Returning from Maternity Leave
Returning to the workplace soon and waiting to know what to expect? In this blog, we will discuss maternity leave in detail. What to expect when you first go on maternity leave and what to anticipate when you return.
Choosing which type of maternity leave you want to take
All employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave. However, some people can choose to take different periods off.
Firstly, there is compulsory maternity leave, these 2 weeks all new mothers must take once their baby has been born. This option would usually be chosen from expecting mothers who have agreed to have the child’s father or legal guardian take care after the birth, while the mother returns to the workplace or women who do not want a break in their career and have alternative childcare options.
Secondly, you have the choice of ordinary maternity leave, which is 26 weeks after giving birth. Lastly, there is additional maternity leave which is the last 26 weeks or full maternity leave.
Returning to the workplace
So you’re ready to return to the workplace and wondering what to expect? There will be a few changes, especially if you have taken the full 52 weeks.
Make sure you are happy at home
The first and most important factor is to make sure you are happy leaving your child with the parent/guardian or child care service you have chosen. It does not matter how good the workplace environment is, if you are constantly worrying about the wellbeing of your child, you will struggle to concentrate and be productive.
Catch up with your team
If you have not been keeping up with your team (or have only been keeping in contact with a few), try and meet up with your colleagues before you return, or in the first few days back, to get up to speed with the wider organisation’s activities. By preparing in advance, you’ll be able to feel ‘caught up’ a lot quicker and start working as normal, as there will be no shock surprises on your first day.
Additionally, while on maternity leave you are allowed to work 10 days, these are called ‘keep in touch days’ and can be used to help you keep up to date with the ongoings in the business or attend a training course that might be required to fulfil your role when you return.
Have a meeting with your line manager
Once you have returned to the office the best thing we can recommend is to sit down with your line manager to see what is expected from you as you settle. Managers should be understanding of the situation and allow you some time to get back into the rhythm of working, but this is not guaranteed. This may be the best time to discuss working on a flexible basis for a short while, which will allow you to slowly get used to leaving your child at home as well as for settling back into the workplace.
Coming back after maternity may feel like you’re starting an entirely new job, as a lot can change in a year.
Returning to the workplace after an extended period of leave for any reason can be scary, but doing it whilst also leaving your child in the care of someone else can be an extremely stressful step. We hope this guide has helped ease those worries and have assisted your preparation for whatever you decide to do next.