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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?

I have let my boss know as it is the right thing to do that I plan to leave following any rules I must play by so as not to loose out with my company. I have sent off paperwork to my doctor to begin my leave at 36 weeks and to return 6-8 weeks after baby is born. After that I plan to work 2weeks - 1 month before hitting it!

WildHorseFeathers |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I also plan on not coming back but i don't know how to mention it to my Boss. I think he may have a clue. I'm not a permanent employee and i don't have benefits so even if i did come back i don't think i'll qualify for disability anyways.

CyndiM |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Talk to your human resource representative at work and they will give you a packet information on everything you need to do including the steps to take before and after maternity leave!

lilcutie0529 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I am struggling with this too... I am envious of my friends that get to take 12 weeks off PAID by their company. My maternity leave policy only gives you 6 weeks paid, and the rest is up to your personal/vacation time. I don't know what I am going to do yet. Day Care scares me... and so does getting a babysitter I can trust. I may just wait and see how I feel when baby gets here...

Jennypreggers |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

After I had my first daughter, I returned to work when she was 10 weeks old (I had taken 2 weeks prior to her birth off as well), and made it all of 3 weeks on a full time schedule before cutting my hours to 24/week (one day is Saturday which my DH has off.) That was she away from us for 2 days a week. After I have my next daughter- I'm considering leaving completely as day care costs for those two days may be a bit excessive with my two year old and the new baby.

sthomas1184 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm staying at work. I haven't decided when I'm leaving for maternity yet. I've been feeling really well so far, and so I'm planning on leaving at my due date. I get 6 weeks paid, 6 weeks unpaid off. My husband makes triple what I make, and he can pick up an OT shift to make up for me not getting paid (Which makes me sick by the way lol). Then when I come back, my dad has retired and volunteered to watch the baby, and my sister-in-law wants to watch the baby once or twice a week. Looks good on paper, we'll see how it goes in the real life senario!

bari516 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm going back. Mine is only a part-time job, and the pay isn't that great, but my benefits are fantastic. Plus, I'll have my insurance kick in 9 months from now, and I can get baby insured in 16 months; my husband is self employed, does what he loves, works part time, and makes great money, but NO benefits. Great thing is, hubby will be home during the 4.5 hrs that I'll be at work (I'll be back well before he goes to work), so we'll have no daycare expenses! =D So I've got a decent little set up here:)

irisheyednut |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

i am at a small doctors office (there are only 4 of us) my boss already told me that my job would be waiting on me when i got back but im not sure if i want to go back. i'm only 11 weeks so i have time to plan it but its my first child and i dont want to miss anything like my parents or my husbands parents did with us. i really want to be there but i really do love my job. but my hours arent easy to work with when it comes to daycare either (both of us work 11am-9pm) i really just would like some advice... im not sure what to do.

AEHall51411 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm planning on taking 8 weeks I haven't decided when I'm actually going out im due February 20th so I may go out on or before my due date. My boyfriends step mom is retired so she has offered to watch the baby plus my sister lives with me and has also offered! I work in HR so I have a meeting with my benefits. Department this week we will see....

AllyKatt29 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I went back to work when my daughter was 10 weeks old and I put her in daycare. With my second child, I'll be doing the same thing. While I truly enjoy spending time with my daughter, adult interaction is very important to me. I've already told my boss my long term plans and I douibt that they will change. I'll take no more than 10 weeks off (I'm going to schedule an induction so that I can have everything planned out) and will return full time. I have some help if I need it, but I prefer for my child to be in daycare so that he/she can learn how to socialze. My oldest daughter will start public Pre-K and will no longer be attending daycare.

JStatler |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I have been at my workplace since august, and I just got a promotion last month. My husband and I think its best for me to leave altogether. How am I supposed to tell them since I just got a promotion and finished training and then found out I'm pregnant? I feel horrible because they just trained me and I'm going to quit. I am scared to tell them because I don't know how I will be treated.

smrhodes91 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm an HR professional and have just told my VP about my pregnancy and that I'll be returning part-time (currently I'm Full-TIme), however, we've had many women choose not to come back to work. Every business handles this differently and every insurance plan has different parameters. If you have an HR office available to you, I'd suggest talking to them first. You can let them know that you have benefit questions related to your pregnancy and would like them to keep the conversation confidential. Assuming you have a trustworthy HR department, you can ask them how different scenarios would impact different pieces of your leave and benefits just to help you plan as you move forward. This way, when you approach your manager you are speaking from an informaed position. Additionally, keep in mind that a lot may change while you're on leave. While you're planning not to return to work, it's possible that your partner may lose their source of income (or have a decrease in income) during that timeframe; in which case you may actually want/need to return to work. Just food for thought as you consider whether to leave the door to return to work open in case your circumstances change.

jessikw1981 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm currently at 28 weeks and have decided that I will be coming back from leave full-time. As much as I would probably like to stay home, working is important to me. I get 16 weeks (fully paid) maternity leave and I to think adult interaction is important and socialization for my child is important. This is my second child, my first was in daycare for many years, he's 12, and I think it was great for him to be with kids all day. The expense will be what it was while we only had one in daycare so I'm not too worried about that portion of it.

sssc102409 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm only 17 weeks so I have some time to plan out my maternity leave. Other women I've talked to at work about how they were treated and the amount of time they took off scared me a little. One woman talked about being bullied into decreasing her hours. Then, she insisted that the 12 weeks we automatically get isn't enough to recover and bond with baby. It felt like she was trying to convince me that because she needed 6 months after her c-section that I'm bound to need 6 months. I know it's still early, but so far there's no reason why I wont be able to have a "routine" vaginal birth and be back to work at least part time within 12 weeks. My managers have been wonderful since I announced my pregnancy, and I'm confident that they'll continue to work with me after my baby is born.

