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Four tips for preparing for maternity leave

One of the benefits of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is that mothers who are going to give birth are often afforded up to 12 weeks off to recover from the process and bond with their child. While federal law doesn't require that the leave be paid, many mothers use accrued PTO to help fund it, and California offers additional leave and pay protections. In some cases, certain types of insurance might also help cover maternity leave.

One of the first steps you should take in preparing for maternity leave is understand your coverage and your pay situation. Speak to your human resource representative to understand what pay you will receive so you can appropriately budget for any time off. If you believe you are being denied pay owed to you or you are not being allowed your complete leave under FMLA, you might want to involve an employment law professional.

Once you understand pay during your leave, take some time to ensure your work will be handled while you are gone. Work with a supervisor to ensure work is moved from you appropriately, and if you are the supervisor, make sure you delegate all important tasks and train other staff in advance of your departure.

Talk to your employer about any flexibility options that might let everyone meet their goals. If, after a few weeks, you feel you will be able to perform some of your work from home while you enjoy your baby, your employer might be willing to create a part-time work situation.

Finally, always have a secondary plan, especially as you get closer to your due date. You never know when complications could arise or when a baby will simply decide to arrive early.

Source: WebMD, "Getting Ready for Maternity Leave," accessed June 24, 2016

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