Pregnant employees have a lot on their minds–and their questions extend far beyond what color to paint a nursery or infant car seat safety. You can help your pregnant employees assuage anxieties – and ensure that a higher percentage of them return to work post-leave – by addressing some of their most common questions about work-baby balance directly. Here are a few high-priority questions pregnant employees have on their mind, as well as some thoughtful ways an employer can answer them.
How much time off do I get off–and what if I want more or less than that?
Have clear policies–in writing–about exactly how much leave pregnant employees receive, when they can start using their maternity leave, how much is paid, and when it ends. Also anticipate that some employees will be curious about extending their leave or taking an abbreviated maternity leave. In either scenario, have your facts straight (e.g., Can they extend leave without pay? If they return early, what kind of flexible scheduling can you offer?) so employees can make informed decisions about what makes the most sense for their family and their job.
What happens to my work while I’m gone?
Women should know if all of their work is going to be put on hold, allocated to several different coworkers, or covered entirely by a replacement. Each of these scenarios makes for a radically different “preparation for leave” experience. The sooner she knows what’s happening to her work, the sooner she can set herself up for a clean transition out of the office when baby arrives. Additionally, her coworkers or temporary replacement will appreciate the appropriate planning and training time needed to cover for her workload.
What’s the closest daycare?
Your employee can’t return to work without reliable childcare. Provide contact information for some local daycares and keep tabs on which employees elect to use them, so that they can provide personal endorsements if they’re happy with the arrangement. You may also want to consider building a relationship with a child care staffing agency to accommodate employees who prefer nanny or sitter care in their own home. If you can help your new moms get the ball rolling to find trustworthy and conveniently located childcare, you’re making it much easier for them to transition back to work.
These 3 questions are just the beginning! Download our ebook, “How to Help Your Employees Return from Maternity Leave,” to “unlock” 9 of the most valuable practices you can integrate into your workplace to fully support all your pregnant employees and pave the way for a successful return to work!