Tips to Have in Mind When Asking for Maternity Leave
Are you comfortable asking for maternity leave? You should be! Bringing a child into this world is a huge responsibility for any parent. It’s important to take time away to transition, bond and make your new baby a priority. Many people find themselves hesitant to speak to their boss about needing ample time off to attend to their new child, even though there is no reason to feel that way! Just be sure to do your research, decide what you want/need and plan how you’re going to execute your maternity leave.
First things first, you have to get a clear understanding of what maternity is and what rights, policies and laws are there in your favor. Maternity leave refers to the period of time (around six weeks for vaginal delivery and eight weeks for a cesarean delivery) after the birth, during which you are medically unable to work as you recuperate. Family leave refers to the time you spend caring for your baby after recovering. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 grants all parents the same 12 weeks (it's all considered family leave for fathers and adoptive parents). You have the option to start the 12 weeks before you give birth, yet that leaves less time after your baby’s birth.
The FMLA has required conditions that must be met and the law doesn't apply to everyone in all circumstances. In order to qualify for this act, you must have been employed with your current job for at least a year or 1,250 hours of work. Another requirement to be covered by the FMLA is that your job must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. If you do not meet these requirements for the FMLA, don’t panic! There are still other options.
This is where research comes into play. Look up your company’s policies regarding maternity leave. Find out what they offer and do not offer. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60 percent of employees’ give 12 weeks of maternity leave; 33 percent of that give even more than 12 weeks; and 58 percent pay a salary or wage during some or all of the leave. Use these figures to your advantage, informing your boss that the majority of employers give at least 12 weeks of maternity leave.
Once the research is complete, take some time to think about what you want and need during your leave of absence. Do you need to be paid? Do you need time off before the delivery as well? Think about what you want and begin to strategize how you’ll negotiate the terms of your leave with your boss.
Ask people you know how they negotiated their maternity leave and what their employers agreed to. It may be good to even find someone who is employed by the same company and ask them what they received with their leave. You may find out that you can request things that you didn't even know you could request.
Once you’re ready, confidently make your request to your boss. Don’t be afraid to negotiate back and forth a bit. Be creative with what you offer your boss for more time in return. For example, consider offering your boss that you’ll complete a project from home so that you can get more time with your new baby. Try getting ahead of your work before you make a file detailing all of your daily and weekly responsibilities, so that it makes it easier for everyone once you are away. Reassure your employer that you will handle your leave with professionalism just as always. Be comfortable asking for whatever you need during this important time as your bring a new life into this world.
Coastal Human Resource Group, Inc. is a Human Resource Outsourcer (HRO). We serve as a full-service human resources department for small and medium-sized businesses which provide compliance screening as well as background checks. Visit www.Coastal-HR.com or give us a call at 251-478-7444. We’re here to help ensure that all your human resources needs are met.