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How to prepare for parental leave?

How to prepare for parental leave?

Preparing your team for an employee going on parental leave is an essential part of maintaining a positive work environment. When a valued employee takes parental leave, it can be a challenge to manage the workload. Is your team ready to offer parental leave and continue business as usual? We’ve got some important insights for you to keep in mind.  

Sit down and chat with the soon-to-be parent

When employees announce they are expecting a baby, it’s important to congratulate them and show your support. Letting them know that their workplace is supportive and accommodating can go a long way in reducing stress and creating a positive work-life balance. 

Arrange a meeting between HR, the expectant parent and you, the manager. During this meeting, it’s important to explain the company’s parental leave policy to the employee. In Belgium, a mother-to-be is given a minimum of 15 weeks maternity leave and the father-to-be is given a minimum of 20 days parental leave   

If your company has any other policies on parental leave, you must clearly explain them at this meeting and further discuss how the next few weeks and months will be organised. If the parent-to-be has any other questions, make sure to answer them all so that the employee is fully informed and there is no confusion.  

Overall, it is important to make sure that the parent-to-be is informed and feels supported by you and the company as they take this important step in their life.  

Log daily activities

As the employee prepares for parental leave, it’s important to create a handover document to ensure a smooth transition of their duties and responsibilities. This document should be detailed and complete, covering all aspects of your role, including routine deliverables and relevant contacts. Here are some key elements to include: 

  • Detailed description of tasks  
  • Routine deliverables  
  • Relevant contacts  
  • Create a credential file  

This document will be a valuable resource for colleagues and will help ensure that their work continues uninterrupted in the parent-to-be’s absence. 

Valuable insights

One way to avoid leaving work unfinished and overloading the team is to hire a temporary replacement. To ensure a smooth transition, it’s important that the temporary replacement starts one month before the employee takes parental leave. This gives the employee enough time to explain the tasks, the routines and the tools used. It’s also a good way to get to know the team or key contacts.  

“I’m convinced that having a positive and optimistic attitude is fundamental for a successful and stress-free return.”

As well as preparing before the leave, it is important to have a return-to-work program in place. It’s best if the person who covered for the employee while they were on parental leave stays on for three weeks after the employee returns to create a smooth transition. This makes it easier for the returning parent to settle back into a routine and feel comfortable at work.  

Want to know more about returning to work after parental leave? Read the article below.

In cooperation with Yungo and Starring Jane

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