Emu1085 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Well at my job you have to use the time that you accrued out of your sick and vacation time for maternity leave. There is no autmoatic time given and if you do not have enough time you can then use sort-term disability. I have enough time saved up to take off 10 weeks right now and by the time is baby is here, I should have about 12wks. Luckily, my job will allow me to work from home a few days a week before I return to work so I wont use all my time and I still accrue time while I am out.

coko98 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I am reading some of these posts and am very jealous. I plan on continuing to work after baby is born. I work for a small business (animal hospital) we don't have a maternity leave plan all we can use is our sick/vacation time which doesn't roll over from the previous year it(vacation) just depends on the length of time you have been there. I had been doing very well with my vacation time then we had a death in the family and I had some issues with the pregnancy-still a chance a bed rest and I am 28 weeks! Not to mention I used quite a bit os sick time due to morning sickness. I am able to get the 15 days disability. I am nervous about the length of time I will be out with no pay. The doctors in the practice are very understanding with everything going on (we are like a family in there) however I wish I could get maternity leave paid just a few weeks even.

kentblueG1983 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

After talking with other women, I'm rather surprised that they think all employers give full pay for the whole 12 weeks of maternity leave. Or any pay at all! As a chef in a restaurant we are not offered short term disability or paid leave. On top of that, we typically get 2 weeks vacation time a year and no sick time. I'm hoping my plan for maternity leave works out. Use up the vacation time and saving money to pay the bills for at least a month. Then head back to work after 5 or 6 weeks off with baby (too bad it couldn't be longer). I'm lucky that my job has a flexible schedule and that my husband works 2nd shift. Also, that my parents will babysit for a few hours each day until I get home from work. Wish me luck!

SwtMandaPanda |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I dont have an HR department (i work for a small firm). I get 6 weeks off, but my company doesn't pay me for any of it. I can file with the state for short term disability (for 6 weeks), i get a whopping $155 per week. I will go back to work full time after my 6 weeks is up.

jessicaHJ |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I did some research on my own since my HR was unaware of the maternity leave procedures, which I found was CRAZY!!! I found that I am entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA but as a government employee I can use paid leave for this duration. I plan to only take 8 weeks returning back at the beginning of the year. I'm so looking forward to this maternity leave. I've notified my supervisor and advise everyone to complete a memorandum for record with their intent with regard the number of days they intend to take.

cathayw1977 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

im a full time student and nervous my teachers wont be nice come finals (im due end of april finals are in may)

sshorsey |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

Some of you are LUCKY. I dont get Paid time off from my company i have to use whatever vacation time i acrue from now til then and use disability and FMLA or CFRA or whatever else i can get. Plus relationship with Daddy has been rocky so we arent even together so i can hardly count on him for help. i have had to move in with my brother to get away from home drama and stress.

leacoalmore |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm planning on taking 6 weeks off (that's all my company offers, UNPAID I might add). Totally jealous that some get paid leave! I do have a sneaking suspicion that our HR department is going to pull a fast one and cut my hours to part time once I return....Just a feeling.

SThiemes |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I'm also still iffy on what I will do. I'm going back tu classes in Jan, but due in Feb(I am currently 28 weeks), but my job does not give us paid leave of any kind, and our short term disability only gives us about 50% of our income. I am only part time, with insurance already taken out, so right now 50% of my weekly income would be about 50 dollars a week. Though I do not mind my current job, I feel it a waste of time to return to work or continue working after a maternity leave, but also I do not want to quit fully. I have also considered taking my weekday classes and working some weekend shifts. I just am quite torn between the two options I have because I am definitely NOT dropping out again after finally deciding to finish my degree.

srheflin91 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

It doesn't sound difficult at all. I hope I am not the exception from the rule. I was wondering if the HR consulting firms can provide some support in this matter, a pregnant working mom could use that help.

lennn |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I only get 6 weeks unpaid leave. My husband works full time but my job provides the insurance. We recently moved closer to family and his job but I have almost an hour commute now. I really don't want to go back after I have the baby but I don't know if we could make it on just his salary. We would have to do some major lifestyle changes... I only have a couple months left to figure this out!

bkran30 |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

For those of you who state you only get 6 weeks- I assume you don't live in the US? FMLA entitles you to 12 weeks unpaid leave with a guaranteed position equivalent to the or you had upon return. My company has no short term disability or paid leave. Also be sure o find out how insurance premiums are paid if your job provides health insurance for you and/or your family. I have to pay my entire premium plus add my baby so needless to say - I've had to save as much as I can to live without my income for 12 weeks and pay my full premium. Those with paid maternity leave- count your blessings! Less and less companies are offering that these days!! Good luck to everyone!

debijordan |

Q&A: Planning my maternity leave?

I am planning on taking another job when my maternity leave is up. I work in a school full time and will get everything settled before I take leave (baby is due Oct 14). I can take off until January under FMLA (not all of it paid of course) and have been offered a part time position for a new school in a different district that is finishing up construction just down the street from my house! My sister works odd hours so she is able to take care of baby on an on-call basis so working part time or per diem is no problem. The only bummer is my work supplies our healthcare benefits right now so we will either have to go on my hubby's crappy plan or me and baby will have to get MassHealth. It will work out...especially if we win the lottery! Fingers crossed! :-P

laurenmdrn16 |