More and more fathers are exercising their right to take advantage of the rights provided to them by the Family Medical Leave Act (and other similar state laws). These laws require employers who are subject to their requirements to hold jobs open while new parents care for and bond with their newborn child. Thankfully, more fathers are choosing to take weeks or even months off to bond with their child and assist in the caregiving duties. Nearly all men who do so say the experience is life-changing (in a good way)!
Just as you are beginning to get used to your new family member and enjoying spending every moment possible with him or her, the time comes when you must return to work. Suddenly those naps on the couch during the day become impossible (or at least more difficult). Additionally, the guilt begins to kick in: “how can I possibly be away from my infant?” We are here to help you ease that transition with some tips on getting back to work and back to productivity.
1) Ease into the transition
When you schedule your leave, it is prudent to provide for some transition time upon returning. Perhaps you should take a bit less time off and use what remaining time there is to work part-time or reduced shifts. Most modern employers have bought into the practice of telecommuting so long as you are getting your work done. By coming in a bit later or leaving a bit earlier for the first week or two back you will better be able to transition back to full-time work.
2) Keep your supervisor informed
Your supervisor may or may not have children of his or her own. However, he or she has likely dealt with an employee returning from maternity or paternity leave. By keeping your supervisor informed as to what is going on and why you may need to leave early (such as for a well-child check) you will be in better position to ask for things when your supervisor understands your circumstances. Also in the unlikely event that things start going badly for you, there will be documented evidence that your employer was informed that you were missing work for valid reasons.
3) Get all the rest you can
Sometimes a 20-minute nap can have you refreshed for the rest of the day. One way to manage your new lack of sleep can be to take a short rest in the car on your lunch break. Perhaps bringing lunch to work and eating at your desk so that you can go down to your car on your meal period would be a way to manage the tiredness that you are sure to encounter. Remember that no parent is superman, and you will need extra rest!
4) Keep it together
Remember that sleep deprivation is temporary. Although raising a child will be filled with stress and sleepless nights, after the first few months your “new normal” will just become “normal.” You will be able to manage your workload and work at times will feel like a break from everything going on at home. Also remember that in the event that something is going wrong at work or you feel you are being singled out or retaliated against, do not hesitate to contact the Employment Attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP at (303) 991-3075 for an analysis of your situation.