Changing jobs while on mat leave  


Eminent Colleague Registered
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 40
June 13, 2016 3:38 am  

Looking for advice from managers... What are your thoughts on employees changing jobs while they are on maternity leave? Whether it's your own employee or a person you are interviewing? I will be going on mat leave in the fall and have some inside information that several suitable positions will be open at my dream company sometime in 2017. This will be a very good move for me if I can play my cards right. I would like to put the word out to my contacts at that company that I'm interested but don't know how to approach the subject. Do I have to tell them that I'll be going on leave for a few months and will be a new mother? I don't know exactly when the positions will be posted and when I will be ready to start. I was planning on taking 4-6 months leave (in Canada we are entitled to a full year off with government EI benefits that are equal to 55% salary but I think that's too long to be out). The dream company is in the US so this will involve me moving as well. Also my current employer knows I'm pregnant and will be going on mat leave in the fall, but not that I'm also thinking about switching after I come back. What are your thoughts? Any advice? Is this a good move or bad?

Honorable Maven Registered
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 605
June 13, 2016 11:27 am  

Hi Parker,

You are in your right to pursue your career interests irrespective of maternal leave Status (or any other Family Status for that matter).

Remember, in today's world, you owe your employer nothing, similarly they owe you nothing.

Additionally, in your Country, maternal leave is a RIGHT and NOT a Company benefit. In my opinion, like European countries its a progressive stance for Woman's Rights, Family Values, and Women Empowerment that some other countries don't honor (like the US; ok off my political Soap box).

That being said, you don't Need to disclose your intent to your current employer, even if it was a Company benefit, remember, your contract to work is a Business Agreement for work delvired vs. compenstation.

Maternity leave also offers an opportunity, on a personal Level, to re-evaluate what you want in Terms of career opporunity and certainly you can use that Card when applying for your next Company.

To the extent of which disclosing your maternity Status is up to you.

Some narrow minded Managers which unfortunately represents the majority will see your maternity leave as Absence from the work force and may not see you on the cutting edge (false but sadly a terrible and stupid perception). The other challenge you may face is that disclosing that fact you will have a newborn will also raise concerns on your availablity to work post maternity leave - i.e. you will have to take time to manage child sickness, paedeatrician visits, if you and your husband work, then you'll have to leave "early" to pick your kid up at "Kinderkrippe". Your travel ability is restricted. So that can be Held against you.

Sadly there are a minority of progressive Managers who will see the benefit of a working mother (you'll probably be more dedicated and more efficient) but that is often underappreciated.

So my recommendation, weigh if you Need to declare based on when you apply for the Job. If you do declare, do mention that the emerging oppornity aligns with your interest and experience, and the Company is infact your dream Company (like any other candidate in any other Situation would) and don't dwell too much on the maternatiy leave factor, Point to your current experience and what you bring to the table, value wise. If you Focus on the maternity factor, see my Point on narrow-minded Managers.

Also weigh what you have in your current role. Do you like your Team? Do you forecast you will have flexibility to take care of your child upon return with your currently employer (time wise). It is great to think about career, but, don't be narrow minded American in thinking here (I'm American so I'm allowed). The time you have with your child now is an amazing time, becareful trading that for work and career, besure to have that Balance if you can.

As for me, I'm a new father. My wife is on maternity leave (government mandated like Canada), she to is re-evaluating and it in her right to do so, but she is putting Family first. As for me, I currently have a work Environment that is flexible, I walk our the door at when I Need to, no one asking me why - they know I have a newborn. Of course, I'll say why I'm leaving to some member of my Team, i.e vaccine shots, or fever, etc. I Show up when I Need to in the morning (mainly delayed as his mom and I are still learning to establish Routine), and work from home as needed and no body really asks. I can also avoid travel and my Company supports when I deem a Business Meeting in another Country as non-priority for me vs. Family Need. They acknowledge my Situation and that in itself is worth its weight in Gold. Yes other companies have approached me recenly, but I've declined, because I have no interest in building new relationship, re-establishing myself, and having to commit to travel. So take that into consideration, the reality is that Jobs will emerge again and you can take a decision later if you want.

Hope this helps, a Long post, but I tried to give you an answer while sharing my experiences.

Trusted Colleague Registered
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 56
June 13, 2016 10:24 pm  

I did this. I went on maternity leave with the full intention of coming back, although I wasn't entirely sure it would work. Then a very enticing job was advertised, I applied, and I had an offer within a few weeks. I did disclose to my new employer that I had a new baby-- I used it to negotiate my start date, because I wasn't willing to give up the three months I had planned for maternity leave, so it set back the proposed start date by a few weeks. It was no problem to my new boss-- after all, it's not like he was paying me for that time. I told my previous boss that I would be leaving as soon as I knew. On the one hand, I feel a little bad even though I knew I hadn't been intentionally deceptive about my planned return. On the other had, it was an easy transition to leave since I had already wrapped up everything I could before I went on leave. Opportunities happen when they happen.

Dave Walker
Reputable Colleague Registered
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 275
June 15, 2016 10:14 pm  

I just want to say this is a great discussion, and thanks to both DX and PACN for replying!

This feels like the classic divide between your current coworkers being "friends" or, well, "coworkers." I really want to reiterate what DX said: you are (probably? unless Canada is different?) employed at-will, and you owe your company nothing outside of your work duties. And your company owes you nothing outside of their duties as well.

I would probably be the type to tell my coworkers about a situation like this while on leave, thinking that they are my friends....and finding out that I was let go/sabotaged/etc. by my so-called friends. In this case I think it's important to think of it strictly as a job. I'm sure you wouldn't be the first employee who applied for a job while working at this company and then moved on.

"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder

Eminent Colleague Registered
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 40
June 20, 2016 7:14 am  

Thanks for all your responses. This is a great discussion. I have no conflicted feelings about leaving vs. staying. My current employer is very good and they treat me very well (fun team, friendly environment, exciting work, supportive, flexible hours, ability to work from home sometimes, overall good work-life balance) but it's a non-profit and they don't pay nearly what industry pays for the same work. Not by a long shot. The other opportunity is so much better in terms of pay and opportunities for upward promotion. It's in a biotech hub so the prospects of building a decent network is much bigger than where i am now (I pretty much know everybody here as it's a very small biotech community). I know I would be giving up a lot of positive things but I'd be a fool to pass up this opportunity. I can't lie the money factor keeps me up at night and adding a baby into the mix makes it even harder to stretch the paycheque every month.

I was unsure of how to approach the subject and how much information is appropriate to share in these cases. This helps me a lot! Thanks. I know exactly what to do now!