Warmly welcoming an employee back from maternity leave is an important way to show true compassion and interest. Many new mothers and fathers will be excited to come back to work, though they’ll still miss being around the family all the time. Luckily, there are ways to make the transition easier.
Maternity Leave Matters
Leave is valuable to both parents and employers. Many companies are moving toward paid leave to encourage mothers — and fathers — to take this time off. The New York Times reported that women who take paid leave are actually more likely to return to employment faster, work more hours and earn higher wages.
New Parent Returns to Work
As an employer, you expect your employee to come back to work and get back to the tasks at hand. However, parents have new responsibilities, more demand for their time and are still learning to multitask to create the proper work-life balance. Ease them back into work with these tips:
- Show you care – Whether the office signs a Welcome Back card or the employer organizes a group lunch, do something to show you’re happy the individual is back to work.
- Add a mothers’ room – This location doesn’t have to be large, but it can offer a chair, TV or perhaps a laptop. Allow your employees private time to pump or breastfeed, as well.
- Have a one-on-one – Within the first few days of the return, encourage a brief meeting to discuss their changing lifestyle and what’s happened at the company since they went on leave. Get them up to speed while gauging their needs. For example, do they need a shorter work week to start?
- Offer some flexibility – Your company may have guidelines for late arrivals or start and stop times. Whenever possible, be flexible in those early days as they adjust to a new routine.
- Ask about the baby – Employers and managers can show compassion by simply asking about the child. This helps your employee feel valued when they return. Expect co-workers to inquire about the new child, as well.
It’s important to provide your employees with rules to follow. While those rules may limit phone conversations or leaving early, talk to your team about building in some that offer a bit more flexibility. Whatever you do for one employee, you need to do for every employee who returns after having a child.
Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.