What is the financial cost of maternity leave?

The cost of losing an employee can be calculated using factors such as:

  • The length of time it takes to fill the vacancy (which can result in a vacancy gap)

  • Liaison with recruitment agencies/direct advertising and the associated time/admin 

  • Time that other people in the team need to take up the slack in the event the post is vacant and when someone is new and learning the ropes

  • The number of days/hours it takes for a new employee to get up to speed

  • The induction and administration associated with a new starter

  • The time spent on the process of hiring; screening CVs and interviewing etc

And more difficult to measure is the loss of knowledge. 

You may have a recruitment fee for the person coming in to cover for the employee going on maternity leave and a period of handover, resulting in a double salary bill for that period.  All in all it’s a costly business. 

What is even more costly is if your employee, who has gone to have the baby decides not to return. 


  • The maternity cover may be working on an interim basis and decides to leave

  • You may need to recruit again at further cost

  • All the history and knowledge of the person on maternity leave has been lost

  • You are right back to square one