If handled efficiently, your firm can tide over it smoothly, giving a lot of relief to the concerned employee as well.
SupportBiz lists some tips for your small business on good handling of employee maternity leaves.
Be aware, and educate
Be aware of the government laws and regulations that apply to your industry, with regards to maternity leave. Also, check if there have been any specific state laws that apply to you in this regard. Take the time to be updated about relevant laws and practices.
Educate your employees about the maternity rights and benefits available to them. Ensure that your employee handbook clearly mentions your policies relating maternity leave.
Ensure that your employees send in their maternity leave requests to you well in advance. Have a discussion with the concerned employee, and clarify your expectations from them in no uncertain terms. Explain to them whether working from home would be a part of the maternity leave or not. Also, discuss when the new mother will report back to work, and how she will manage her work load. Discuss the policies regarding pay raises and promotions in her absence.
Ensure proper documentation
Make sure that the expecting mother has a proper record of all work-related communication and processes. This will help in the smooth transition of work to other employees when the maternity leave comes into vogue.
Determine which of your employees will take over the work of the expecting mother during the period of her maternity leave. Ensure that these employees are clear about their responsibilities well in advance.
Ensure that the concerned employee has properly filled out all the applications/forms/documents required by your HR, related to her maternity leave.
Reach out to the team mates of the concerned employee, and request them to cover up her work load during the period of her maternity leave. Talk to the managers in various departments, and study how they have handled the maternity leaves of their employees. This will give you a fair amount of confidence and information to tide over the period of leave effectively.