Human-resources expert Johnny C. Taylor Jr. recently responded to concerns from an employee who worried about asking her employer for time off and support following a difficult miscarriage.
No matter the stage of pregnancy, having a miscarriage is devastating for a mother to be. While a woman may not “look sick” or be in physical pain for a period of time following a miscarriage, the emotional burden of losing an unborn child is immense. Because of the stigma following mental health concerns, however, many women don’t feel comfortable speaking with their employer about taking time off after a miscarriage.
In a question and answer session for USA TODAY, Taylor responded to an anonymous user wondering how she could ask her company for support following her miscarriage without harming her current employment situation.
Taylor, the president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, recommends speaking with one’s supervisor one-on-one in a private setting to broach the subject. He notes that managers and employees in HR should be trained to handle these situations in a sensitive way and help grieving women work through their loss and find a solution that will benefit both the employee and the company, in general.
While Taylor notes the fact that employees should be allowed time off to grieve their loss, heal their bodies, and get back to a normal mental state, he also notes that it is important to consider the concerns that an organization would have when asking for time off or time to work from home. Managers and HR leaders may be concerned about how tasks will be completed while an employee is gone, but their ultimate concern should be the employee and their mental well-being. After all, it is virtually impossible for an employee to do their best job while their thoughts are clouded following a miscarriage.
Finally, Taylor mentions that those asking for time off should have a plan for recovery to tell their employer before leaving. He states that these plans should contain information about seeking counseling, and a statement about how the time away will actually be beneficial in the long run. Ultimately, women should not be afraid to ask for time off after suffering a miscarriage. Employers will likely be understanding, as long as a solid HR system is in place.