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How long should a maternity leave be?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I know I have a WHILE to figure this one out, but I think I'm going to tell my boss I'm pregnant sometime in February, and I'd like to be able to tell him how much time I'm going to need off when the baby's born.

 

This is my first pregnancy, so I'm a bit clueless.

 

I work as a barista and the baby is due in summer (a very busy coffee season!) so I was hoping to not take TOO much time off. But I don't want to wear myself out, either. It's not a very strenuous job, so I'm wondering if I could maybe ease back into it (say, 1 shift a week?) as soon as I physically can.

 

Also, any tips on "how to tell the boss" would be appreciated too. He's very, very old so I'm not sure how he's going to react! lol

post #2 of 25

I guess it really depends.  I work part time (weekends) at a spa and I'm going to take at least 4 months off (16ish weeks).  This is my 2nd and I had 16 weeks off (though paid) through my last job and it was tough enough to go back to work with a tiny 14 week old baby at home.  I'm going to do the same thing you're planning to do, ease back in with one day a week, maybe only on call for a bit, until I can figure out the whole two kid thing.

 

But I really want to be a SAHM so maybe all this will be moot.

 

I'd say bare minimum would be 6-8 weeks if you want to work up until you deliver.  Keep in mind being on your feet during a busy summer will be really hard on your body.  You might want time off before baby comes, too.

 

As for how to tell?  Hmm.  I would just say something like, "I'm pregnant and due in August!  I'll need to take some time off after the baby is born, but I plan to return." and then you can have a conversation about it.

 

Good luck!  KUP how it goes and what you decide!

post #3 of 25

I take off 8 weeks, but I work in my home so even though I will be working again, I'll still have the baby with me. I think it is a decision that has to be right for you and your family.

post #4 of 25
I took off 12 weeks with my first. I was working part time, then went back but was only going to work on Saturdays. I worked two Saturdays then decided to be a SAHM. it worked out that the week before the baby came my husband was offered a job that made alone what we were making together, so I took that as my sign and retired!
post #5 of 25

Wow Lisa, I hope that happens to me!!  When I told my boss I was pregnant she was like "ok, well you'll need to take August off then".  Umm....only a month??  I don't think so.  I'm part-time and don't get paid for time off either, but you still need more than a month.  I am planning on 8 weeks, being well aware that when the 8 weeks are up I am NOT going to want to go back yet.  But ya gotta do what ya gotta do...   Especially with you being on your feet, I would say at least 8 weeks to let your body heal.  Who knows if it will be vaginal or C section, and with a C section you need more healing time.

post #6 of 25

I'm in Canada, so our 'paid' (at up to 55% of regular wage) maternity leave is 12 months. (it's 50-65 weeks, depending on if you need/use sick leave in there too). Some employers match the balance of the salary, a friend who works for the federal government gets their salary matched to 93%, some teachers unions have negotiated 100% for the first 6wks etc.

 

I never went back to my previous employer after my last leave, and now I am self employed. I do not pay into the employment insurance system, which means I also will not be able to draw from it for my mat leave. I'm planning to take 4 or 5 mths off and resume working in the new year.

post #7 of 25

I am so lucky to be living in Canada as well with a 12 month mat leave. I cannot, CANNOT imagine leaving an 8 or 12 or 16 week old baby to go back to work. I feel for you guys.

post #8 of 25

At least 6-8 weeks for one shift a week depending on how your birth goes if you are needing to go back quickly. It could be longer to recover even though it isn't a strenuous job you can be amazed at how hard it is to be on your feet after birth. 

 

My plan to tell my director is to go in and announce the pg and then tell her my plan for how everything will work. I really won't get a maternity leave because there is no one qualified to run my program while I am gone. BUT my job is very part time, I work some from home and then do home visits and do several meetings in the clinic monthly. I'll continue the phone support from home but ask the clinic not refer moms not enrolled in my program to me for help. I won't do home visits for a while, I'll send my counselors out instead, one is due herself in August but I have two others. One meeting I won't attend for the rest of the year, the others I run so I will bring baby with me. I have a 3-4 day all day training from state in the middle of Sept I have to attend but I will just bring baby with me once again. 

post #9 of 25

I've been trying to puzzle that out, too!

