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Maternity Leave Plan Of Action

Cincinnati, OH | Posted: 09/13/2015 | Author: April Koenig

Maternity Leave Plan Of Action

1.  Maternity Leave Plan Of Action

Working with a pregnant employee around maternity leave time can be a tricky situation. Fears of productivity loss, saying the wrong thing or an adversarial tone can paralyze any thoughts of dealing with the issue. However, as delicate as it might be, a plan of action is necessary to pave the road ahead for both employers and expecting moms alike. And with a few common sense guidelines, this process can be constructive and put your employee at ease.

  • Know The Policy – Being familiar not only with your company rules, but also federal law, is of the utmost importance in dealing with a pregnant employee. Know whether or not the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to your company. These laws go over what an employee is entitled to (up to 12 weeks under FMLA) during and directly after pregnancy. They also guard against discriminatory practice regarding insurance coverage, as well as questions too probing or private for an employer to ask (ie. you can’t ask when they want to start their leave). Knowing the federal law is key. A written company policy goes hand in hand with knowing the law. This way an employee knows exactly what they can expect when hired. Time off, benefits and compensated maternity accommodation specifically cited in a policy handbook can go a long way to relieving questions that may arise. Just make sure this company policy conforms to federal law.
  • Remember Her Worth – Losing a valued employee for a significant period of time isn’t ideal, but it’s good to remember this is an important member of the team. Don’t treat it as a nuisance. Coming up with a cooperative plan together can alleviate apprehension on both sides (remember, she’s an employee that wants to do a good job for you). She will welcome the certainty that a maternity leave plan will bring. In a New York Times/CBS News/Kaiser Family Foundation poll of nonworking adults aged 25 to 54 in the United States, 61 percent of women said new family responsibilities were a reason they weren’t working. As Sheryl Sandberg writes in Lean In, “43 % of highly qualified women with children are leaving careers or off-ramping for a period of time”. Too many women don’t return from maternity leave, and you want to hang on to good employees. A flexible, holistic, accommodating plan of action with set guidelines goes a long way.
  • Plan The Work – Your plan of action should also include knowing exactly what projects need to be covered by others. Go over the workload with your employee, getting their insight and feedback on how the work they’ll be missing should proceed. Prioritize projects, keeping in mind what can wait for her return, what she’ll be able to tackle from home and what she’ll miss altogether, and plan accordingly. 

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