The average maternity leave in the United States is 10 weeks, paid or unpaid, according to a new study. While you might be thrilled to have your team member back, the transition can be a bit more complicated for the returning employee.
By creating a well thought-out plan for returning moms (and having a few perks that go above and beyond the legal requirements), you can go a long way toward reducing any negative emotions and stress they may be experiencing.
Consider the following tips to help new moms feel the support and confidence they deserve as they make the shift back into the office:
- Provide breaks: Employers must provide breaks for new mothers to pump breastmilk for the first year after a child’s birth. While the law only defines the break time as a “reasonable” amount — 15 to 30 minutes is usually how long it takes to pump, clean up, store the milk and return to work. Breaks are required each time your employee needs to pump, which should be every two to three hours during an eight-hour workday. Make sure your employee knows that she has the right to take breaks to pump whenever it’s needed.
- Provide space: In addition to giving new moms the time to pump, you also need to give them a private, clean space to do it in. The space needs to be separate from a bathroom, but don’t just clean out a storage closet. Instead, try to create a place that’s calming and quiet. Make sure it has an outlet for an automatic pump, a mini refrigerator to store breastmilk and a comfortable place to sit.
- Provide resources: New moms may not know what resources are available to them, so do what you can to share relevant information and resources. This may include information on insurance benefits and national policies as well as local support groups. This extra step will let employees know you are aware of and care about their well-being.
- Provide support: With so much more on her plate, a returning new mom is going to have moments where she feels overwhelmed and uncertain. Do what you can to be positive and reassure her that you don’t expect ridiculously long work hours or 24/7 availability. Be flexible and understand that it will take time to return to a normal schedule.
By taking these steps, you’ll show your employees that you care about their entire family’s health and well-being. If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read up on:
- What to Eat Before a Gestational Diabetes Test
- Newly Pregnant? Here are the Appointments to Know
- BCBSM Progressing in Work to Reduce Maternal Health Disparities
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