The US isn’t known for the best policies on maternity leave. Here, some new moms have no choice but to quit their jobs to spend more time with their newborns. These women are often great employees, and their departure from the workforce is a huge loss—but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Elizabeth Westbrook is the founder and CEO of Texas-based consulting firm GenWestbrook. On LinkedIn, she shared a story about the time her office manager, a “phenomenal employee,” wanted to quit following the birth of her baby. Most employers would have simply wished her luck. But Elizabeth isn’t like most employers.
“I proposed letting her transition to hourly part-time employment from home with work that could be handled virtually,” she wrote.
According to Elizabeth, her staffer “jumped at the chance.” After six months, she was working remotely full time, and after a year she was ready to return to the office.
“Two years after that,” the CEO continued, “her family (unexpectedly) was heavily dependent on her salary and she was so glad she had kept working.”
Thank goodness this mom had her job to fall back on when her family needed it. And her employer benefited just as much.
“Our ingenuity and flexibility in this situation helped our company and our employees long term,” Elizabeth wrote. “We retained an excellent employee who was promoted multiple times during her tenure. She was very loyal and dedicated because (a) that is her work ethic and (b) we treated her well. This set the foundation for a supportive and flexible company culture.”
Evidently, both the exec and her employee ended up big winners. The LinkedIn community was as impressed as we are.
“You’re amazing!” commented Tessa Barker. “I wish [my company] would allow this flexibility, especially to single mothers! As a first-time mom thousands of miles away from family, I learned NYC daycares cost equivalent to rent. Simple accommodations for IT professionals really make a big difference in retention!”
“As someone who was made redundant for taking maternity leave this is so nice to read,” wrote Sam Spencer. “New parents, especially mothers who have taken a substantial amount of time out from work, need support to get back into the workplace, while still being there for their family. Thank you so much for sharing this, hopefully other employers will follow suit.”
Nice work, Elizabeth! Your story is the perfect example of what it really means for a company to take care of its employees.