New Mom-to-Be? What You Need to Know About Taking Maternity Leave

It’s time to start planning for the arrival of your baby. You’re decorating the nursery, gathering diapers, clothes and other essentials and making sure you have a plan in place for getting to the hospital. One of the things that you want to do before the baby arrives is complete the proper steps for your maternity leave. Some companies will include a few weeks before the baby arrives while others are a bit stricter and will only start your leave once you have the baby. Talk to the company about the length of time before your plans begin.

Get It in Writing

Most companies require that you request your maternity leave in writing. You usually must put in a request 30 days before the time you plan to take off. Keep all documents that you sign and that are filed with the company just in case your employer tries to claim that you never requested the time. Talk to your human resource manager at work to make sure you will be given the allotted time off.

Be Prepared

Sometimes, emergencies can occur. You might need to take your maternity leave sooner than expected because of being put on bed rest. If your baby exhibits fetal distress, then you might need to stay home longer than the allotted time given. If you experience any issues with your baby because of a misdiagnosis by the doctor that puts your baby in harm’s way, talk to an attorney who can help with compensation.

Find Out What You Can Receive

Some employers only offer the minimum time for maternity leave. You need to consider what your state offers as there are some that will allow you to take as long as 12 weeks off work for maternity leave. You could still receive insurance benefits, and your partner could also take maternity leave. These options allow for more time with your baby. Federal laws typically require employers to offer 12 weeks, but it doesn’t always mean that you’re going to get paid, so you need to plan for living on one income.

Make a Budget

Before taking your maternity leave, make a budget for everything from food to your car payment. You’re only going to have one income compared to two. Enlist the assistance of family and friends for meals and chores around the house. Consider finding a job that you can do from home or online for a short time to bring in extra money until you go back to work.

Maternity leave can sometimes be a challenge. Let your employer know that you’re going to request time off when you find out you’re pregnant. Understand your rights because you deserve to be able to spend time with your baby and family without added stress from work.