Nurturing Your Team: Supporting Women Employees During and After Maternity Leave

Nurturing Your Team: Supporting Women Employees During and After Maternity Leave

  August 17, 2023

SEB Marketing Team

Adding a new member to the family is exciting. It can also be scary and challenging. Returning to work after maternity leave shouldn’t be though. Creating a supportive and inclusive workplace for women during and after maternity leave can prove to be vital to their wellbeing. Empowering women as they transition into motherhood and back to work not only boosts their morale but also contributes to a positive company culture. However, a staggering 95% of new moms did not receive any formal support on their transition back to work according to a 2021 survey by Moms at Work, Canada’s largest community of working mothers.

All too often, new mothers who return to work feel lost, unsupported, and passed over,. This may not be the intention, but a result of a lack of clarity on the best way to transition back into the labor force. For employers looking to show support to their new mom employees who are not only taking on a new way of being in the world but attempting to get back into the swing of things at work, here are some suggestions to create some structure and calm.

Creating a Welcoming Maternity Leave Experience – Prior to leaving on Mat leave, a customized communication plan allows employees to know their rights, the company’s parental leave policy, stay abreast of their comprehensive benefits solutions, and become aware of support options while on leave. In addition, employers can offer guidance on how to distribute workloads and make handovers smooth before the leave begins. Finally, employers could consider, as part of their mental-health initiatives, workshops offering essential information for pregnancy wellness, and work-life balance. Creating a culture that supports embracing life’s changes benefits everyone.

Support During Maternity Leave – It can feel challenging for new mothers to stay connected to work while on maternity leave. Employers can assist with creating an online space for parenting resources, informative articles, and even webinars that offer advice on childcare and self-care during this crucial time. Having online access to their benefits can also offer employees peace of mind. Having a formal program with options with flexible return-to-work options such as full-time, part-time, and remote, is ideal.

Transitioning Back to Work – The most ideal transition back to work is a formal one. Consider a Welcome back package including updates on projects and initiatives that have taken place during the leave. Having a mentorship program or support group with other women who have gone through the maternity leave process can also be of benefit to new mom’s looking to get their footing back as soon as possible. And a lactation room is also something to consider.

Other Resources and Support – Employers looking to go a little extra might consider partnering with local childcare providers to offer discounts or a referral service. Having a wellness program for all employees that includes activities such as lunch-time meditations or yoga classes can support all employees and help new mothers integrate more smoothly. And, of course, flexible hours allow new parents to accommodate medical appointments and other commitments.

Supporting women during and after maternity leave fosters an empowered, inclusive, and empathetic workplace culture. By providing resources, flexibility, and an understanding environment, you not only show your commitment to your employees’ well-being but also enhance their loyalty and productivity. Your investment in supporting women on their journey into motherhood will undoubtedly yield positive returns for your organization’s success and growth.

To provide your employees on or returning from maternity leave with an exceptional modern benefits experience, explore SEB admin’s comprehensive benefits solutions here: