As a California business, you understand why it is critical to have meaningful policies in place that clearly outline the relationship between your company and your employees. Your policies and procedures not only establish the rights and responsibilities of each party, but when written well, they can significantly decrease the chance of legal complications. One of the most important policies for any company is one pertaining to maternity leave and the rights of pregnant employees.
It is important to have a maternity leave policy that reflects the needs and interests of those who work for your company. With the right approach, it is possible to create a policy that allows you to shield your company’s operations while also providing your employees the opportunity to care for their families. You should give careful consideration to all terminology used in your official policy.
The importance of a thoughtful policy
Your maternity leave policy can make a significant difference in the type of talent your company attracts, as well as the overall satisfaction of your current employees. Studies find that comprehensive and reasonable maternity leave policies often lead to a higher number of female employees accepting job offers or returning to work after the birth of a child. Important factors to consider when creating your policy include:
- Your policy should reflect any state or federal laws pertaining to maternity leave.
- Policy terms should clearly outline who is eligible for leave and how employees should request leave.
- Determine whether some or all employees who take maternity leave will be eligible for pay during their time away.
- Seek feedback from employees, human resources professionals and other sources in order to create terms that are practical and meaningful.
- Clarify terms regarding the specific types of leave your company will offer eligible employees.
- Make your policy applicable for all parents, not just mothers who birth children. It should also include fathers, partners, new adoptive parents and new foster parents.
Failure to have a clear, fair and enforceable maternity leave policy in place could expose you to certain types of legal complications in the event of a dispute with an employee. A careful assessment of your specific company’s operations, goals, relationship with employees and other factors can help you create a policy that will help establish and maintain healthy expectations between the employees and the employer.