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Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm totally overwhelmed trying to plan my maternity leave. What exactly do I need to do?

Re: I'm totally overwhelmed trying to plan my maternity leave. What exactly do I need to do?

The Bump Expert

First, relax. You're not the first working woman to have a baby, and it's definitely not as complicated as it seems. Second, use this guide to put together a plan.

[ ] Know your rights
Read up on your company’s policies regarding pregnancy rights and maternity leave, as well as your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

[ ] Ask an expert
If possible, confer with a (trustworthy) colleague who’s been in the same situation. Ask about how her news was received, how was she treated during her pregnancy and any other info that may be helpful to you.

[ ] Devise a plan
Determine how much time you want to take off, approximately when you want your leave to start, how accessible you plan to be once you’re out, how much you plan to work during your first weeks back on the job, whether you plan on working a part-time or flexible schedule or telecommute, and who will handle your responsibilities in your absence.

[ ] Set up a meeting
Don’t break your big news as you pass your boss in the hall. Instead, make an appointment to sit down together so you’ll have plenty of time and privacy to discuss the situation and your plans. Then, formalize the arrangements you agree upon in writing (and send a copy to your human resources department) so there are no misunderstandings later on.

[ ] Be ready for surprises
Even if you think you’ve got everything planned perfectly, stuff happens. Baby could come early or late, or you could have unexpected complications. Keep this in mind as you consider when your leave will start and end.

[ ] Train your replacement
Don’t assume anyone can do your job as well as you can. Make sure to go over how to handle your clients, reports, subordinates, and any other responsibilities. Leave detailed step-by-step instructions as well as your contact info.

[ ] Set boundaries
If you don’t want to be completely out of the loop while you’re on leave, request a daily or weekly email that outlines what’s happening at work. But if you want to be contacted only in case of emergency, say so (nicely).

The Bump Editors

re: Q: Maternity Leave Logistics?

I'm thinking on not coming back, but I'm not sure how should I handle this?

degg |

re: Q: Maternity Leave Logistics?

I am in the same boat...I am not planning on coming back but don't know when I should tell my boss......

LaGambagGIRL |

re: Q: Maternity leave logistics?

I'm planning on sticking around for 3 months and then leaving. I've been asking for a promotion for nearly 1 year and have been left hanging. Now, I realize that it's not worth it and going back to school. That's how I'm telling my boss.

tqsbride |

re: Q: Maternity leave logistics?

I talked to our HR dept last week and he said if I am planning on not coming back to not say anything to him because he'll have to notify the insurance company. I've also read that if you take paid short term disability you have to return to work for at least 30 days or you could be penalized for the time you took short term and have to pay all or some of it back.

youngmomma |

re: Q: Maternity leave logistics?

I have recently learned that I do not qualify for FMLA and so my entire maternity will be unpaid. My company (school district) also does not offer short term disability. Finally, any time that I take unpaid is going to effect my seniority making me very susceptible for lay off at the end of the school year...ahhh

radebczak |

re: Q: Maternity leave logistics?

I am quitting, too. I plan to quit July 31 (due date is Aug 22). I think I'm going to tell my boss this Tuesday... I know it's a lot of heads up time, but I want them to find someone that I can train for them before I go...

ShinyHappyMe |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Clear your desk of all existing "problems". If they all can't be solved, explain them to a co-worker who can deal with them should issues arise while you are gone. Don't start any projects you can't finish before your leave. Relax. Work still goes on even when you aren't there. After you're gone a while they realize how much you are needed and look forward to your return!

hauntingqueen |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Wow. It feels good to know so many others are considering the same. :-) I would presume that how you handle it depends on your company's policies and your relationship with your supervisor. Make sure you know all your rights! I know that I have 90 days sick time and 24 days vacation, all of which I plan to take from labor on. (I have a flexible, comfortable job that will allow me to work until I go to labor. I work on a university campus adn will be delivering at the affiliated hospital across the street.) i plan on taking all my time, then giving notice that I will be leaving (mid July). This will give them enough time to find a replacement before the semester starts and it the least stressful time of year for working.

