make Vet Answers my homepage

Managing Parental Leave - How to make it a success for your veterinary practice

Posted in Management @ Jul 19th 2011 6:34pm - By Judy Gillespie introducing an article in HC Online
Pregnant & Boxer

Paid Parental Leave is here to stay - like it or not.  Now you could just see it as just another burden on small business or, you could also see it as a way of retaining talented professionals.  In an industry such as the veterinary profession, with ever increasing numbers of females - I would think this is a step in the right direction.

So if it's here to stay what's the best way to manage it?  The worst possible scenario is to go through the whole process and then have your valued, experienced vet, vet nurse or receptionist leave anyway!  Guess what?  Recent research by coaching and development consultancy Family Matters has found that the attitude and behaviour of managers when dealing with a staff member taking parental leave has a strong influence on how well the employee transitions back into your practice on return, and whether they even return at all.

The research recognised 5 distinct attitudes that a Practice Manager or owner may adopt when faced with a pregnant team member - only one attitude is likely to end successfully!:

  1. Traditionalists - workplace is a male domain and a woman's place is as a homemaker and child-rearer;
  2. Resenters - more concerned about the effect on themselves & believes that everyone should be treated the same;
  3. Avoiders - overly concerned about doing the' right' thing & then ends up doing nothing;
  4. Protectors - wants to wrap up the pregnant team member and won't let her do anything;
  5. Supporters - sees this as a challenging yet manageable stage in a woman's career that involves setting and managing expectations for all those involved.

Did you pick the right attitude?  Yep - practice managers and owners need to be supportive of the team member - especially when the cost of totally losing your experienced vet, vet nurse or receptionist is factored in. This may involve putting aside your personal feelings & views about Paid Parental Leave and focusing on the benefits to the team, but considering the number and ages of females currently employed in the veterinary industry - what choice do you have?

A recent article in dvm360 also supports this view.  Give your working moms control over their schedules suggests that offering less rigid works schedules could help encourage working mothers to stay in your practice.  Research in the US suggests that a flexible schedule is an important element in decreasing the turnover of working mums as it can be used when work demands arise. When team members with children are better able to control their work environment and adapt, work related stress is less likely to become a family issue and your team member is more likely to stay in your practice.

You can see the entire article - Manager attitudes, not policies, key to paid parental leave success in HC Online 19 July 2011.

If you would like some information on how you can manage Paid Parental Leave you can check out the resources we already have in our Resources Section - Industrial Relations.

Or visit the Australian Government Family Assistance Office - Paid Parental Leave scheme for Working Parents.

Tell us what do you think is the key to successfully managing parental leave in your practice?


There are currently no comments.

Add Your Comments

All comments will be submitted to the administrator for approval.

To prevent spam, please type in the code found in the red box to verify you are a real person.
  Required fields

Blog Categories


Recent Blog Entries

follow us on twitter