Providing maternity leave in your landscaping business
Yesterday we talked about why many smaller landscaping companies may not be able to offer their employees maternity, paternity or parental leave. Today, let’s take a look at why these types of vacations could make your company a target employer and create a more welcoming and desirable work environment.
Treatment in the workplace
Jennifer Lemcke, CEO at Weed Man, is grateful to say that she has never personally seen or heard from a Weed Man employee who was scrutinized after returning to work because of her pregnancy, but she knows this is all too true Reality for other women.
Lemcke says she couldn’t imagine not hiring a qualified employee just because they were planning to start a family. In her opinion, choosing to hire younger employees is only part of the business.
“If you hire Millennials or Gen Zers, it’s a natural progression for them to go,” she says. “Would I give up your energy, your talent and what you bring? Absolutely not. I would do it all day knowing this is going to happen. “
Given that more women are leading companies these days, Lemcke can take a look at the younger workforce and advocate for women who are young in the industry. She says she fully understands her desire to have a successful career and raise a family.
“What brings women into a leadership role has a lot to do with empathy,” she says. “It just makes so much sense to me.”
Taylor Sounders, landscape architect / sales rep at Pickel Landscape Group, says her boss gave her the green light to take her baby to work if necessary.
“My boss also installs doors in my office so I can pump when I get back and not have to worry about getting out to go somewhere,” says Sounders. “I can just close the blinds and the door to my office and go back to work.”
Jan Zepeda says she wasn’t necessarily treated badly after she got back to work, but she said she had to go to her car during the day to pump instead of being somewhere to go.
She also says she bought a mini fridge and placed it in an area of the office so she could keep breast milk cold. All in all, it was an unpleasant conversation to address this request to your boss.
When it came to spa visits or unexpected doctor visits, Zepeda said an employer understood and would allow her to come and catch up later in the day. At her other employer, however, she had to use her sick leave and vacation days to cover this time outside of work, which completely exhausted her vacation time.
After announcing her pregnancy, Heidi Clark said the working atmosphere was not particularly welcoming as she felt “at work that she had been punished for having a child.”
“I was ready for a promotion and have now been passed since telling them I was pregnant,” says Clark. “I told them that I love my job, that I was serious about taking on more responsibility, and that having a child won’t change that. Many successful business women have babies every day. ”
There has been an industry-wide push in the past few years to get more women into the green industry, but Lemcke says if that’s your focus as a company, you need to be ready to make the changes necessary to meet their needs.
“If you want a career opportunity in your travel destination, you have to start thinking that way and you have to be innovative,” she says. “If you can’t get people in the door, will you just sit and complain about it? You have to adapt and be innovative. “
According to Zepeda, companies need to be flexible about spa visits because you can’t predict when a child will need to see a doctor.
“You might allow this employee to be late, but give them time to catch up on the weekend or in the evening,” she says. “It would also be nice to have a room where women could pump and have a refrigerator to store breast milk without having to buy their own or go to their car.”
Zepeda adds that she has also seen some smaller companies offering on-site childcare so parents can bring their child to work and not have to worry about finding an off-site daycare.
Zepeda says change is possible, but action is being taken. Meeting with managers and owners to set guidelines with HR is important and can make your business more attractive in the long run.
“Employers have to be willing to come together and hear the thoughts of the workers,” she says. “You have to be willing to take action and make the space better, more welcoming, and more accommodating.”
Clark agrees that creating plans for an effective and orderly start-up of a corporate maternity / paternity leave program should be a top priority.
When asked what could be done to shed more light on this issue and effectively communicate to businesses that maternity leave is vital, Sounders believes that women must continue to stand up for themselves and other women.
“Ask the men if they really want to go through this process and be back to work in a week.” She says. “Especially for mothers with complicated births or caesarean sections? Breastfeeding also takes time to get used to a rhythm, and it’s all a lot of work. “
She also recommends meeting with supervisors to discuss written plans on how you can work together to find out the details of your absence in advance.
According to Lemcke, if things are to change in the industry, companies have to be innovative and ready to employ workers of childbearing age and in raising children.
“The people who just sit and do nothing and prefer to talk about not being able to do something are outdone by people who are innovative and do things,” she says. “For people who say they want to hire more women in their company, these are the topics they need to be willing to talk about because this is all part of doing business.”
To read part one, click here.