Staff on maternity leave need better support, say HR chiefs

Voluntary sector employees on maternity leave receive insufficient adjustments to salary and working hours and are offered little emotional or psychological support, according to a group of human resources directors.

HR directors from organisations including anti-poverty charity ActionAid and health and community safety charity Cri met to discuss how maternity leave is managed.

They concluded that adjustments to salary and working hours were not sufficient to meet the personal needs of employees going on or returning from maternity leave.

Organisations tended to place considerable focus on how mothers coped with returning to work as opposed to trying to prevent the emotional difficulties people could face in leaving their positions and then returning, they said.

Duncan Fraser, managing director of training organisation the Way Ahead Group, which hosted the discussion, said neglecting this area was detrimental to organisations.

"The cost to a company of badly managed maternity leave can be financial and psychological and can have a bad effect on performance, organisational knowledge and goodwill," he said.

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