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“Simply put, a pregnancy should never impact a woman’s career. I hear about this all too often in the legal industry. Story after story of women who are working at law firms that have their professional career negatively impacted by announcing that they are expecting.” – Sandra Zisckind, Managing Partner, Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
Having a baby is an exciting time for many couples, but the unfortunate reality is that many working women experience unwarranted setbacks in their career over something that should be a joyous milestone in their life. As the Managing Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, Sandra Zisckind is blazing a trail for women in the legal industry, and has kindly offered up some tips for organizations looking to develop maternity leave processes that go over and above industry expectations.
Be Prepared for Maternity Leaves
As a senior executive in the legal industry – or any industry for that matter – it’s important to develop a maternity leave process as soon as you possibly can. Not every pregnancy is planned, and sometimes this news may be as much of a surprise to an organization as it may be to the expecting mother. “It’s important to have these processes in place so that your employee feels supported and ultimately relaxed about the idea of taking time off for a maternity leave,” says Sandra Zisckind. The reality for many lawyers is that they feel a strong sense of responsibility for any case or matter that they take on. It’s important that expectant mothers feel confident in your firm’s coverage system so that they’re comfortable leaving their cases with other members of your team. When developing a maternity leave process, you should consider the following questions:
- What are the organization’s legal obligations for employees who are taking time off for a maternity leave?
- Who is going to cover the expecting mother?
- It is essential that you have members of your team that are able to step in and pick up a case or a project right where they were left.
- How can the organization show its support throughout this process?
- Consider throwing a baby shower or having a celebratory party.
Celebrate Your Employee’s Bundle of Joy
Celebrate this huge milestone in your employee’s life! While the specifics of a celebration may vary from organization to organization, this is an essential aspect of showing the expecting parent the support that they deserve at such a pivotal time in their life. “At Diamond and Diamond, we like to throw a party or a work baby shower for the expecting mother,” says Sandra Zisckind.
Check In During Maternity Leave
While adjusting to parenthood is a busy time for many expecting couples, it’s crucial for an organization to show its support throughout the entire process. “A new mother will undoubtedly have her hands full after a baby is born, but it’s still very important to check in with them during their maternity leave! Even a quick text can go a long way in showing your support throughout a very busy and often stressful time in their life,” says Sandra Zisckind.
Foster a Family-Friendly Company Culture
One thing that many organizations never think about is the impact that company culture can have on an employee’s feelings towards taking a maternity leave. Setting a company culture where employees feel comfortable talking about their lives outside of the office, including being parents, can help create a positive workplace environment. “Diamond and Diamond often uses the term ‘The People’s Law Firm,’ and that’s a reflection of our love for our clients and our employees. We want our employees to feel empowered to share every milestone in their child’s life – from birth to graduations to any other accomplishment in between,” says Sandra Zisckind.
Be Flexible About Returning to Work
When an employee is ready to return from their maternity leave, it’s very important to be flexible about how this may look. Some mothers may need the flexibility of working from home so that they’re able to tend to their child throughout the day should they need anything. “At Diamond and Diamond, we respect the wishes of each mother as they return to work. Whether they need to work from home or in a hybrid environment, we do our very best to accommodate their needs,” says Sandra Zisckind.
At the end of the day, what it all comes down to is the age old saying: “Keep your employees happy, and strong business results will follow.” If you prioritize your employee’s needs, this will not only reflect positively on your company internally, but it will only stand to benefit you externally as well. If you find yourself needing a personal injury lawyer, contact Diamond and Diamond Lawyers today for a free consultation.
About Jeremy Diamond
Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and member of both Ontario and Florida Bars. Jeremy practices in the area of Plaintiff personal injury litigation. Click here to learn more about Jeremy Diamond.