Believe it or not, our employees have lives and plans outside of the workplace. We’re being flippant of course, but it’s easy for an employer to get caught off guard by the changes that a new member of the family can bring to the business. If you don’t handle it well, the business can suffer and you could be in legal danger. Here are a few things to consider as an employer to approach new family members.
If you’re employing correctly, then it’s likely you have a lot of women in your workforce. A significant measure of them might get pregnant at some time and you should expect that. Pregnancy might seem like a liability and it does come with some caveats you better learn. For instance, for the sake of their health, any work reviews and disciplinary talks may need to be rescheduled. But even helping them is something you need to do the right way. Ask them if their doctor recommends any changes to how they work, especially if they’re having an unusual pregnancy. But don’t coddle them or be overprotective of them. Just ensure they know that they can talk to you if their needs in the workplace change.
Maternity and paternity leave are somewhat under your influence depending on where your business is. Offering it is best for their health and balance, but no-one can deny it poses challenges to an employer. Dealing with those challenges is a lot easier if you take time with the employee to discuss them. Particularly, as early as you can, get a list of their responsibilities. Outsourcing, automating, delegating the work to colleagues, and temping can help you manage the workload for now.
It’s not the most common kind of family change you’ll encounter, but adoption happens and it brings with it specific needs so it’s best to be prepared. Statutory adoption leave is something a lot of employers don’t know about until it hits them. Ensure that your policies fit the employees’ needs, including your need for proof of the adoption alongside notification within seven days of them being matched with a child. Coping with adoption as an employer can be more challenging than standard maternity and paternity leave as it can happen more suddenly. It’s a good idea to make it clear in employee guidelines that you are willing to take the same measures to help them with it, so they might tell you sooner and help you prepare the business to handle the additional responsibility.
In fact, the owner of Bound-by Marketing is in the process of adoption!
Reintegrating employees should be a policy that all businesses have, whether it’s due to extended sick leave, maternity, or paternity leave. The best way to do it is also the best way to train new employees. When a new process or tool is introduced to the workplace, standardize it. Create a code of operation that people can learn a lot quicker, ensuring the knowledge of how to perform any function stays in the business. If you’re dealing with maternity leave return, you also need to think about new responsibilities. For instance, you will need new risk assessments to gauge any risks to the new mother’s health.
However, someone’s family has changed, you as an employer can make it a lot easier for you and them. The best option is to tackle it early and plan as much as possible. How you deal with employees needs will be a big contributor to company culture.