Is it true that once you have been out of your field for 6+ months, your value goes down, salary-wise?
It depends. HR is a very complex and robust field. Salary determinations are based on experiences and the level of position being sought. Salary is not necessarily based on an accounting of your time in and out of the profession, although experience and time on the job are related. The longer you are out of the profession, the more catching up you may need to do.
If you needed a break or wanted to try something new and are now interested in returning to the filed, do a little homework first. If you are interviewing with me, I will be looking for skills and experiences. Tell me why you left, what you did to stay current in HR while you were gone and how your experiences will make you a better HR professional. Did you learn something about business, coaching, consulting, software systems, data bases? How about customer service, organization, communication? These skills add value, tell me about them.
As you venture and explore opportunities, stay current through membership in the Society for Human Resource Management or a local chapter. The magazines, on-line articles and educational opportunities will keep you up to date on the most recent legislative proposals and ideas in the field. When you are ready, consider obtaining your HR certification.
The best HR professionals are well rounded (and well rested).