Giovanni2010 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm pretty certain that I'm going to scale back from full-time to part-time, but I'm afraid to mention this before going out on maternity leave. If I do tell them beforehand (in an effort to help them from a planning perspective), can they switch me to part-time as I enter maternity leave, which would change my benefits? I've been with the company for several years and put in a TON of overtime so I'd like to think they wouldn't do that, but I guess you never know. Just not sure if they even have the right to do so though.

pattis |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I don't know what to do either... I work for a small company (really small- 3 employees) and we have no set maternity leave policy in place. This is my 2nd pregnancy while at this company. With my 1st I had tons of complications and was taken out 6 weeks before my due date. When I told my boss that for this pregnancy, my Dr said they will take me out at 4 weeks before my due date, she said that I wasn't entitled to that because of the size of our company. She also made it very clear that she doesn't have to hold my position for me while I'm out on leave, especially if I'm out more than my original allotted 10 weeks. I live in NJ and we do get the short term disability, but now I'm worried I'll end up going from disability to unemployment! There's so much more to my story and I can go on forever about this, but it just makes me sad. So in the meantime, I'm trying to see how we can save up as much as possible in case I end up being a stay at home mom longer than anticipated. Wish me luck!

tiggadvd7 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Someone stated that they weren't eligible for FMLA and worked for a school district. I also work for a district and was informed that I would have to use my vacation, sick and personal time first. If i didn't have enough time to get me through my leave then i could take FMLA which means I wouldn't be paid; however, HR told me to check with Municipal Retirment Fund to see if they offer any benefits. Well I didn't initially because I thought they probably didn't; however, saturday I was sent a newsletter from them and I am eligible for short term disability for pregnancy. I have went to the website and printed all the necessary forms that must be completed and submitted once i go on leave so that I can this started. I already know that I do not have enough vacation, sick and personal time to get me through my whole maternity leave, I am shy about 2 weeks that's as long as I only need to take 6 weeks off. So please check into your retirment and see if they offer disability benefits for pregnancy

Quadzeet |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

What is typical time for maternity leave?

babymayer |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

A lot of people seem to take 6-8 weeks. Unless you're Canadian and apparently they get 52 weeks. I wish. hehe I have no paid maternity leave and I'm not sure how I"m going to pay for maternity since I have a husband that is disabled and only gets $852 a month in social security.

KattyKathey |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

For those who mentioned FMLA - federal law allows you to take up to 12 weeks of leave for the birth of a child. You have to be FMLA eligible, meaning you have to have worked there for at least a year, have worked a certain number of hours (it's around 1250 in the last year) and they have to have enough employees (50 employees within a 75 mile radius). FMLA is a job-protecting leave. If you qualify for it, make sure you file for it. They can make you take any paid leave you may have accrued at the start of it, but it is still FMLA during that time. This is a federal law and some states even have their own FMLA laws. It is a simple process that protects your job - they can not fire you for taking leave if you qualify.

kristin172429 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I thought about not going back after my baby is born but then I realized that I couldn't handle it. My husband and I work at the same place and get the same hours as well as the same pay so I'm not worried on that count. I just like having the extra money and I'm not the type of person who can stand being home all the time.

ChristiNatal |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

In Canada you do get 52 weeks. 50 of which you get paid at 55% or your normal pay. Its divided into two combined leaves - pregnancy leave of 17 weeks and then parental leave of 35 weeks. Either the mother or father can take parental leave and it is paid for. If you plan on not returning to work after leave (in Canada), you have to give your employer written notice at least 4 weeks prior to the date you are supposed to return. However, here your employer is legally obligated to hold your position for you until you return.

CarleyL87 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

ehh...I'm being told that I will have two new jobs when I get back from maternity leave. I get 6 weeks off. We only have 2 employees so I can't take longer. The thought of starting two new jobs right when I get back makes me so stressed. :(

Fweetie |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Correction - in Canada you get 55% of your salary (from employment insurance) but it maxes out at something around $482 per week.

klmbbb |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Anyone know what happens when you're a contract employee? I'm on a contract thru May 2012 but I'm due in Jan. I don't know what if anything I'm elligible for since I'm not on their benefits and any days off are unpaid so I'm really concerned about this. Can't exactly look for another job when I'm pregnant but I can't afford to be out of a job come the arrival of my 1st baby. I'm assuming I can collect unemployment and/or disability but I'm really unsure...

kjb03778 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm in Western Canada, we get 52 weeks but our Provincial government has now granted mat leave for 52 weeks and paternal leave for up to 38 weeks, so in total we get 90 weeks. Hubby makes thrice as much as I do though so he won't be exercising the paternal but it gives families where the mother is the primary breadwinner more options. And it is 55% but max of $482 a week, if you plan on working part time during mat leave you cannot earn more than $50/week so in my situation it wouldn't be worth it, but again it gives some people a bit of extra. I also have to give 4 weeks written notice to my employer before I plan on going on mat leave. Luckily my husband only works half of every month so it will be a bit easier on child care after my ML is done. I do plan on returning, I like my job, office and I could not leave my boss hanging, he's too awesome and I'd be leaving so much future opportunity behind!

