What HR Should Look Out for in Pregnant Members of Staff

When an employee announces their pregnancy to the workforce, responses can be a mixed bag.

On one side, you’re extremely happy that they’re bringing a new life into the world and that they’re extending their family, but on the other hand, you need to find someone to cover them on maternity leave. They will also need time off for scans, and it could be costly to hire someone new or train someone in-house.

However, as a HR professional, not only should you be worried about it will affect the company, but you should also ensure that you’re doing enough for your pregnant employee to make sure that they’re happy and comfortable. Here are a few things that you should look out for:

Tiredness

A recent survey has revealed that nearly half of expectant mothers have to battle through a working day because of tiredness. In which case, they may make too many mistakes, they may not be as productive as normal and their bad mood may bring staff morale down.

Tiredness can occur for a number of reasons. At night, the expectant mother may experience heartburn, sickness and even stress from worrying about the baby, which are of course all valid reasons for the employee not getting enough rest.

Be sure to make employees feel as comfortable as possible. Limit the amount of meetings and travel and perhaps even offer them a quieter working space if they don’t have that already.

Sickness

Most employees that are pregnant will experience some sort of sickness. Whether this be morning sickness, night time sickness or heartburn, it’s very rare that women have smooth-sailing pregnancies. Scott Jones, Managing Director of Illustrate Digital, says:

“It’s important to remind staff that they can have sick days when they feel as though they need them, and pregnancy sickness shouldn’t be looked at any differently. If a member of staff is feeling nauseous or unable to work, then make sure that they don’t come in – their health is the priority. If they feel fit enough to work, then remote working may be an option if that’s possible for your company. At Illustrate Digital, we have a number of full-paid sick days to encourage members of staff to take some time off when they really need it, as often the mindset is “I feel sick but I can’t afford a day off” which could lead to added sickness from stress, not enough rest, etc.”

Stress Levels

Work is one of, if not the, most common cause of stress for most people. Stress often leads to high blood pressure during pregnancy, potentially putting a pregnant employee at risk of a serious high-blood pressure condition called preeclampsia, having a premature birth or having a low birthweight infant.

Make sure that you’re checking in with the employee regularly to ensure that their stress levels aren’t high, they’re coping with their work emails and that they’re not stretching too far over their capacity. Put a solution in place to help with these; can someone else be briefed? Can tasks be handed over to other members of staff?

For more information on the employment laws around pregnancy and maternity, visit this link for some useful employment law guidance.

 

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What HR Should Look Out for in Pregnant Members of Staff

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