Tag Archives: hr policy

Maternity Leave – HRs Role in Creating Policy

The absence of an integral employee due to pregnancy and/or the delivery of a child can create challenges for your business. It’s something that you should definitely plan for. According to a 2008 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “More than 60 percent of men and women in the labor force have children under the age of 6.”

Creating a maternity leave policy will minimize friction and ensure that new mothers are given the necessary time to recover and care for their newborns. What specific role does HR play in this process?


Federal and State Laws

There are two federal laws in place that protect mothers. Your HR team must make sure your business is compliant with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Although you’re not legally obligated to provide paid maternity leave in most states, you must adhere to the laws. Otherwise, you could wind up facing litigation.

Note that a handful of states have unique laws in place regarding family medical leave provisions. If your business operates out of one of these states, there may be special parameters in place that dictate how you approach maternity leave. Consult this guide from the National Conference of State Legislatures for more information.


Determining Eligibility

It’s also HR’s job to determine exactly who is eligible for maternity leave. Here are the eligibility requirements for FMLA leave according to the United States Department of Labor (DOL):

An employee must work for a covered employer and:

  • have worked for that employer for at least 12 months
  • have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave
  • work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed at the location or within 75 miles of the location.


You can find more information on eligibility requirements in the DOL resource listed above. Your HR team must look at all of the angles and decide what makes the most sense for your business, noting any specific variables that factor into the equation.


Explaining the Various Types of Leave

HR should also clarify the different types of maternity leave employees can take. There are three main types of leave that include the following:

  • Intermittent leave
  • Reduced-schedule leave
  • Block-of-time leave

The first two are pretty self-explanatory. Block-of-time leave is when an employee is given an extended period of time off, which is fairly common post-childbirth.


Giving Notice

Finally, it’s up to HR to determine when employees must give notice as well as what types of documentation they must provide. For example, HR might mandate that employees must provide 30 days notice before they anticipate going on maternity leave.

An effective maternity leave policy is critical to business operations and for preventing lawsuits. It also plays a role in recruiting and employee retention. Therefore, it’s important for HR to create a policy that fulfills legal obligations, ensures the well-being of employees and minimizes complications within the workplace.


Improve Morale By Eliminating Performance Reviews

Employee morale is incredibly important and affects multiple areas of business including productivity, profitability, retention and turnover. The problem is that many companies are shooting themselves in the foot by latching onto a particularly antiquated HR policy. By eliminating this policy, you can improve morale dramatically.


Performance Reviews – A Source of Fear and Loathing

At first glance, performance reviews probably seem like a positive thing. They’re a time-tested means of providing employees with feedback and addressing problem areas. Their roots can be traced all the way back to the Industrial Revolution when there was the ongoing need for improved work methods to boost productivity and product quality.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and performance reviews are still practiced by plenty of companies across a variety of industries. However, multiple studies show that it’s time to rethink performance reviews.


An Outdated Practice

One particular study from Adobe found that performance reviews do more harm than good and can have a tremendously negative impact on employee morale. Here are some highlights:

  • Nearly two-thirds of employees and managers believe performance reviews are an outdated practice.
  • Managers spend an average of 17 hours planning for each individual employee’s review.
  • One in five workers admit to crying after a review.
  • 37 percent say they have looked for another job.
  • 20 percent say they have quit.
  • To avoid the stress and heartache, more than 60 percent of millennial workers say they would switch to another company with no performance reviews.
  • Both office workers (55 percent) and managers (66 percent) say it’s time to change or get rid of reviews.


The Implications

These statistics tell us three main things. First, performance reviews have become old-fashioned and are out of touch with the modern workforce. While they may have been viable in the 1950’s, it’s clear that they simply don’t have a place in the twenty-teens.

Second, they’re time-consuming. Although not every manager will spend 17 hours planning a performance review, this study suggests that they can be a major time drainer.

Third and most importantly, employees hate them. If performance reviews lead to your employees crying, looking for a new job or quitting, this obviously isn’t doing any favors for morale. In some cases, it can be the catalyst for excessive turnover and even damage your brand reputation.


The Solution

So what should you do if performance reviews are your company’s primary means of providing feedback?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Switch to on-the-job feedback. Rather than using a rigid, antiquated system like performance reviews, you’re far better off providing feedback in real-time.

Not only should this improve morale, it tends to be more effective because it’s easier for your employees to understand and implement information when it’s presented in this manner. According to Adobe’s study, this is the preferred mode of feedback with 80 percent of office workers preferring feedback in the moment.

It’s amazing to think that you can dramatically improve morale by ditching just a single HR policy. Eliminating performance reviews and opting for on-the-job feedback is a smart move that can pay dividends for your company.