Getting ready for maternity/paternity leave

Expecting a baby is a very exciting time, but it does bring additional stress. Not only do you need to get ready for the new addition to your family, you also need to prepare for maternity/paternity leave if you are a working parent. Making a plan for your maternity/paternity leave in advance is one way to ensure a seamless transition. The following are steps you can take before your leave to ensure a smooth adjustment for you—and your growing family.

Notify your manager/employer

Once you’re ready to share your exciting news with co-workers, make sure to sit down with your manager and let him or her know that you will be requesting a maternity/paternity leave. Your manager and employer can help you determine your best options for your leave. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Am I eligible for maternity/paternity leave?
  • How much leave time am I allowed to take? Who is the right person to notify regarding my expected leave?
  • What paperwork do I need to fill out?
  • Will my leave be paid or unpaid? If it’s paid, how will that work?

Know your insurance options

Many expectant mothers can depend on their short-term disability insurance to provide a weekly cash benefit to help pay for everyday expenses (such as mortgage/rent, utilities, childcare, or groceries) while they are out on maternity leave. In this case, it is important to know what short-term disability insurance you have, the policy number, and who to contact to prepare your claim in advance of your going out on leave. Find out how soon your benefits will begin and how long you are eligible to receive them. This will help determine if you need to utilize your vacation days or take additional unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time.

Create a transition plan with your manager

Just because you are not at work does not mean that the work goes away; it’s important to establish a plan with your manager to handle the work while you are out. Create a status sheet of all of the projects and tasks you are responsible for and work with your manager to determine who will fill in while you are gone. This will ensure that the work continues to get done in your absence. Having a plan in place will give you peace of mind while you are out, so you are not worried about the work getting done. It will also support your manager in your absence. Additionally, it will make your transition back to work easier.

 Having a plan in place for your leave will allow you to enjoy this exciting time in your life and to focus on what is important—your growing family. Take some time to enjoy your baby and don’t spend energy worrying about your finances or work. With a new baby, you will need every ounce of energy you have!

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