Why maternity returners don't go back to work. They go forward.
1st July 2021 //
Having recently returned to work after maternity leave, I’ve found the phrase 'going back to work' to be misleading and I believe the same can be said when using the phrase for other types of long-term absence. It suggests the employee is going back to the same job (not always the case), in the same environment (often not the case - especially at the moment), and in the same personal circumstances as before (rarely the case).
Going 'back' is not the right way to look at it. Then again, it isn't starting afresh either. Returners want to re-enter the workplace with the same level of goodwill and respect they held when they left.
So why is it important how we see a return to work? And how can employers better support employees on their return after long periods of absence?