How To Successfully Return To Work After Parental Leave

In Germany, mothers and fathers have the great fortune of parental leave. After the birth of a child, both parents can take parental leave for weeks to years and then return to work. Although more and more fathers are also taking advantage of this option, it is still primarily an issue that affects mothers. In most cases, they stay at home longer than the male parent.

For anyone taking parental leave, it is important to know what their entitlements are when they return to work. In principle, there is an entitlement to an “equivalent job”. This prevents a worse position after returning to work, especially with regard to salary. It is best to start thinking about your return to work while you are still pregnant. A new start in another company or profession also needs to be well thought out, because for this you will need attractive application documents such as a resume and job references.

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Organize Your Return To Work Early

Planning is the be-all and end-all when re-entering the workforce. It is best to start organizing your return to work while you are still pregnant. This way, you have enough time to discuss working conditions and can concentrate fully on parental leave. In addition, the timing is ideal because you are still in the company. So your supervisor doesn’t yet know how things will run in the department without you.

Before the conversation regarding re-entry, you should think about what your professional future should look like. Do you want to work part-time for now? Gather suggestions on what projects you could take on and how the rest of your duties can be distributed. Always be aware of your value to the company without immediately shying away from compromises.

Don’t Compartmentalize During Parental Leave

Most mothers return to work after twelve to 24 months. That’s a long time, during which you won’t have daily contact with your colleagues and supervisor. Make sure that contact doesn’t break off during parental leave. If you show interest in the company, you will be welcomed back with open arms at the end of your parental leave. This will also make it easier for you to return to work, because you won’t be a stranger to your colleagues. Ideally, you will know what has been happening in the company and will be up to date on the latest developments. If you work in an industry that is undergoing major changes, it can help to acquire new qualifications and attend training courses during your parental leave.

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Den Wiedereinstieg nach der Elternzeit planen
Planning to return to work after parental leave.

Plan For Job Return While On Family Leave

When returning to work, it’s not just professional aspects you should consider. Of course, your family life will also change as a result of your re-entry. Your partner needs to know this, too. During parental leave, many quickly get used to the classic image of the working father and the hardworking housewife and mother. When returning to work, it must be clear to both parents that they must be equally involved in raising the child and organizing the family. A great help is a place in a daycare center, so make sure you look for one in good time. Child minders or au pairs can also help to ease the burden.

Children Are Unpredictable

No matter how well prepared you are, children are unpredictable. Especially in infancy, they need a lot of attention and also get sick quickly. Therefore, be sure to have an emergency plan in place. Do you have to go home unplanned in the afternoon? Maybe you can make up the lost hours the next day as overtime. Don’t be afraid and talk openly about this issue with colleagues and managers. That way, you can start back at work in a much more relaxed manner.

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Image source: Ae Cherayut – 1067557445 /

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