This week, Small Business editor Caitlyn Sykes interviews business owners about how they manage their parental leave.

Business partners Terri Boote and Jo Muggeridge founded virtual assistant services company Strictly Savvy as new mums three years ago. Terri recently returned to working in the company 30 hours a week after having her second child, Kassia. She was also a finalist in the best online and technology business category of the 2015 Mumtrepreneur Awards.

What period of parental leave did you take when Kassia was born?

I officially came back about three weeks ago after taking seven months off and I'm currently doing a four-day week. I took the first three months fully off, and then I worked about 10 hours a week after that.

What factors determined how long you'd take off?

I was actually supposed to take six months, but when that time was up I found I wasn't quite ready. At that point I ended up getting a training nanny to look after Kassia at home and it took me about a month to put everything in place with that before coming back to work.


The thinking behind me taking six months off was around how long my business partner and I thought the business could handle not having me around. Jo was running the whole thing in my absence, so we needed to take that into consideration, and she did such a great job it made me feel better about taking that extra month before coming back.

Did you access any paid parental leave entitlements?

I got the full 14-week payment for those three months I was completely off.

I'd encourage people to outsource, because there are lot of different functions other professionals can take on for you when you're not there — from virtual assistants, to bookkeepers, to marketing consultants.