Allowing expecting mothers to devote their time to the necessary care needed for pregnancy is an important policy every business should have in place. Maternity leave is a crucial benefit that can be the sole reason why some women may choose to work for your company, or why they choose not to. Just as important is the policies you have established reintroducing these employees back into your workplace, with accommodations and adjustments that help them balance balance their work and personal lives.
The first and most obvious step in ensuring your employees will want to return after leave is having a considerate package created for those taking extended periods of time off. It’s no secret that the United States is one of the least productive countries in terms of maternity leave, so being that company to offer what most do not is a leg up in the business world. Offer a decent amount of time off, ensuring they will be compensated financially throughout. 12 weeks is typically a sufficient time period to allow them to devote their personal lives to their newborn children, and often results in them returning to work thanks to the care and understanding displayed.
Be financially generous so that they have an income capable of supporting them and their new child. Too often today do we see employees refusing to take leave, regardless of their situations, because of the amount of work they might have, or the need for as much money as they can get. Returning to work is almost always an absolute must for women after maternity leave because of the expenses that follow. Make sure you are offering a salary fair enough that they won’t struggle with these expenses, and one that they can confidently rely on to support their family.
Always be understanding when managing different employees’ situations. Not all expecting mothers may benefit from the same perks of your maternity leave policy, so flexibility is key. For example, if one experiences health complications during her time off and needs to stay on leave for longer than planned, adjust your policy for her situation rather than sticking to a cut-and-dried plan.
What many women find troubling after returning from maternity leave is the little or decreased opportunities they have for professional growth. Though some employees may enjoy the lowered responsibilities upon returning, others may see it as an insult. Work with them accordingly. If an employee states that she is able to take on more than she had before she was on leave, allow her to explore these possibilities. Again, flexibility is very important. Allow those returning from maternity leave to choose whether or not they are capable of receiving all previous responsibilities.
Lastly, offer packages that can help new mothers with the expenses of childcare. Daycare facilities and insurance costs can add up quickly, and can force new mothers to rethink their positions in the working world. If your business has a the room, look into offering an in-office child care facility, or simply allow them to take their children into work from time to time. The goal is to alleviate any stress they may feel attempting to balance their professional and personal lives.