SolveYourProblem Article Series: Pregnancy
Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know



Maternity Leave:
Telling Your Boss and Co-Workers

Before getting pregnant you might want to know what your laws are for maternity leave and the policy your work has. This way you will know if and how much you will get for pay during the postpartum weeks. If you are not sure, ask the human resource department to see the companyís handbook and policies. Many places require one year of employment to qualify for payment during maternity leave. Sometimes there is a grace period prior to payment. You can use your vacation pay during that time if you have any. If you plan on staying out longer than the allotted time, expect to not get paid for that time. Dads have right parental leave as well, so make sure that is looked into that, too.

For many people, wondering what life will be like after a baby has arrived is complicated. Juggling work, daycare, spending time with the baby, and still having time with your partner seems like a whole lot of planning. Many people find out what they planned before getting pregnant changed drastically once the baby has arrived. Make sure you know what you want before talking to your boss and co-workers. Talk to other mothers and find out what they did and what made them decide to stay home or go back and when. You need to be able to tell your boss when you plan to leave and how long you want to be out. Also let him or her know whether you will be returning full or part-time, so he or she can make arrangements to add another employee if needed. Make sure you take a look at your budget and income, for many working families, the cost of daycare was so close to one parentís income that working is not worth it.

Congratulations, you are now expecting! So now when do you tell everyone at work? Make sure you check with your doctor and the pregnancy is looking good before announcing the big news. Many people find it easier to tell people when morning sickness has kicked in or after the first trimester is over and the risk of miscarriage has dropped. Once you know around when you will be due make an appointment to speak with your boss. Let him or her know you are pregnant and bring a notice from your doctor or midwife to have on file. Writing a letter and including the doctorís note is okay too, but personal is more professional. When talking to your boss about your impending leave of absence, be sure you also mention your long-term goals. You boss should know how long to expect you gone and in what capacity you will be coming back. You boss will be more accepting to this if he or she knows how much you love your job.

Make sure that your boss knows of prenatal appointments in advance if you work Monday through Friday. Assure him or her that you will try your best to schedule before or after work but sometimes will have to leave early or come in late. Your boss cannot tell you canít go to a prenatal or any other doctorís appointment. Make sure that you give a 15-week notice of maternity leave prior to actually leaving. So count backwards from your due date and make sure you hand in a written notice of intent at that time. Your boss is not keeping track of your pregnancy, so the written notice will remind him or her that the due date is approaching.

Things to inform your boss of during notification week:

  • that you are pregnant and intend to go on maternity leave
  • that you want to receive Statutory Maternity Pay, if this implies for you
  • the planned date that you will be starting your maternity leave (which cannot be earlier than 11 weeks before your baby is due)

You employer should respond back to you in approximately 28 days. The letter should include the date your boss expects you to return after your full entitled to is over. If you have to change the dates for what ever reason, you must give a new 28-day notice if possible. Many businesses will work with you and be excited about your new baby.

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