Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the birth of their first child! Such a magical time, I was really pleased to see that both parents intend to spend time away from royal duties over the next few months. Parental leave provides opportunity for both parents to bond with their baby and support each other through this time of huge change. 
The minimum maternity leave for the UK is 2 weeks, however you can take up to 52 weeks. You can now also share up to 50 weeks of parental leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you.

As a manager you could be forgiven for feeling conflicted, knowing your all-star team member will be away from the office can be daunting. The great thing about parental leave is that you can plan it. Expectant mothers must give organisations 15 weeks’ notice so that gives you nearly four months to hire cover for the role and shared parental leave has an 8-week notice. 

According to LinkedIn’s 2017 global survey, hiring takes anywhere from a few days to four months, so, there is no time like the present when it comes to starting the resourcing process.

With that in mind, here are my top tips for hiring maternity / paternity leave cover;
  • Liaise with HR to set a timeline for the process and make sure budgets have been approved for the new hire.
  • Consider your requirements for the role – look at the year ahead in terms of projects in order to identify the skill sets required. You may not want a straight like for like replacement and may be looking for additional skillset & experience.
  • Think about hours and working arrangements – your options are greatly improved by offering flexibility or remote working.
  • Remember that for the hire of an interim you may need to pay a higher salary/day rate to attract the right immediately available talent.
  • Connect with your recruitment consultant as early as possible – a face to face meeting is always preferable.
  • Keep the expectant parent in the loop with your plans and ideally involve them in the process and aim to have a hand over of at least 2 weeks.
  • Shortlisting and interview processes need to be completed quicker than with a permanent role, freelance talent moves fast, you may lose the best candidate for the job if you don’t get them locked down.
If you have a maternity or paternity leave on the horizon, get in contact! 
Our freelance experts Natasha Price, Claire Needham will get you started and make the whole process painless.  


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