Managing parental leave: Supporting your employees

Managing parental leave: Supporting your employees through major life events, an important part of the employee experience!

On the eve of my departure on my first maternity leave, I wanted to share with you an important part of my employee experience. And, perhaps, inspire you to turn an exceptional event in your employees’ lives into a real source of retention in your organizations! Parenthood is an emotionally-charged adventure. It’s orchestrated by hormones and Mother Nature, which for my part required a lot of agility and gymnastics between my personal and professional life. Fortunately, I was able to count on the support and benevolence of my employer.

Internal policy and procedural justice

First of all, I’d like to ask you to think about the internal process for managing parental leave. Do you think your employees know who and when to contact to announce the arrival of a new member of their family? How do you go about notifying the rest of the team, suppliers and customers, and preparing for the leave? What about vacation policy and benefits during the absence? It’s essential to ensure procedural fairness within internal practices, and to properly support the employee in this new adventure.

An equity issue not to be overlooked

Combating the glass ceiling also means ensuring that parental leave, and more specifically maternity leave, does not hinder the professional development of our resources. As my employer is a firm made up of women and founded by women who are particularly committed to diversity and inclusion, this was not a source of concern for me. Fortunately, the law sets out certain obligations for employers to ensure fair and equitable treatment for all.

As explained in this Éduc la loi article, in the case of an organization-wide salary review, the employee’s salary must be reviewed upon return from parental leave. Why not see parental leave as an opportunity for internal knowledge transfer? Or review the division of tasks within the team. And, potentially, plan a promotion when your resource returns? This is a scenario that would certainly greatly facilitate the return to work!

Preparing to return

Yes, even before your employee leaves for his or her leave, it’s time to talk about the return! Are you an employer of choice who values work-life balance? The departure on parental leave of one of your resources is the perfect time to put forward your initiatives. You can also create new ones. Here are a few suggestions to foster a sense of motivation. But also to secure the employee’s return to work:

Involve your departing employee in the selection process for his or her replacement.
Project yourself into the future. How will your employee be part of the organization’s long-term projects? It’s important for your resource to feel that his or her place is well taken care of in preparation for his or her return.
Make accommodations or demonstrate openness to schedule flexibility. Whether it’s a 4-day week, telecommuting or the possibility of catching up on work outside office hours, any means is good. What’s more, they’re sure to reduce stress for the new parent. After all, they’ll have to juggle returning to work after several months’ absence. He’ll also have to integrate his little one’s daycare (who will finally have found a job!!!).
Celebrate! Yes, even if you’re sad to lose your resource for several weeks, now’s the time to show your gratitude. You can also congratulate her on the milestone she’s about to reach.

If you’d like expert advice or guidance in exploring this way of optimizing the employee experience within your organization, Iceberg Management’s human resources consultants are available.

 

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