You have just found out the good news, an addition to your family is on the way! Now it’s time to plan accordingly, and that means meeting with your boss and figuring out your maternity leave. Depending on your relationship with your boss this can be an exciting announcement or somewhat scary. Stepping out of your position for twelve weeks can be intimidating. How can you prepare your team so you don’t return to a complete mess? Will the company need to hire someone to replace you? And what if that person is an all-around rock star and performs your job better than you!
Family Medical Leave Act
First things first, know your rights. Will you qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? The Family and Medical Leave Act will allow new moms or families that are adopting or fostering a child to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave while protecting their position. However you only qualify for FMLA if you have been with a company for at least a year and have worked at least 1,250 hours. The company also has to employee at least 50 employees. It is also best to find out if your company offers paid maternity leave, and if they require you to take vacation time as well. Each company and each state has different policies. My best advice is to do your homework, and if your company doesn’t have a policy, inquire with other colleagues to see what others have done in the past.
Hit by a Bus Book
It is important to prepare your team as much as possible; this will result in a smoother transition for everyone. Here at the DAVIS Companies every employee is responsible for keeping a “Hit by a Bus Book”. It is important to have this updated with any new responsibilities. It is a good idea to put together a brief job description and an outline of your day to day activities in the beginning of your book. Make sure each task is accompanied by a detailed description of how to complete your tasks. If your company is hiring someone to cover your maternity leave it is important to allow yourself sufficient time to train the individual and be sure to review your notebook with them in case they have any questions.
Staying in Touch
It is important to expect change while you are away taking care of your baby, and this can leave many new moms with anxiety. To eliminate any anxiety about changes during your absence think about setting up a quick 10 minute meeting with your boss every few weeks just to catch up. This way you won’t be overwhelmed by all the new changes and it also gives your boss a chance to ask any questions they might have while you are away.
It is important to stay as organized as possible before your anticipated leave and remember to be thankful for everyone who is going to be helping along the way.
Do you have any other tips to prepare for maternity leave? Tweet us @TheDavisCos.