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How to Create A Maternity Leave Plan

How to Create A Maternity Leave Plan

It may seem like one more thing to worry about but it's worth it to be prepared.

If you’re pregnant, you already have a lot of things on your mind! Be it baby proofing your home, finding a nanny or babysitter, or choosing which mommy-and-me classes are a good fit for your family. Therefore it may not be obvious why you should add a maternity leave plan to your growing list of things to do before your baby arrives. However, a maternity leave plan document can be helpful in preparing your manager and colleagues for your departure and return from maternity leave. Expert Georgene Huang of Fairygodboss shares her tips for planning your maternity leave.

Part One

To begin, your plan should include three parts: the periods before, during, and after your maternity leave and your return from leave. In part one, which covers the time before your take leave, you should begin with your expected due date and work backwards. Set a timeline that includes what projects and tasks you plan to finish before you leave.

Part Two

Next, you should outline any ongoing responsibilities that cannot be completed before you leave. In part two of your plan, it would be good for you to communicate these items with your manager and identify if one of your direct reports (or colleagues if you don’t manage anyone) can take on certain duties. Another possibility is that you may want to suggest that additional help will be temporarily needed. Delegating to direct reports while you’re on leave is terrific way to ensure your responsibilities are fulfilled while giving more junior colleagues a valuable opportunity to grow professionally. In this portion of the plan, you can also state how long you plan on being away (if you have decided that) and what, if any, work you may be doing during leave, as well as your preferred communication methods. Some women may prefer to be completely offline while others may prefer to keep in touch. Being clear about your preferences is very important and helpful to everyone around you- even if you think your plans may change.

Part Three

Now you should address your return work. If you plan on phasing back to work on a part-time or flexible-schedule basis, you should negotiate this and present this as part of your plan. If you plan on having a different schedule upon your return, It’s important to discuss this with your manager now and make this a focal point of your maternity leave plan because it may require some negotiation.

In short, a maternity leave plan should help you get organized and help you, your team, and manager navigate what can be a stressful work transition. Once your plan is approved, it should be shared with relevant co-workers, so they know what you’re doing before, during, and after your leave. Being organized can be very helpful in giving you peace of mind while on you’re on maternity leave and more mental space to focus on your newborn baby!


RELATED: Choosing an Obstetrician and Maternity Center

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