It’s all hands on deck with most small businesses.
When an employee becomes pregnant, it may cause some mixed feelings or concerns for both parties. However, with the right support system, the team can end up stronger than they were before.
When an employee tells an employer that she is pregnant, it can be a difficult time.
The employer is often worried about dealing with a staff member that is going to be out for a few days or weeks. The employee is worried about how she will be received when she returns or if she has to miss work during the pregnancy.
Small business owners must provide the right support for the employee.
Providing accommodations when necessary for her to continue to do her job is one way of showing support. Another way is to call a meeting and discuss the situation and how to handle coverage of duties while she is out.
It is important that employers express their concerns and be honest but do so in a positive manner. Let the employee feel like she is part of the solution instead of being seen as the problem.
After the Pregnancy
Coming back to work is often difficult for a new mother. She is torn between leaving her baby and doing a good job after being away for some time. Employers can provide support by creating a transitional period. An employer may suggest coming in for a few hours a day for the first week to get caught up on what has happened in the interim.
Then there are those women who weren’t ready to be mothers and decide on adoption. It is often difficult for employers to know how to handle this situation.
It’s not like they can announce to everyone, she’s giving a baby up for adoption, help her through the grieving process. However, they need to provide as much support as if she was keeping the baby and ensure that other staff members do the same.
Emotional support is often needed during this time. While the office is not the place to air personal problems, an employer can be supportive by letting the employee know it is acceptable if she needs to take more time.
Small business owners can also provide the benefit of counseling to help a woman through the grieving process of giving up her baby.
This is a benefit that is not used that often, which means that employers aren’t out a lot of money, but it can provide a great deal of help for those occasions when it is needed. It also shows that the employer cares about the employee as a person and not just a worker.
Having a baby is often an exciting time in a woman’s life. However, there may lurk a fear for her job.
For those that choose to give up their babies for adoption, the issue often gets more complicated.
Employers should be supportive with all of their pregnant employees even if they are concerned for how the small business will cope with the absence of an employee.
Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including HR and small business.
Published: July 9, 2014