How to Create Part-Time Roles for Sales Reps on Parental Leave

Every sales manager or business owner will eventually encounter a situation in which an employee goes on maternity or paternity leave. In some cases, after a period of time the employee may express a desire to get back to work on a part-time basis before their parental is finished.

Of course, before setting up any kind of work arrangement with an employee currently on parental leave, be sure to check all the required governmental rules and regulations in your area before doing so.

Though there are certainly some precautions that need to be taken, if managed correctly, this is a great opportunity for both the company and the employee in question. The employee has the opportunity to feel fulfilled by contributing at work, and the business can benefit from a positively contributing resource.

Tips for a Successful Part-Time Work Arrangement During Parental Leave From a Fractional VP of Sales

It’s easy to imagine what might go wrong when a member of your sales team is not officially back from leave yet contributing again. The danger is that tasks might be partially completed and left dangling for someone else to pick up, all at the risk of appearing disorganized or unprofessional to your customers.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take as a sales leader to minimize the chances of this happening.

1. Have the Employee Secure Regular, Committed Childcare

For any staff member to do their job well, they need focused time and attention. Without committed, reliable childcare, that just isn’t possible. If a staff member on mat leave plans to deliver on tasks, there is likely a co-worker downstream whose ability to do their next task depends on that thing being done. 

If a person on mat leave has committed to doing something by a certain time, but that gets prevented by insufficient child care planning, that disrupts the people downstream and everyone –  the sales rep, the customer, and the company – experiences frustration.

With reliable childcare, the employee can have some guaranteed closed-door time during which they can effectively do their job, and downstream parties can rest assured that they can plan their own tasks and days accordingly.

2.  Have Childcare Planned for the Right Time of Day

If the duties and tasks the employee wants to do must be done during business hours (such as customer-facing interactions), then their childcare needs to be available at the right time of the day to serve the needs of all parties. 

It may be that the tasks they’re doing can be done after hours, in which case, that’s great! Just keep in mind that tasks can carry over to the next day if there are questions about them that need to be answered. 

3. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The person on leave must commit to how much they will do of which duties and tasks. As the work they are doing is likely going to impact other people they’ll need to know what’s going to be done and when. This will help the leader manage the situation and prepare resources downstream from this person for whatever outputs will be coming their way.

The KPIs should include a weekly one-on-one meeting to assess how things are going and course-correct along the way if necessary. This of course means that the employee must be available once a week for a 30-minute meeting with their manager.

4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

When an employee is on leave, they may not present at all departmental meetings. This makes it important to establish clear, open, and frequent communication to ensure that all parties are consistently aligned. 

This will facilitate addressing any day-to-day challenges that might arise during a part-time work arrangement. 

5. Provide Appropriate Compensation According to Local Labour Laws

In Canada, it is possible for an employee to work up to ten days during maternity leave without losing maternity pay or benefits. This arrangement is referred to as ‘keeping in touch’ days. Before setting up any kind of part-time work arrangement, be sure that you and the employee on leave are both fully aware of the regulations around working during maternity leave and how that impacts benefits.

Returning to the workplace in some capacity during maternity leave can be a great opportunity for interested parties to remain fulfilled and “connected to the adult world”. It’s also a great opportunity for employers to help those employees remain fulfilled. By following the tips above, you can set the stage for this to be a win-win situation.

Feel free to Get in touch with Rob if you’d like to discuss this further.

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