If you are working while pregnant and plan on returning to work after you have your baby, chances are you will need to plan your maternity leave.
Every company has different policies and perks for moms on leave after having a baby. Know what your rights are, learn what benefits are available and be patient. As frustrating as putting together a plan that involves what will happen with your job while you are out – remember this will help ease your return to work and keep all systems running during your leave.
Here are 10 Tips to Planning Your Maternity Leave
1. Know Your Rights and Company Policies
Talk to your Human Resource Department and find out what exactly your company’s policies are. How much paid time will you receive off? Are you eligible for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)? Some states have additional laws outside of the national FMLA regulations that may provide you even more additional benefits.
2. Think About Your Co-Workers and Employees
I’m not trying to be a people pleaser on this point, but I truly believe one trademark of a good leader is looking out for those around you. Don’t plan anything that would hinder you or your baby, but as you are making recommendations in regards to what happens during your time off – consider those around you.
3. Determine What Your Return Date Is Before Talking To Your Manager
Before jumping into the “I’ll return to work ____________” conversation, make sure you plan accordingly and make sure you’ve talked to H.R. Think about what is best for you and your family, financially, mentally and physically. From my experience, most doctors won’t release you to return to work until your 6 week follow-up appointment.
4. Stay True To Your Word
If you say you will do something, do it. Yes, with a baby it will be a challenge. But be true to your world. It will benefit you in the long run, no matter how hard staying true is.
5. Think Outside of the Box
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box in regards to what you ask for when returning from maternity leave. With my last baby, I was able to work a scenario out where I returned to work for a few weeks, then took an additional week off. It was a wonky request, but we were juggling kids off for summer and a new baby. At the end, it all worked out fine.
6. Be Clear On Your Needs
Will you need to arrive to work late after the baby arrives? Will you need a room to pump? What are your needs when you return? Address these with your manager and/or Human Resource department.
7. Cover Your Bases, Then Cover Them Again
Something will happen while you are gone. It never fails. Either you have an employee quit or a disaster erupts. Play out various scenarios in your mind and have your team prepared to react appropriately.
8. Remain Professional
If certain scenarios in regards to your asks or wants that your company is not legally obligated to are not met – roll with it. Remain professional and don’t burn bridges.
9. Keep Your Manager In the Know
Having an open line of communication with your manager is essential. Keep your manager in the know of any changes in any major details in regards to your pregnancy or return to work.
10. Put Your Maternity Leave Plan In Writing
Write your maternity leave plan down. Make sure it contains expectations in regards to your return date, what’s needed of your team or co-workers while you are out and what your needs are when you return.
What Tips Do You Have For Writing a Maternity Leave Plan?