The way to fix your company’s maternity leave program is not top-up

  • Top Up. We have top up. You get 6 weeks of top up
  • We have a women’s employee group
  • We have awards
  • 95% of women were not offered any formal support during the maternity leave process.
  • 58% said their employers were not prepared for their return to work
  • 80% were not provided clear direction for how their return to work would be managed.
  • Clear process
  • Support to help navigate it
  • Not managers handling the process
  • Someone to set up the return to work meeting — to make sure everyone is set up and returned to work successfully
  • A graduated return to work plan (yes you would ramp back up to help ease the transition ie 3 days a week then 4 days a week and then 5 days a week)
  • you dig around in the employee shared drive
  • you ask HR, email them again, call Service Canada
  • you ask your boss, you ask a person who has been on leave before
  • you email benefits — you don’t get an answer
  • you go on leave and your boss moves department s — when you try to set up a call — no one knows whose team you are on.
  • you call HR — but you are passed around like a hot potato
  • you finally have to escalate to a former VP whose number you found through linkedin to help you find the name of someone who can help.
  • you show up on your first day and you don’t have a desk
  • you leave 6 months later
  • you are provided with a folder containing the details of how you can plan for your leave, a timeline to help transition your replacement, answers and phone numbers of your company contact who has completed the Ready to Return certificate program and is ready to help you.
  • You complete the forms deciding how you want to be contacted on your leave, you choose to be added to a list for job postings and company updates and you update the information for your contact who will contact you for the holiday party while you are off (because you haven’t missed it for the past 7 years and is your favourite thing!)
  • After the baby is born you look over the package about the options for how your return to work will look and the dates that you will be contacted for meetings and preperation for return. You get a welcome back email 2 months before your return and a meeting is set up with your new boss who asks you to select a new chair and gives you the updates on your new client list. During your leave you have already used some of the resources available to your organization including meeting with a lactation consultant to set up a pumping schedule and talking to a parenting coach about how to manage daycare transition.
  • You have chosen to start back with a graduated return to work. It has made all the difference. You fit in last minute appointments. Had lots of time to adjust and feel part of the team.
  • You tell your friends about your experince and they now want to work for your company. You submit two new applicants who were senior managers for roles in your company and they are hired. Your leadership team has gained two new female leaders.



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Allison Venditti

Allison Venditti


Career Coach, HR pro and advocate for working mothers. I write about working, parenting, HR & all that falls in between. #paytransparencynow