You’re expecting! Congrats, mama/papa! If you’re a working parent-to-be you’ll be taking some time off after the arrival of your new child. Here are 5 things to do before you go on maternity or paternity leave.
1- Review your employer’s family leave policy and any additional benefits
If you are actively working the first thing you’ll want to check is your employee handbook to read about what their family leave policy is. You’ll find policies vary by company with some paying you your full salary during your entire leave and some paying you none. There also may be qualifying factors in how much you get paid during your leave and for how long. You’ll want to be familiar with your policy for any upcoming conversation with your employer. But you’ll also want this information so you know how much money will be coming in while you’re not working.
Depending on your company and your elections, you may also have disability insurance which will provide you with benefits during your leave.
2- Look into federal and state disability benefits
You’ll find that in the United States, maternity/paternity and family leave benefits differ greatly. Do your research and make sure you know the ins and outs of your particular state. There are great resources available online so whether you’re looking for California Maternity Leave 2017 information or information on the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act you should be able to find what you’re looking for.
3 – Create a maternity leave budget
Babies cost money. A LOT of money. You’ll want to factor in both the cost of the labor and delivery as well as the cost of not having your normal paychecks coming in. Now that you know what compensation you should expect from your employer, the federal government, and your state, you can create a budget for when you’re on leave.
If this is your first child, you’ll want to do a lot of research on the costs of diapers, wipes, formula or pumping supplies. There are also unexpected costs, like doctors visits or convenience meals for a tired mom and dad. Don’t forget any clothes you may be buying as your kid gets older or needs special event clothes. Make sure to pad your budget if you’re unsure of what to allocate.
4- Notify your employer about your upcoming leave. Prepare to negotiate!
Now that you know your benefits, it’s time to notify your manager. Depending on what you’re entitled to, you’ll want to come to this discussion with all the facts. You’ll want to notify your manager and work out all the details with your HR department. They’ll provide you with the necessary information and forms to fill out.
At this point you’ll also want to come to the table with your leave plan. You may want to negotiate more time off with your little one, so have facts available and be prepared to negotiate for what you want.
5 – Keep an ongoing log of where you are with all of your work projects
With a good plan, you’ll feel better about leaving and so will your employer. This is especially true if you plan on returning. I recommend starting to keep track of your projects about 5 months prior to your due date. As any pregnant woman knows, expect the unexpected and you want to be prepared in case you have to start your leave earlier than planned. Every month update the status of your responsibilities or projects. When you get nearer to your due date, start updating every week. This will ensure that once you are ready to go out on leave you have an update ready to send your boss.
Good luck with your leave preparation and enjoy this special time as you prepare for your new baby!