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Companies Find It Difficult To Replace Women Employees On Maternity Leave

Companies face big challenges in cases with women workforce as they find it difficult to arrange alternative resources to replace with

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Companies are finding it difficult to fill talent gaps created in the event of 'maternity continuum' of women employees, even as companies are vying for gender diversity.

Companies face big challenges in such cases with women workforce as they find it difficult to arrange alternative resources to replace with. Maternity continuum refers to the phases of maternity that a woman professional goes through in the event of pregnancy. 

The biggest concern most managers (95 percent) face is  that if an employee announces her pregnancy, how would they build an alternate resource equivalent in talent to fill in for her unanticipated temporary absence, according to AVTAR Group's Viewport 2018, a 'Maternity Management in Corporate India' report.

Managing uncertainty was a huge challenge in the absence of guidance and support from mentors, and 88 percent of women agree to that, especially when there were health challenges involved. 

The companies also face uncertainty on whether or not the employee will continue in the organisation after announcing her pregnancy. 

Apprehensions about her health and the need for a temporary succession plan to ensure business continuity are amongst their worries and challenges for more than 60 percent managers, impacting business continuity especially when the woman employee was in client facing roles or was not an individual contributor.

While 59 percent of women said the aftermath of unplanned leaves was huge and put additional stress on them. Employers feel unsure of acceptance of the employee on her return after pregnancy and are sceptical if she will return to the same role or not.

The companies felt that managers also have to manage her workload which means delegating work of the employee to others in the same team that if not well planned might result in overloading them, the report added.

It revealed that managers also find themselves in dilemma on when to start preparing an employee to return from maternity. Further, it said that while managers are open to provide the option of flexible working hours to maternity returners, it becomes a challenge if it is not supported by organisational policy.

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