Returnships and returning from maternity leave

updates + insights » Returnships and returning from maternity leave

Employers understand their obligations in regard to parental leave but how much focus do we give to women who are returning to the workplace?

With added responsibilities at home, returning to work can be extremely challenging, with questions around flexible working arrangements, appropriate facilities at work and integration into existing work programmes, that are often not clearly discussed in advance.

Some employers have created structured programmes for returning high-potentials, comparable to an internship. These programmes target women wo have had an extended absence from the workforce and are looking to re-start their careers. For example, this may include opportunities for up-skilling or refreshers on specific areas of a role that may have changed since their last experience as an employee.  

The other end of the spectrum is employees who planned to return following maternity leave, and, in this space, there are steps that both the employee and employer can take to ensure a smooth transition and return to the workplace.

Create a plan

In most cases, when leaving a business either for the short or long term, we carefully plan out responsibility for our work load. What we’re less likely to do, is plan for how we reintegrate ourselves on returning to the office. Doing this prior to maternity leave means expectations will be set in advance of your return, for example, discussing opportunities for flexible working arrangements in the short term or how you’ll catch up on projects you have been out of the loop on.

Be clear on priorities

Set guidelines, rules or limits on things that are important to you in your personal life and be focussed on making sure you stick to them. Setting boundaries and being clear about them, demonstrates to your employer and colleagues what is important to you and is also a valuable way for ensuring your own self-care. 

Keep your finger on the pulse

During your leave, stay in touch with colleagues and remain engaged in your sector. This could be as simple as a coffee catch up with colleagues or keeping on top of industry news. In some instance, maternity leave can also be an opportunity to refresh your skills.

The important point to remember is that what works for one person may not work for another so it’s important for both the employee and employer to be clear on expectations and work together to create a plan that’s right for them both.

If you are looking for assistance on any aspect of your human resource business requirements, or you are a senior leader looking for guidance on re-entering the job market after an extended period of leave, get in touch with us. 

The Decipher Team      

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