How To: Negotiate maternity leave

Negotiate maternity leave

If you work for a company you are probably entitled to maternity leave. Gather as much info as possible and then have an honest conversation with your employers. With tact and civility should be able to have time to recover with your baby and keep your job too.

Don't wait until you're showing to hammer out an acceptable leave of absence. Taking the lead will put you in a better bargaining position.

You Will Need

* Time to think
* Maternity leave proposal

Step 1: Know your legal rights

Know your rights. If you have worked for your company for one year, have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and the firm has at least 50 employees, federal law entitles you to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. A few states offer paid leave, so check your local laws.

Step 2: Know your company's policy

Know your company's policy. Some firms – especially large ones – offer paid maternity leave packages.

Step 3: Decide what you want

Know what you want before approaching your boss. Do you plan to take a few weeks, or a few months? Do you want to return to the same job, or request a new position that offers more flexibility? Can you use your vacation days so that part of the leave is paid?

Step 4: Have a plan

Before speaking to your employer, formulate a plan that works for both you and the company. Be ready with solutions as to how your responsibilities will be covered while you're gone. Flesh out as many details and options as possible.

Step 5: Inform the company in a timely manner

Inform the company in a timely manner. The news is apt to be better received if you tell them before they've guessed it.

Emphasize the company's needs, not yours, when you're explaining your maternity leave plan.

Step 6: Leave on a good note

If you change your mind about returning to work after your maternity leave, offer to go in for a few weeks to tie up loose ends so you leave the company on a good note.

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