You're Not Guaranteed The Same Job After Maternity Leave In Canada. Here's What To Do About It.


When it comes to managing a career through maternity leave, there are lots of myths and misinformation.  I think it’s really important for all career-minded professional women to understand that they aren’t guaranteed the same job on their return to work for maternity leave.  Here in Canada, women are guaranteed an equal position with the same level of pay but the job itself can be different. 


While this seems like a minor detail at a glance, consider this.  An employee who is in an Administrative Assistant Human Resources role could be assigned to an Administrative Assistant role in Accounting.  Now suppose that employee’s career goal is to progress in the Human Resources field.  Maternity leave could set her career back years.   


As a result, you might feel under pressure to return from maternity leave earlier than planned to protect your career.  This was totally my experience.  I ended up deciding to stay home and take the associated career risks.  And you need to do what’s right for you.


Basically, returning to work from maternity leave could bring giant changes in your career.  While some of these things are beyond your control and based on business requirements and needs, I completely believe there are things you can do to affect your career direction. 


Here are three things to help you get what you want on your return to work from maternity leave:


1.  Know What You Want


It’s really important that you actually understand what you want for your career and family in order to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.  This is an exercise in self-reflection.   Most of us need to set career goals more than once in our lives. To do it well, you need to have a good idea about who you are and what you like to do.


2.  Tell Your Employer What You Want


One surefire quick way to increase your chances of ending up where you want to end up post maternity leave is simply to communicate where you want to be.  I’m not saying that you’ll get it from asking.  But I’m 100% sure you won’t get what you want if your employer doesn’t know you want it.    


3.  Keep In Touch With Your Employer


Stay in touch during maternity leave to the extent you are comfortable. For example, request regular email or post updates to stay connected. This can be a great opportunity to keep up relationships, increase confidence and maintain skills without bringing maternity leave, or statutory maternity pay, to an end. This can also help identify any potential problems that might need to be ironed out before returning.

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