Information, helpful advice, and commentary about topics relevant to relaunchers.

Relaunching Moms and Flying Nannies: There’s a Connection

The connection between improved parental leave policies and the growth of successful reentry programs

In the news recently it seems that each week yet another company is publicizing improved benefits and innovative programs for expectant and new parents. Substantially longer maternity leaves have been announced at employers such as Accenture, Netflix, Microsoft and Facebook. Paternity leave is increasingly being offered or expanded in more organizations. And private equity firm KKR announced it is now picking up the bill for new moms to take their baby and nanny on business trips during the baby’s first year (no more lugging that breast pump!), hoping to relieve some of the stress associated with business travel.

As someone who works in this space and delivers parental transition coaching in various large organizations, I am thrilled to see increased attention put to this issue. I work with new moms utilizing these benefits and I see the difference this makes for them. I also suspect that many relaunchers may read about this with a wince of envy or perhaps regret. “Where were these policies when I was having my kids?” or maybe “If only these perks were around back then, I might have not left the job I loved.” I get it, and am kind of envious too. But I do think there is a silver lining here for relaunchers.

I believe it is more than a coincidence that better parental benefits are being rolled out around the same time that re-entry programs have spread across Wall Street, into the STEM sector, and beyond. The drain brain that occurs when parents conclude that combining work and family is too difficult comes at a real cost to employers. If parental leave policies are about retention of talent, then re-entry programs are about recapturing that same talent after years away from work. Retention and re-entry are two sides of the same coin.

Developments around parental leave and re-entry both underscore the fact that transitioning from working person to working parent takes time – more than a few weeks off from full-time work. Some fortunate enough to have access to newly improved policies may find this flexibility enough. For others, a multi-year parental leave is what works best for their family. Either way, parents need time for caregiving, and progressive employers are addressing this. Just how much time is needed tends to be a very complicated and personal decision.

I hope these developments allow relaunchers to be more self-assured when answering the dreaded question “Why did you leave your last job?” Next, they can focus on conveying how incredibly excited they are to get back to work.

Michelle Friedman is the Founder of the coaching and organizational consulting firm Advancing Women's Careers and Special Advisor to iRelaunch on its Coaching Programs and Corporate Advisory Practice. Michelle has also coached the iRelaunch small group coaching programs since 2011.

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