Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: February 5, 2024 Advice

101: Managing a leave of absence

Although a comprehensive paid medical and family leave system lags in the U.S. compared to much of the developed world, Massachusetts is among a handful of states ahead of the pack, offering Paid Family and Medical Leave through a 2021 law.

Even if business owners, managers, and human resource departments enthusiastically support employees taking the time they’re due to care for themselves or others, filling the void requires careful thought and planning. Companies of all sizes should heed the words and work of experts when crafting an approach to PFML supporting both the employee and the organization.

Plan now. As soon as you’ve approved a request for a leave of absence, start talking to the employee about their responsibilities and determine what can be delegated, what can be tabled, and whether you’ll need to hire temporary help to maintain vital operations, writes Alex Sumner for job board HR Chief. Include other employees in the conversation as needed and be sure to ask the person planning a leave of absence to make time to help train others as needed.

Ask employees to stretch. A stretch role is one an employee takes on temporarily, sometimes to help fill in for an absent superior. Companies like Google have used the concept, shifting employees to higher-level roles temporarily to ensure important projects continue. An employer can decide how to manage the employee’s other work and salary during the placement. It’s not just a solution for filling needed positions. Internal mobility can benefit employees by giving them a new and thrilling challenge, revitalizing an otherwise dull work life, writes Shana Lebowitz for Thrive Global.

Take time off. If you’re a manager considering a leave of absence, think carefully about what your actions mean for your team. Even if you prefer less time away from work than the PFML law allows following surgery or the birth or adoption of a child, consider discussing your choice with the people who work for you and emphasize each employee should opt to take the amount of time that works for them. “Taking paternity leave can help you develop empathy towards women who need to step away from their jobs for an extensive period,” notes LinkedIn Director of Product Chris Hatfield.

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF