How Small Businesses can Prepare for Employee Maternity Leave

One of your best employees just came in with some exciting news – she’s pregnant and it’s her first! Everyone congratulates her and during the excitement, you begin to realize that this is going to affect your business in a profound way. Panic begins to set in as you think about all the help you’re losing – at least for the short term. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be so nerve-racking. You can create a reliable plan of action to deal with this momentous occasion.

How Small Businesses can Prepare for Employee Paternity Leave, Too

Of course, the same could be true for a new father. Your right-hand guy will be out for an extended period of time. Although this is a wonderful occasion, it leaves you feeling quite anxious. After all, this is one of your go-to people and definitely among your top performers.
So, where do small firms commonly go wrong when it comes to managing maternity? ‘Some delay unnecessarily, rather than starting to plan and act as soon as they’re told about the pregnancy,’ Cecily Lalloo, an HR expert, replies. ‘This can mean you end up recruiting the wrong person, meaning you’ll have to repeat the process, which wastes time and money.’ —The Guardian Small Business
While he’s away with his wife and new baby, all of his work will still have to get done somehow. Even more worrisome, is how you’ll fill that gap, regardless of the amount of time. It’s enough to make anyone feel quite unsettled because this type of news generally comes out of the blue and you’re unprepared for it. However, if you follow the suggestions below, you’ll be able to get through it as smoothly as possible.

How Small Businesses can Prepare for Employee Maternity Leave

When you’re faced with a maternity leave situation or any type of parental leave, you’ll obviously need a plan to follow. Here are some steps that you can take when this type of situation arises:
  • Create or review your maternity leave policy. If you already have a maternity leave policy, then great, simply review it to ensure that it is up to date and that it will work for your business in its current state of affairs. But, if you don’t have a maternity leave policy, you can create one and customize it to fit your needs.
  • Speak with the mom-to-be one-on-one. The next thing you need to do is to speak with your employee about her plans. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions, or inquire about her plans to return or leave her position. It’s far better to know than guess, leading to unnecessary confusion and worry.
  • Have her document all her projects and tasks. Regardless if she’s coming back to her position or you need to hire someone else, you’ll need to know exactly what projects and tasks she’s currently working on. Either way, you’ll need somebody to come alongside her in order to be familiarized with her responsibilities so that person can assume her role.
  • Assign one or more backups. If you don’t have someone already on your team who can take over, consider spreading her work among a few people. However, if this isn’t feasible, you should consider bringing in a temporary person.
  • Create or review your transition plan. Lastly, you’ll need to develop a transition plan for her return if she is coming back. This will allow her to ease back into the swing of things without being overwhelmed.
What other suggestions do you have for preparing for an employee’s maternity leave? Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts and experiences so others can benefit from your perspective. Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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