What to Do When Employees Return to Work after a Perinatal Loss: A Few Best Practices

By Mélanie Gagnon and Catherine Beaudry.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 30, 2014 $US5.00

The main objective of this exploratory, empirical study of qualitative nature is to shed light on organizational practices that encourage people’s return to work after the loss of an unborn child or infant. The literature in human resources does not focus on the specific issue of perinatal loss in a context of returning to work. In fact, to examine the issue, one must turn to studies concerning the return-to-work process after other kinds of personal problems. When returning to work after the loss of an unborn child or infant, parents are often still in the early stages of the “grieving process.” However, organizations rarely support parents when they return to work. This is why our study targets key organizational practices used when employees experiencing perinatal loss return to work. In order to explore these elements, three discussion groups were held with women who lost their unborn child or infant. Content analysis enabled us to conclude the factor that appears to be more crucial to a successful return to work is the support provided by organizations through various practices, of which the most important are access to an employee assistance program, outside help, and appropriate working arrangements.

Keywords: Return to Work, Perinatal Loss, Organizational Practices, Grief and Work, Human Resource Management

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, May 2014, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 30, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 282.724KB)).

Ph.D. Mélanie Gagnon

Professor, Human Resource Management, Univerité du Québec a Rimouski, Lévis, Québec, Canada

Mélanie Gagnon holds a Ph.D. in industrial relations from Université Laval. She has been a regular professor in labour relations at the Université du Québec à Rimouski since 2004. Her research interests focus on the improvement of working conditions through collective bargaining and labour legislation and the role of organizations during the return to work of employees who have experienced problems. She is currently president of the UQAR faculty union (Syndicat des professeurs et des professeures de l’UQAR).

Ph.D. Catherine Beaudry

Professor, Human Resource Management, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Lévis, Québec, Canada

Catherine Beaudry holds a Ph.D. in industrial relations from Université Laval. She has been a regular professor in human resource management at the Université du Québec à Rimouski since 2007. Her research focuses on three large areas of study: 1) the role of organizations during the return to work of employees who have experienced problems; 2) attitudes in the workplace, such as organizational satisfaction and commitment; and 3) attractiveness and retention factors among personnel. Factors related to well-being in the workplace are thus central to her research.