Max

Reg said Walmart’s parental leave program was a big factor in his decision to take extended time away from work, rather than just a couple of weeks.

“No one should have to feel like they are making a tough choice between spending time with their kid(s) and taking a hit on their pay cheque, especially during these challenging times,” Reg says.

“I want to enjoy every moment of pat leave with my son without worrying about what is - or isn’t - in my wallet, and Walmart’s pat leave program definitely eases those concerns.”

Jordan is now back in the office as his son gets closer to celebrating his first birthday. He encourages new parents and parents-to-be to “soak in the time and the moment.”

“Time does really go that much faster - children really do grow that fast,” he says.

And now that Jordan is an experienced dad, we asked – what's his favourite part of parenting?

“At this moment the thing I love the most about being a dad is the feeling that I get every time I see my son smile.”