How to best support people coming back to work after maternity or paternity leave?

Returning to work after parental leave is a stressful time for the parent. After being out of the work/home routine for a while, the initial transition could be difficult to adapt to. As being a parent comes with new responsibilities and priorities, it’s important that the management team and fellow colleagues do their best to welcome the individual and help them ease into work life again.

So, from a company’s perspective, what can be done to help ensure a parent is comfortably welcomed back to their workplace? Read on and learn about a few processes you should be prioritising to allow each male or female employee a relaxing return.

Flexible working

In today’s modern workplace, the idea of flexible working is not a new one. But you’d be surprised just how many companies still don’t offer it – even to new parents. This flexibility allows parents to have the ability to work around their child’s schedule, whether this is childcare, appointments or pick-ups and drop-offs.

Having the flexibility offered to them during their return, or even permanently, is something that will be of comfort to peoples’ mental wellbeing. Being able to have control over their work-life balance will ensure that, while they are at work, they can focus on the task at hand.

Easing into normal routine

There will be plenty of mixed emotions on the return back to work – an ambition to kick off where they started, separation anxiety or paranoia that the workplace has changed in their absence. These feelings will be totally dependent on the individual, but all employers should be aware of how they can reduce these overwhelming feelings.

Easing the returning parent back into their normal routine is essential. Focus on making their first week or so all about getting back on their feet in the workplace. Whether this is setting up one-to-ones with fellow work colleagues or starting off part-time in order to slowly get used to the new daily schedule.


This connects with the process above. In the time taken for parental leave, a lot can change within the workplace. Various systems, softwares and even people will change during this time. While introducing the individual to new team members is easy enough, setting up time for those returning to get to grips with any new systems will ease their transition.

By receiving some re-training or even extra training, the returning parent will not only be able to build their skill base, but they are less likely to feel as though they have been thrown in the deep end and feel as though they’re drowning.

Establish healthy communication between manager and employee

All of the above could not be done without healthy communication being established between the returning parent and their line of management. This could either be between a boss and other senior employee that you’re confident in building a relationship with.

There needs to be one consistent person who the returnee can confide in and trust throughout their return to work. Not everybody feels as though they can go straight to their boss but if, from the beginning, an open and honest environment between the two are established, then any issues or questions raised can be done so in confidence.

As well as these, the workplace should remain a positive culture for everybody involved. At first it will be unusual, but if everyone is open to being helpful and respectful, then there is no reason why employees, the returnee or management should have any issues arising in the future.

Are you looking for advice or representation from a Family Lawyer? Get in contact with our team at Lysander Law and we’re make sure you have all the information you need.