lovelyladylump |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Thanks to all for their informative responses. I am 13 weeks pregnant and am already starting to plan my maternity leave/returning to work part-time. We live in NJ and my husband works in NY, does anyone know how much time paternal leave my husband can take? Does it depend on his company, or is there a NY state policy/FMLA policy about how much time he can take?

cindysalz |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I would like to move to Canada please. Sheesh.

bridetobe6808 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

For those of you in the state of California, you can take a combination of state disability leave, Paid Family Leave, and the remainder can be taken from FMLA. In order to take the first two you have to pay into State Disability Insurance. You can take 4 weeks before your due date (paid disability) and 12 weeks after your due date (6 state disability (for normal vaginal birth or more for C-section) + 6 paid family leave). In addition, in a normal pregnancy you can take 6 more weeks unpaid as FMLA. So, in normal pregnancy with no complications you can take a total of 22 weeks in state of CA; 16 weeks paid, 6 weeks unpaid. I hope to take it all if we can afford the unpaid leave.

sarcar25 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I am a teacher at a private school, lucky for me, my due date is two days after the last day of school, so I get my whole summer break off (2 1/2 months)!! With my daughter, I had 6 weeks off only, and it was such a pain because I missed the first 2 weeks of school!

macksmomma |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I am not sure what I want to do after the birth. I work for a non-profit so I do not get paid very much, but the health benefits are pretty good. My husband owns his own business and he can afford to have me work for him as a secretary, but we don't know how to pay for health insurance. My current job is not close to home and my husband frequently works long hours so finding a suitable daycare could be hard. BTW - I cant believe how expensive day care is! I really would like to be able to work part-time somewhere or full-time from home. I have lots of time to decide

kellyl831 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

This is our first child and we have 0 family in the area or even in bordering states. We haven't decided on whether I will quit my job or go back to work and use day care. Right now we can't see leaving or newborn in daycare. I would love to try and see if my company will let me work part time but I am afraid they will realize I am debating between part time and quitting and don't want to risk jeapordizing my job. Any suggestions on how to approach my boss or do I wait until after the baby is born and then see if they would do part time.

mmpalmer1 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

What if I work for a small hotel? Only like 10 employees all together? Do I have to tell my boss I am pregnant?

theirmommy1010 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Well I work for a small company and I was told I am not getting any maternity leave. I was planning on leaving a few weeks before I am due and thinking about not going back. But today my boss flipped the f*ck out on everyone and everything so I called my fiance told him what happened and I am thinking about quitting tmr. I am a high risk with diabetes and I do not want to jeopardize my baby's health with stress and high sugar from stupid people.

Angela Carollo |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

If you join a working moms club, I am sure that there you can get a lot of advice on how to plan your maternity leave. Think about it and tell me what you think. Good luck.

ZukiMuki |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Wow. It astounds me to hear all the worry and anxiety surrounding telling your employer that you are expecting and the fear of having zero income for the duration that you are at home taking care of your newborn. It makes me feel very priviledged and proud to be Canadian- We are alotted 52 weeks of maternity leave, and the employer is legally entitled to hold your position until you return. Gotta love Canada, eh! ;)

beachbride87 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm a contract employee also... I don't know what i'm entitled to, but i'd like to know before i tell them i'm pregnant... if they haven't figured it out already!! Anybody know the laws for temp agencies??

cheshirekaatttt |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Indeed, first thing you should do is to make some thorough inquiries along the legislative base for maternity leaving conditions and legal rights. Afterwards, do all the paperwork and discuss it to your hiring manager. If you want to pursue your career in healthcare even after going home on maternity leave, you shouldn`t worry because there are plenty of opportunities to keep in touch with tutors and mentors and update your know-how with brand new information.

conquerer |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

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atyu2020 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

This is really a tough discussion. I am early in my pregnancy, and all of these questions are bouncing around in my brain. But I have to remind myself that women have been doing this for many years, but more importantly, it is a wonderful thing to be expecting, and if your company treats you poorly for becoming a parent, they are in the wrong. I am not a proponent of stepping away from your responsibilities, but we must hold employers to higher standards. If you are such a valuable part of their company that they can't live without you, then they should be treating you in a way that will make you want to return after or having your child. My two cents. Holly

hollyhastobe |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

These comments are really helpful -- I've been so confused about my maternity leave situation! Every site i visit tells me something different, including sites for my state. :( Even my employee handbook is confusing; it says I can take up to 6 weeks unpaid leave, but then says I have to use my PTO first....so wouldn't that make it paid leave? I'm trying to figure it all out before reaching out to our HR, as I want to be fully informed of my rights before i have that conversation.

Schmancypants |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I am working as a temp position, they are trying to hire me full time. What should I do? When should i tell them I am pregnant?

tray017 |