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Maternity leave: Can it affect your career?


Maternity leave: Can it affect your career?

For women, the prospect of becoming pregnant and having to take maternity leave can leave many feeling concerned about their career progression.

But how much of an impact can this have on a person’s career? Here are some things to consider.

Climbing the career ladder and having a baby

Thanks to advances and progression in women’s rights, career progression, whatever that looks like to you, is something on many women’s agendas. As with anyone, it can take a while to cement your place on and climb up the career ladder, often requiring years of hard work and dedication.

When someone falls pregnant, it’s understandable to be concerned about how this will impact their career going forward. With the prospect of taking up to 52 weeks maternity leave to recover and settle into motherhood, this energy will be redirected outside the workplace. While this isn’t necessarily a negative thing, as it signals an exciting new milestone for many, it can raise questions.

How long is maternity leave?

Different maternity leave conditions may apply to your circumstances, so it’s important to be clued up on your entitlements.

Statutory Maternity Leave means that eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and the earliest that leave can be taken is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, unless the baby is born early. Some companies offer maternity leave payments on top of what the government provides.

Deciding how much leave to take is understandably tricky. On the one hand, you may enjoy spending time bonding with your baby, but on the other hand, you can feel hesitant about being out of work for a long period of time particularly if you will benefit from this financially.

Sometimes, the birth of your baby doesn’t go to plan and your recovery time is a lot longer than expected. You might find you are also suffering financially from a loss of earnings. If the injury you sustained was a result of maternity negligence, you might be able to receive compensation.

How does shared parental leave work

One solution some couples consider is by sharing leave. In this instance, you and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). Together you can share up to 50 weeks of leave and receive up to 37 weeks of pay between you.

Returning to work after having a baby

It’s important to be aware of your rights, as well as mentally preparing yourself for a drastic lifestyle change after being away for a set period. Some people may feel as though they will struggle to keep up with any changes since being away especially if there have been changes to processes or due to a restructuring.

It’s also common for people to feel guilty about not being at home with their baby and vice versa, thinking about what might be happening at work. Remember that it’s considered unfair dismissal and maternity discrimination if your employer says you can’t return to the same job. Seek advice from organisations such as Citizen’s Advice if you are unclear.

Original Article: HRnews

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