Having a baby often comes with some time off from work, but the amount of time off and whether you will be paid vary from employer to employer.
This can be an added stressor for many women; however, maternity leave is often is up for negotiation. Consider negotiating maternity leave with your boss by following these steps.
Maternity leave is defined as the time a new mom takes off from work after having a baby. Most women take the time immediately following a birth to recover and tend to a new baby’s needs. Some companies will offer paid maternity leave for a period of six weeks or more, but others offer nothing.
Step 2: Determine How and Where You’ll Negotiate
Depending on the formality of your office, carefully choose the medium by which you announce your pregnancy. You may have to provide a maternity leave letter, but it’s best to have a face-to-face meeting in the office prior to handing in your letter, which may also need to be submitted to the company’s human resources department.
Step 3: Determine What You’d Like Your Maternity Leave to Look Like
Before meeting with your boss and negotiating maternity leave, figure out the number of weeks you’d like to take off from work after your baby’s birth. Check with your company’s human resources department or the employee handbook to see if your company has a policy regarding maternity leave.
Step 4: Meet With Your Manager and Present Your Maternity Leave Plan
Once in the meeting, clearly state your desired maternity leave. Then sit back and listen. Consider this conversation a starting point for discussion, and keep an open mind when it comes to your employer’s concerns or needs.
Step 5: Start Negotiating Maternity Leave
If there isn’t a firm company policy on maternity leave, ask for what you want. If your boss is agreeable, the process is over.
- You need time to transition into your new role as a mother.
- You want to have a good start at breastfeeding your baby (and that your goal is to pump when you return to work).
- You want to start a quality relationship with your baby to decrease the chance of postpartum depression and to care for the mental and physical health of yourself and your baby.
- A long maternity leave reduces infant mortality rates.