This can be a stressful conversation; your parental leave conversation with your manager. You’re nearing the end of your pregnancy and all the hormones floating around could mean you are feeling a bit anxious about leaving. Just stop for a minute and think about all the emotions you have running wild.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Will my replacement be better than me?”, “How will the work get done”, or, “What if everyone forgets me?”
I had my final conversation with my manager in my last week. I was tired, stressed and it ended up being so rushed. My review was literally a two-minute thank you and I felt we didn’t get a chance to cover what I wanted. Six months later I received my performance review and was really disappointed, but as I was not in the office, it was hard to recall what I achieved and why I deserved a higher rating.” Sally, pregnant with her first baby.
Plan your final meeting with your manager for your last two to three weeks—definitely not your last.
Here’s our recommended outline:
- Your performance review
- Your handover plan
- Staying in touch
- Your career goals and future aspirations
- Your return to work
Tips to help you with this conversation:
- Prepare, prepare and prepare. It will give you and your manager confidence for what lies ahead.
- Make sure sufficient time is allocated and the meeting is at a time that works for both. You don’t want it to be rushed.
- Ensure a performance review is conducted. If your organisation works on a rating/bonus system, then try and get your end-of-year outcome locked in. We don’t want you feeling “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to performance rating time.
- Prepare your one-page performance review detailing achievements, strength and development areas. We suggest sending this prior to the meeting.
- Present your parental leave plan and highlight areas that your manager needs to be aware of. Agree who you should share this plan with. You can access our Parental leave template here.
- Be open and honest about how you would like to stay in touch. Your manager is not a mind reader. Be clear, especially around business updates, planned team days or events that you would like to attend.
- Share your career goals and future aspirations. It’s important that your manager knows where you want to go. If this includes being considered for promotions whilst on leave, tell them.
- Discuss your initial thinking around your return to work arrangements. This may be an opportunity to also discuss the option of flexibility. We recommend building a plan around this and presenting it to your manager, either before you begin leave or whilst you are on leave. We have some great flexibility articles and resources so be sure to check them out.
Having the conversation about your return is key and will help ease any concerns you may have. If your manager is not supportive of your requirements, then don’t worry just yet. Once you begin parental leave, you’ll have time to really think about what’s important and, who knows, your requirements may even change.
The Fair Work Ombudsman website is a great place to start if you feel that your rights are not being met. Alternatively, use your buddy to speak openly about what’s on your mind and what is acceptable in your workplace. Check out our article The importance of buddies when you leave the office.
Written by the team at Circle In