The journey to becoming a parent can be both exhilarating and challenging. Many pregnant people may worry about how pregnancy and subsequent maternity leave may impact their career progression.
In this blog post, we will discuss how maternity leave can positively impact your career. We’ll also explore the skills you can gain during pregnancy and maternity leave. Additionally, we will provide you with important information about your legal rights as a pregnant worker.
How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Work and Career
While some people may feel well throughout their entire pregnancy, most might experience some common hurdles. These can include morning sickness, headaches, bloating, tiredness, backache, and aching legs. Depending on the nature of your job, the symptoms might affect your ability to perform certain tasks and impact your work performance.
For instance, some jobs can be physically strenuous and hazardous during pregnancy. This is especially true if the job requires long hours of standing, such as cooks, waiters, police officers, and many other professions. In these cases, your employer should make reasonable adjustments to allow for your pregnancy, like assigning you different duties.
For this reason, it is vital that you ask your employer to adapt your duties before your pregnancy symptoms start affecting your work. In this way, you can keep on performing your best without letting your pregnancy affect the way you work and, as a result, your career progression. Sensible employers will ensure that you feel supported in the workplace, irrespective of factors like race, religion, disability and other protected characteristics.
Moreover, it is crucial to understand how your pregnancy and maternity can positively affect your skillset and career progression.
5 Skills You Can Gain From Your Pregnancy and Subsequent Maternity Leave
At Refreshing a Career, we are committed to providing you with information and advice to best support your career decisions. Therefore, we have put together a list of 5 skills you can gain from pregnancy and subsequent leave.
1. Time Management
Managing a household and completing tasks to deadlines at home can consequently help you learn how to manage your time in the workplace effectively. Returning parents are often better at fitting multiple tasks into their day than they were before having children.
As a parent, you are constantly mentoring, teaching, and role-modelling for your children. This allows you to increase your communication skills and enables you to be a great team player upon your return to work.
3. People Management
Managing a home and your child at the same time can help you improve your negotiation skills. For example, you might work with your partner or other family members to share household duties or take care of your child. This can improve your ability to delegate tasks, communicate expectations, and collaborate with others effectively.
Every industry needs problem solvers. As a parent, you’ll come across matters you never even knew existed. You will learn how to deal with these matters on a daily basis, which are the fundamentals of being a manager.
5. Organisational Skills
Being a parent will greatly improve your organisational skills. For instance, you might plan family activities and budget for them, which will help you develop vital financial and organisational skills that can benefit your workplace.
Your Legal Rights and What You Need to Be Aware Of
As a pregnant worker, you must inform your employer about your pregnancy at least 15 weeks prior to the due date. If you did not know about the pregnancy until then, you need to tell your manager as soon as possible.
You have legal rights that protect you from unfair treatment while you are pregnant at work. These ensure you work safely and get the time off you need for your antenatal appointments:
- Paid time off for antenatal appointments – access to antenatal care is a pregnant person’s legal right. For this reason, your employer must allow you to attend any meeting recommended by your doctor or midwife. Additionally, the right extends to the partner of a pregnant person for two antenatal appointments. However, time off allowed for the partner is not remunerated.
- Maternity pay and leave – you have the legal right to statutory maternity leave. If you choose not to take statutory leave, you must take compulsory leave for the period of two weeks (four, if you work in a factory) after the birth of your baby.
- Health and Safety – your employer must carry out a pregnancy risk assessment and evaluate and remove any hazard that might pose a risk to you and your baby. This includes heavy lifting, working for long periods without breaks, exposure to toxic substances, and more. If you are unable to carry out your work because of any risks in the workplace, you must be suspended on full pay.
- Discrimination – you cannot be dismissed or not offered a job because you are pregnant or on maternity leave. If your employer dismisses you, they must give you other reasons for your dismissal in writing. Moreover, your employer cannot change any agreement made with you regarding when and how long you will take maternity leave for.
- Sick pay – You are entitled to sick pay while you are pregnant. Getting sick pay could affect your maternity leave. For further information, you can visit the Citizens Advice website.
In conclusion, taking pregnancy and maternity leave can offer you a chance to enhance your skill set and help your career progression. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to keep your employer informed and be aware of your legal rights as a pregnant employee. Additionally, by considering the five skills discussed in this blog, you can effectively keep track of the abilities you acquire during your leave.
Here at Refreshing a Career, we offer numerous tips and provide you with plenty of information about pregnant employee rights, help for single parents, and maternity/paternity leave. Visit our dedicated section on Parenthood to learn more.
Whether you’re looking for a new job or pondering a career change, our team is here to offer the help and advice you need, when you need it.
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