Planning Your Maternity Leave
So you've fallen pregnant, you're working and you're a little nervous about how you are going to break the news to your employer. Planning your maternity leave is not something to take lightly as it can affect your workplace dependant on the role that you play within your working environment. Being prepared for every response imaginable is probably the best way to go as you can never be sure as to what your employer may feel about you needing to take maternity leave.
Of course people could not exist without us [women] as women are the ones that bear the children. However sometimes people forget that and can get a little weird when time off is required for pregnancy.
So it won't hurt to approach this with some caution.
Most companies have established maternity leave policies already. If you are at all concerned about the policy then prepare a list of questions relating to the policy. Some questions may relate to things such as length of leave allowed, appropriate notification procedure, rate of pay etc.
Arrange a time to talk with your Human Resource or Personnel Manager (if not these, then your manager/director) to discuss any concerns and to receive answers to your questions.
Make sure you think through your options carefully. You may feel one way at a particular point and then change your mind at a later stage, so try to think about all options available to you.A couple of tips:
Telling Your Boss You're Pregnant
- It's probably best to ask for more time than you think you'll need. Best to play is safer as you will be tired and often women find that after they have given birth, they do want more time.
- If you can, keep your leaving date open. It is not uncommon to deliver earlier or later by two weeks.
- Try and think of any problems that may arise while you are on leave, before you go. This will show your employer you are doing all you can to make this smooth sailing.
- Make sure you document all of your conversations and meetings with your employer/manager. Relying on your memory at what can be a very emotional time, is not the best idea.
It's very important that you and your boss are "in the same mind space" when it comes to how your pregnancy may affect your work, your workplace and colleagues and business in general. Chances are nothing will go wrong and everything will run smoothly. But, it's a manager's job to think with the business and results in mind, so he/she will most probably have some concerns and questions.Some important points to remember when sharing your good news:
- Make sure you tell your boss first. If you don't get in with the news first, your manager may not be as positive about it as you would hope they'd be.
- Appear optimistic and full of answers. If you are confident about this being a smooth transition and have tried to do a little problem solving first, this will help to alleviate any concerns and will show you have considered all parties and how the business may be affected.
- Whatever you do wait for a good moment. Sometimes in a high-paced environment it can seem there is never a good time, however avoid (if you can) choosing a hectic time. Also a good idea is to wait until after your first trimester as your risk of miscarriage is much lower.
- Make a time to discuss the finer details at another time and make sure it is a scheduled appointment.
Once everyone knows you are pregnant and you have agreed on your maternity leave, try to enjoy your time left at work. Don't overwork yourself in the attempt to do as much as you can before you leave as this could harm your health making your return to work delayed, however make sure you get your day to day work done. Make sure all the agreement terms you have come to with your employer are documented and try to remain flexible, co-operative and maintain your professional appearance even with your changing body-shape.
Remember, if you feel you're being treated unfairly or discriminated against, make sure you get some legal advice to find out your rights. In most cases these days, things will go well and you should be able to relax and enjoy being pregnant.- Michelle Palmer