Preparing for Maternity & Paternity Leave

Pregnant woman working at computer

Preparing for a baby is a lot of work. You need to take time off from work so you can be ready. For mothers, this is a maternity leave, and for fathers, it’s a paternity leave. Since you will be leaving work for a decent amount of time, there are a few things you need to take care of before you take off from work. Below are a few things you should do so you can go on your leave in a good state of mind.


Review Your Rights

One of the first things you should do is review the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is what gives you the ability to take a job-protected leave for your child. The Act allows you to take a 12-week unpaid leave from the office so you can care for your newborn child.

In order to go on leave, you must have worked at the company for 12 months, worked for more than 1,250 hours during the past year, and the company you work for must have more than 50 employees. These laws can vary from state to state, so make sure you look into the specifics so you make sure you have met the criteria.


Talk to Your Boss

The first person you should talk to about your maternity or paternity leave is your boss or manager. Make sure you tell your boss about this in-person, and do not let him or her find out about it through social media or other means. If you want to tell others, make sure you do it privately.

Tell your boss about the plan you have for your leave so you can get approval on it. Do this proactively as soon as you can because your boss will likely see you as more of a forward-thinking employee. Expect to speak with your boss multiple times about this topic so you can work everything out before you leave.


Train Coworkers to Handle Your Responsibilities

Since you will be away from work, you need to give some of your responsibilities to your coworkers. Make a list of all the things you need to do, and try to figure out who can handle specific tasks. Give the more difficult tasks to the more experienced workers that you trust.

Some coworkers may need training on specific tasks, so make sure you devote time to that. After training, give these workers some time to work on these tasks by themselves so they can feel more confident about working on their own.


Be in Contact with Your Team

You may not be at work during your leave, but that doesn’t mean you should go completely radio silent. It can be difficult to catch up on everything that happened over the course of a few months, which is why you should try to make contact with your team occasionally while you are on your leave.

Set up a plan with your coworkers so they will know when they can give you a short briefing on what has been happening. You don’t have to call every day, but try to check in at least once a week so you can get up to speed on what has been happening at the office. This will help you stay involved with your team, even while you are away. Also, make sure your coworkers know if there are specific times they should not contact you.


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