Managing a Career Through Maternity Leave is Mom’s Problem Too


Managing a Career Through Maternity Leave is Mom’s Problem Too


I totally believe that employers have responsibilities when it comes to managing employee maternity leaves.  I also think that a good employer will manage employee maternity leave beyond legislated requirements.  Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to find these employers.  They’re kind of like unicorns.  They’ve got to be real, right?

Sure, moms taking maternity leave have some legal protection.  These legislated requirements are pretty slack, in my opinion, and employers aren’t really held accountable.  If things didn’t work out on your maternity leave and your return to work would you actually sue your employer?  Probably not, you’ve got that giant daycare bill to pay.  So, you’re probably just screwed. Sorry.

What blows my mind is how many employers actually think they’re doing a decent job with maternity leaves.

“85% of employers feel that maternity leave has either a neutral or positive impact on the career development of their employees.”

Umm.  What?  Talk to any professional mom who’s gone through a maternity leave transition and you’re likely to hear a different story.  You’ll hear stories of missed promotions, demotions, new career paths moms didn’t have a say in and managers questioning their commitment to the organization on the basis that they’re moms.   I really can’t help but wonder if employers have ever actually talked to new moms and asked them about their experience with maternity leave.

“36% of new moms feel that taking maternity leave negatively impacted their opportunity for promotions and career progression.”

Less than 4% of new mothers indicated that taking maternity leave had positively impacted their career. There is a serious disconnect here.

As far as I’m concerned maternity leave is the taboo subject of the day.  The Canadian government’s attempt to level the playing field with the introduction of a five-week paternity leave is a recognition that there’s a problem.  While this is a step in the right direction, there’s still a huge gap between the 18 months for moms and the five weeks for dads.

In the meantime moms, add career management to your maternity leave ‘to do list’. Don’t rely on your employer to create a positive experience for you.  It’s like expecting your husband to change the toilet paper roll.  Not happening.  You need to take control and manage your career through your leave.  And change the toilet paper.  And do the laundry.  And keep the tiny humans alive.

Your employer’s policy around maternity leave is probably non-existent.  You fill out a form and they send you on your way.  There’s no guarantee you get the same job back and you’re feeling in serious career limbo.  Since you announced your pregnancy you’re being treated differently.  And with your impending leave, less work is coming your way.

I completely understand where you’re coming from.  I’ve gone on two maternity leaves myself and worked with women on their transitions to and from maternity leave.

I’ve created a program to help moms manage their careers before, during and after maternity leave.

In “Manage Your Maternity Leave Like a Mother”, I’ll share tips on how to navigate ambiguous company policy and take a look at your legal rights.  All of this broken down into easy to digest modules.

I’m sharing my own experiences and the secrets about mat leave.  Everything from where to find the resources you need to figure out employment insurance to how to tell you manager you’re pregnant.

Managing a career through maternity leave is mom’s problem.  Manage Your Maternity Leave Like a Mother helps solve it.

Learn More About Manage Your Maternity Leave Like a Mother

Source:  Making It Work! How to Effectively Manage Maternity Leave Career Transitions: An Employer’s Guide,  CERIC

About Shauna Cole

I’m a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) with a Master’s Degree in Business (MBA) and Undergraduate Degree in Communications (BA).  I’m also a proud Mom of two (MOM).

My awesome shop (ahem – my basement office) is ready to take on new clients.  With services being delivered primarily online and over the phone, you won’t even notice I’m at home, in the basement.  Unless my cat gets in the way.

It’s definitely been a journey to get here.  I thought for many years that I wanted to be an entrepreneur.  For what seemed like an endless list of reasons not to take the leap, I continued living the corporate life.  After all, there was less risk and more financial reward.

When I had my first son, Jayden, it changed my perspective on everything – but especially my attitudes around work.  The experience of having endless feelings of guilt forced me to reevaluate my life.  Ultimately, it led me to the end of a successful 10+ year corporate career.

Leaving my corporate career behind was really tough and emotional experience.  It forced me down the path of thinking about my own career and goals.  Then I thought – a lot of people must have had this same experience.

The more I talked to Moms, students and other professionals facing significant change, the lack of support around career transition become apparent.

I had a great professional network, access to lots of Human Resource Professionals to talk to and a solid personal support system.  Not everyone is so lucky.

Shauna Cole Consulting will help people do what they love.  I’ll guide clients through a systematic approach to build their career strategy.  I’ll fill the gap faced by so many professionals who want to make a change and students making the leap from school to work.

I can’t wait to work with you!

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