Over the last two posts we have discussed taking time under the Family Medical Leave Act for maternity leave and how to approach and inform your employer of your leave when the time comes. In this post we will finish up that conversation. Last time, we left off on the use of vacation or sick days to expand your unpaid leave time.
If it seems that you will need more time off than the 12 unpaid weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act, then you can try to create a plan with your employer by asking for more time off. If you ask for additional time such as 16 weeks, a compromise may be needed where you offer to be available from home for the last few weeks. Asking for additional time and the structure of the additional time will likely depend on the nature of your position and the culture of your company.
Before you take your maternity leave take time to organize your duties and work. Laura Kalehoff, Executive Editor or American Baby Magazine, suggests workers write a memo to the person who will be taking-on the worker's duties. She also recommends that if you are not sure when you will be returning to work do not provide specific answers when asked by co-workers. Planning when to leave is also important.
In order to maximize your leave time, Kalehoff recommends leaving within one week of your due date. A medical need may require an earlier departure, or a work preference may mean that you would like to stick around longer. When it comes time to be on maternity leave do not over-commit yourself to work obligations and set clear expectations before your departure if you intend to participate in anything work-related while gone.
Source: CBSNews, "Planning maternity leave," Laura Kalehoff, 5/6/11