BookmarkBookmarkTick

Checklist: Maternity Leave

Get you and your job in order before checking out for three months.
ByPaula Kashtan
Updated
March 2, 2017
Hero Image

Stressed out about maternity leave? Use this guide to plan and prepare for your time away.

[ ] Know your rights
Read up on your company’s policies regarding pregnancy rights and maternity leave, as well as your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act(FMLA). 

[ ] Ask an expert
If possible, confer with a (trustworthy) colleague who’s been in the same situation. Ask about how her news was received, how was she treated during her pregnancy and any other info that may be helpful to you.

[ ] Devise a plan
Determine how much time you want to take off, approximately when you want your leave to start, how accessible you plan to be once you’re out, how much you plan to work during your first weeks back on the job, whether you plan on working a part-time or flexible schedule or telecommute, and who will handle your responsibilities in your absence.

[ ] Set up a meeting
Don’t break your big news as you pass your boss in the hall. Instead, make an appointment to sit down together so you’ll have plenty of time and privacy to discuss the situation and your plans. Then, formalize the arrangements you agree upon in writing (and send a copy to your human resources department) so there are no misunderstandings later on.

[ ] Be ready for surprises
Even if you think you’ve got everything planned perfectly, stuff happens. Baby could come early or late, or you could have unexpected complications. Keep this in mind as you consider when your leave will start and end.

[ ] Train your replacement
Don’t assume anyone can do your job as well as you can. Make sure to go over how to handle your clients, reports, subordinates, and any other responsibilities. Leave detailed step-by-step instructions as well as your contact info.

[ ] Set boundaries
If you don’t want to be completely out of the loop while you’re on leave, request a daily or weekly email that outlines what’s happening at work. But if you want to be contacted only in case of emergency, say so (nicely).

Related Video
meghan mccain from the view advocates for paid maternity leave in the U.S.

Meghan McCain Speaks Out Around the Need for Better Maternity Leave

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
01/05/2021
meghan markle with prince harry is not making any more public appearances

The Next Time We See Meghan Markle May Be When the Royal Baby Arrives

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
03/15/2019
pregnant woman sitting on couch using tablet

Manager Fires Pregnant Woman Because of Upcoming Maternity Leave

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
08/27/2018
skin to skin contact with mom and her newborn baby

Massachusetts Now Has the Most Generous Paid Family Leave in the US

profile picture of Laurie Ulster
Laurie Ulster
Contributing Writer
Published
07/03/2018
prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern gives birth

New Zealand PM Is Second Leader in History to Give Birth While in Office

profile picture of Laurie Ulster
Laurie Ulster
Contributing Writer
Published
06/22/2018
Pregnant woman at work with tablet

Why Maternity Leave Should Be a 3-Part Plan

profile picture of Georgene Huang and Romy Newman
Georgene Huang and Romy Newman
Fairygodboss Cofounders
Published
05/08/2017
Article removed.