Preparing for a new baby? There are many tasks needed to get your home and life ready for your new addition. You also need to make preparations at work as well. This is true for both parents. These preparations are not only for logistical concerns but also emotional ones.
First, understand your options. Are you allowed to take FMLA for your maternity or paternity leave? What are your company’s policies for this leave (vacation time, sick time, short-term disability)? Second, know what documents you need to fill out for your company:
- What needs to be turned in and when?
- Who needs to approve documents?
- How do you need to involve HR?
- Who else do you need to have conversations with to ensure your leave is properly documented?
Third, make sure your supervisor and co-workers are aware of your tentative leave and return dates. For women who do not have a planned delivery date, it is important to remember that the leave date is subject to change. Let your co-workers know how many weeks you plan to take off.
Fourth, create a transition plan and make sure it’s in place and ready a few weeks prior to the scheduled due date. The plan should cover:
- Who is going to be covering your work while you are out?
- Have they been trained on your duties?
- If your go-to-person runs into problems, do you have helpful documents ready to assist them?
- Is your out-of-office email signature ready to go with the appropriate contact information?
Last but not least, set limits with your boss and co-workers on when you can be contacted while on leave. Decide on how you will communicate your intentions and specific timing of returning to work as your leave comes to a close.
Pregnancy as well as maternity leave can be an emotional time for many reasons. Women having a baby for the first time may be accustomed to meeting all deadlines and essentially doing it all at work. However, you may need to slow down your work a bit as your pregnancy progresses. You may not be able to give as much to your job as before – this is something that some women need to come to terms with.
While on leave, you may change your mind about whether or not you want to return to work. This can be a very emotional decision especially if you were 100% committed to returning to your job before the baby was born. It’s a complex decision for many women that involves emotions, their sense of identity tied to motherhood as well as their sense of identity tied to their career, as well as financial considerations.
As a new parent is getting ready to take a leave for the arrival of a new child, there are many considerations. There are the necessary logistical issues that can seem overwhelming in number, but are typically straight forward to complete. Then there are the emotional issues that can be unexpected, but are typically much more complex to deal with. Both of these areas are important to keep in mind as you or your partner are taking some time away from work to welcome the new addition.