eePRO

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Maternity Leave for Educators?

Hello,

I work for an organization that recently had three employees go on maternity leave. We believe our arrangement with the three expecting/new mom's was quite progressive, but want to hear more about other policies out there, or trends in the field. The three are all on the leadership team, so they could continue with a lot of their work remotely while they were in their best furniture and breast-feeding, etc. Or, if they are in the office, they can breast-feed in a spare room that is furnished and carpeted. Another stroke of luck was their staggered pregnancies--they were each able to shift around and share duties. The three continue to do their work in the field, at the office, and from home, as needed, and the entire staff is welcoming of the crying and diaper-changing as well as the continued input of the mothers.

Is this normal or unusual? What have your organizations done similarly or differently? What could we be doing better?

Thanks!
Tom

Hi Tom-

I had a similar experience when I worked for a small non-profit nature center with less than 20 employees. It's a real coup if one's organizational leadership is directly involved in the child-bearing or child-rearing. Although the three female employees (one executive director and two instructors) only had unpaid leave to take advantage of after each delivery, the timing of their infant births were so close, they could support each other, with the pregnant executive director able to secure board approval to develop and implement a family friendly work environment. Coinciding with the infant births was the need to expand office space. An office trailer was leased and delivered to our site, with one-third of the trailer committed to a temporary nursery/daycare space for the three incoming youngsters. A temporary wall was erected to separate office space from the daycare space, each with its own access door. The wall could then be shifted to grow or reduce square footage depending on staff office or childcare expansion/reduction needs. Parents were then given permission to use this available indoor space with accompanying fenced-in outdoor play area and the state park beyond, for childcare needs. The parents formed a childcare co-op to recruit and hire their own childcare provider during the operation hours of the nature center. I was able to contribute to the childcare provider's salary when I periodically needed to find care for my own older children. It was a definite job perk to have one's children on-site and be able to share lunch time as combined families, decreased the child drop-off and pick-up stress enormously, and was wonderful to conduct staff meetings with kids on-hand (meetings did not have to end abruptly for kid-pick-up runs). This family-friendly environment was such a moral booster and an extraordinary stress reduction (and work production boost) for our young and growing employee families, I would recommend such efforts be undertaken by any organization or agency.

Dear Darryl,

Thank you so much for your thoughts and for sharing your experiences! You really share a laudable experiment in family-friendly employment!

Would you mind, if my coworkers deemed it appropriate, if I were to quote you in our blog? I would post a link here, of course.

Thanks again,
Tom

Hello!

Every 2-4 years, our team of 30 tends to have a group of babies that arrive. This past year we had 4 babies in five months. A few years before that we had 7 babies in 9 months. In 2017 we did the best thing we could: passed a policy for paid leave (8 weeks). This is super important and helpful for people to be able to take their full three months of FMLA off.

On return, we tend to have somewhat flexible work schedules with some work from home options. We have stopped scheduling meetings on Mondays and Fridays as much as possible, since those are often people's work from home days.

I think giving people the option to work remotely, bring their kids to work (if feasible - I know it wouldn't have been with my kiddo), and/or reduced schedules are very useful that first year.

Good luck!

Hello. I wanted to comment on pregnancy and bringing newborns to work. I recently have worked with the AZ dept of education and saw several new moms that were able to bring their newborns to work and the ADE made accommodations for the moms to do their job and be a mom. My daughters pediatrician arranged her office so that staff could bring young children to work and offered a daycare. I think in some cases, these accommodations are worth more than money and helps parents connect children to the world around them better than a daycare.