When an organization is faced with a maternity leave coverage, there are always a lot of questions that come up:
Do we really need a replacement?
Should we hire for the same type of skillset or maybe bring someone more or less experienced?
How far in advance do we need to bring someone in?
All these are great things to consider. When looking at hiring for a maternity coverage, as much as this is a contract type position with a determined length of time, it is always good to look at this type of hire as a long term hire. It is very important to attract the right type of individual and make them feel part of the team.
The interview process for hiring for a maternity leave coverage is very often the same type of process that the employer will go through for a permanent hire. From that perspective, you want to make sure the candidates you are considering have the best hiring experience possible and see you as the employer of choice.
It’s very common for the person going on maternity leave to be involved in the hiring process. This gives candidates the chance to ask specific questions about the role, what could be potential challenges and what would make this role successful.
Making the Offer
To attract the right type of person, it is important to consider the full compensation package, not just the salary. Are there any other perks that the person can get? Potential benefits, vacation days, completion bonus etc. This is also a good opportunity to take a pulse check of the market and make sure the salary you are looking to offer is on par with what else is on the market. Even though it is a contract position, offering pro-rated vacation days or covering partial benefits can really set you apart as an employer who cares about creating a safe and comfortable work environment.
Once an offer has been extended and accepted, it is important to have the right type of onboarding; from having the work station all set up to the right training schedule and expectations clearly laid out. Planning in advance and having time for cross training is very important. You want to make sure that key knowledge and information is transferred along to the replacement for a smoother transition.
It is very common to have the same type of probation period as you would for a permanent role. It gives both of you time to make sure it is the right role and assess the skillset properly.
Ending the Contract
Once the contract is coming to an end, it is important to keep the replacement up to date on the returning employee’s situation. If they are coming back, what date that could potentially happen or if they are not planning on coming back and how that will impact their role.
As much as it cannot be guaranteed that the maternity leave converge can turn into a permanent position, we see it happening very often. If it is a great fit, employers tend to offer a permanent position at the end of the contract.