Although pregnancy is an exciting time for most women, this can be the first lesson in juggling family and the workplace. Most employers are understanding of these needs, but some just don’t seem to get it.
If you plan on working after your child is born, keep these tips in mind:
Informing Your Employer
While you’re not obligated to tell your employer the second you find out you’re pregnant, it might be a good idea to let them know before you show up in maternity clothes. Depending on the company, you should either let your CEO or line manager know first.
When you give your happy news, inform them of your anticipated due date and how long you plan on taking for maternity leave. If you have a critical position, offer to train someone to fill in for you while you’re gone. You should also plan on taking a few phone calls or emails while you’re away if a problem comes up.
The Length of Maternity Leave
Although federal law, The Family and Medical Leave Act, requires most employers to give you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave when you have a child, the vast majority of companies provide four to six weeks of pay to the expectant mother.
Dad’s can also take 12 weeks of unpaid leave through the FMLA, but few employers offers paid paternity leave. Unless you occupy a key position that the company can’t do without, you’ll be able to return to your existing position or a comparable one.
When possible, you should give your employer about 30 days notice that you’ll be taking this time.
If your employer doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, try to save up sick time and vacation time so you won’t have to eat into your savings while you’re recovering from your pregnancy and taking care of an infant. To protect your rights, visit sites like Family Planning to learn everything you can about taking maternity leave.
Plan Your Return
It won’t be as simple as you think to return to work. While your job may be waiting, you have to find dependable childcare from a provider you trust before you can start working again. This could mean using a traditional daycare center, finding a small daycare provider who works from a private home, or hiring an in-home babysitter or nanny.
While a dedicated care-taker is the best option for some, many can’t afford it. Regardless of your choice, make sure the person or center is qualified and doesn’t have a ton of pending complaints.
Many mothers don’t count on how emotional it can be to return to work. While your new baby is too young to have separation anxiety, you might have a little bit of your own. After all, who could ever care for you precious little one better than you? Some new moms go back to work part-time at first to ease back into a 40-hour work-week.
While a career and a family definitely mix in the modern world, this situation adds a complex layer to starting a family. How do you juggle your job and your family obligations?