Maternity leave is something that is often seen in the workplace, yet it can be difficult to understand exactly how you can support your team’s growing family and their future within your team. As an employer, you play an important part in the smooth running of your organisation as well as taking care of those who are a part of it, including employees who are pregnant, on maternity leave, and those preparing to come back to work. Let’s take a look at some of the top ways you can support your employees through their maternity leave.
Learning your employee is pregnant
When you learn that one of your employees is pregnant, it’s probably best to avoid jumping straight into the maternity leave side of things. First and foremost, congratulate your employee, there will be plenty of time between now and when they leave to make all the suitable arrangements. Use this time to do some fact-finding about your company’s pregnancy and maternity leave policies, entitlements and resources, if you aren’t already familiar with them. It’s best to have a chat with your employee about their maternity leave options and needs as early as possible so you can start providing support sooner.
Comfort is important, so it’s best to have a conversation about maternity leave in whatever way is most natural to the both of you. This doesn’t have to be a formal meeting, it could take place over a coffee if that’s what works for you and your style of managing your team. When discussing maternity leave options with your employee, honesty and trust are key. Encouraging your employee to be open with any concerns will allow you to make recommendations and decisions based on her individual needs to support her throughout her pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to put any discussion points and agreements in about your employee’s maternity leave in writing as this will help to avoid any confusion about changes and responsibilities further down the line.
Managing maternity leave
As your employee’s pregnancy progresses, it’s important that you both stay in the loop when it comes to appointments, safety and handover. To help you and your employee keep on top of any antenatal or other maternity-based appointments, you could suggest that they are added to your diary or schedule to avoid confusion. It may also be beneficial to flag any support either of you might need early from the early stages of your employee’s maternity leave such as managing time off, responsibilities and workflow.
Organise a handover period and think ahead to consider the actions the both of you will need to take immediately on your employee’s return to work, such as any mandatory training that may have been missed. Scheduling regular catch-ups as your employee’s due date gets nearer, as well as discussing how you will stay in contact during her maternity leave, will be beneficial in making sure operations move as smooth as possible.
Keeping in touch
Keeping in touch while your employee is on maternity leave is vital. Consistent communication will allow you to understand the thoughts and ideas your employee may have about returning to work. It might be that she wants to change her working pattern or start to work part-time, so it’s important to stay in communications to encourage your employees to share their thoughts for suitable adjustments to be made. Ensuring that you keep your employees who are on maternity leave up to date with business developments, job opportunities or pay changes will allow for an easier transition when your employee decides to return to work.
Successful return to work
Making the step to return to work after maternity leave can feel daunting for both the employee and the employer. However, suitable planning and a fully functioning support network will make the journey a lot more simple. As soon as your employee has returned from maternity leave, you should think about having a chat or a meeting to discuss her return as well as any updates, suggestions or concerns that either of you may have about the process. Don’t be afraid to check in with her along the way and ask how she’s feeling or if she needs help with anything, as coming back from maternity leave can be a big step to take for new mothers.
At Protectus, we understand that there is nothing more important than protecting your hard-working team. That’s why we take the time to get to know your individual policy requirements so that we can find you the policy that gives you and your team peace of mind about the future of the business and their health. Get in touch to see how we can make keeping your top team safe for the years to come. https://www.protectushealthcare.com/