Returning to work after maternity leave is a very stressful time for working moms, but a very powerful tool to reduce the chaos of returning to work is the HR department of your company. HR can definitely ease the transition and allow new mom employees to be comfortable and productive when at work. Here are ways HR can help you return back to work easily and stress-free.
When dealing with HR, communication is key! Try to keep in contact with HR before, during, and after your maternity leave, so that you and your company can be updated with your status, allowing for the whole process of maternity leave and returning back to work so much less hectic. In many instances, communicating with HR will make it easier for them and the company to accommodate with you if you need extra days on your maternity leave or a more flexible schedule when you come back to work.
Before you go back to work, make sure to email your HR department to let them know if you need to change your schedule to shorter hours, if you need a lactation room or anything else to ensure your comfort when you return to work. Depending on your company policies, HR could be accommodating or unwilling to provide your requests, but it is always better to communicate and learn what resources are available to you and what policies prevent you from getting your other appeals.
HR is a great tool to understand the specific policies of your company regarding maternity leave. Maternity leave policies can be very specific and extensive, depending on your state, the size of your company, and many other factors. For example, a business with 50 or more full-time employees needs to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows new mothers to take unpaid maternity leave up to 12 weeks, guaranteeing a job when she returns. Also, the business must continue her group health insurance coverage, unable to penalize the time taken under maternal leave. Unfortunately, businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees have no obligation to follow FMLA. You can find much of this information on federal sites explaining acts and policies such as FMLA, but HR at your company can provide the most specific and personalized information and advice based on the company you work for and your position.
While HR is focused on helping the business as a whole succeed, a successful business is due to successful employees. Your HR manager can help you map out the path to your ultimate career goal and help you navigate the impacts of changing your schedule due to maternity leave and taking care of your baby after you return back to work. Talk to HR to make sure that even though you’ve taken a maternity leave and your schedule may need to be more flexible, you can use the resources available to you by your company, ensuring that you are still on track to achieving your professional goals.