And is everyone planning to work right up to the end? Or take off time before?

 

I think that if you're in one of the awesome coffee shops in town, they should be good about it, though. Good luck :)

post #10 of 25

I think I'm going to take time off before.  I was thinking I might stop working in June.  Especially if my carpal tunnel acts up again like it did last pg, I won't be much good for facials.

Can I just say again that I realllllllly want to be a SAHM and I realllllllly don't want to go back to work.  Wah.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up.  I almost hope when I go on leave, they replace me and say I can't come back so the decision is more theirs and less mine.  

post #11 of 25

Hello, this is my first baby, so I don't know how it will turn out this summer, but I just had 'the talk' with my boss last week and this is what I think.

 

I don't know what type of coffee house you work in, but if it's a corporate one, I'd call the corporate HR office first and get a sense of what is available to you. Then make your plan and present it to your boss.  When I told my boss, I had a printed out calendar with my days off on it (an the plan for how I'd like to come back part time for a while).  Even though I told her it was just a 'draft plan,' I think that having it all created helped me to get the time off I wanted without having to negotiate.

 

Also, don't forget that if you qualify for FMLA, you are entitled to 12 weeks off without pay (or using vacation if you have any) without losing your job. This website has FAQs about FMLA and tells you if you qualify: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/finalrule/NonMilitaryFAQs.pdf

 

Good luck and let us all know how it works out!

 

post #12 of 25

My first maternity leave was supposed to be 12 weeks, but turned into 2 1/2 years!  I just couldn't leave him, and fortunately my DH and I were able to financially make it happen.  Then I had a hankering to go to nursing school, so last fall I started the RN program (I did part time classes while being a SAHM to get all of my prereqs out of the way).  Now I've decided to take a break from that and work for my family's business.  After this baby comes, I plan on only taking a month or so off before returning to work one day a week.  Gradually, I'll add more time, but only as I see fit!

 

Rachel, I'd say make a general plan now, but definitely be open to change!  You never know how you're going to react when you meet your baby.  All concept of going back to work might fly right out the window.  I know it did with me!

post #13 of 25

My employer only authorizes 6 weeks. Unpaid. I am planning to work up until I deliver, and am going to try to push for 8 weeks off. I was a SAHM when my other 2 were born, so this is new territory for me. It already gives me awful anxiety to think about leaving such a tiny baby. :(

post #14 of 25

I am currently a childcare provider, working in an infant/toddler room. I just moved to a new childcare center, which happens to only have a 10% tuition discount for employees.....daycare employees aren't paid well to begin with, we can't afford to send our children to the centers where we work!!  So frustrating.  I only get 5-6 weeks maternity leave, and I am contemplating contacting a few of my friends who have just had babies to see if they'd be open to a nanny-share. I highly doubt I'd be ready to leave my first child after only 5 weeks!!!  You can't even put a child into daycare in Massachusetts until they are 2 months old....there's a disconnect there.  I always imagined being a WAHM, but my DP has been laid off for almost a year. He could have a job lined up for February, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.  Time to move to Canada!???

post #15 of 25

Any reason why you want to tell your employer so soon?

 

ETA:  Sorry to crash your DDC.  I wandered in here by mistake, I guess... 

post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 

I want to tell him before I start showing much more. I already have a little bump! lol

post #17 of 25

I have been wondering this too, although my circumstances are different.  I watch a little boy 5 days a week so when I go back to work the baby will come with me, so "going back to work" doesn't involve leaving the baby.  I am thinking of taking a month off, I figure that gives me enough time to get the majority of physical healing done and to get some systems into place for taking care of a new baby and toddler.  I qualify to take up to 6 weeks at 55% pay through the state but I feel like the sooner I can get back to work the better because it will be better for my daughter and the little guy I watch to be doing their normal routine.  

 

I figure I am taking care of my daughter anyway, adding the little boy isn't that much more work, actually makes my life easier because he and my DD play so well together for the most part.  Do you guys think I am being unrealistic?

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsNewspin View Post

I want to tell him before I start showing much more. I already have a little bump! lol


That's why I told my boss at almost 9 weeks. I was really starting to show, feeling so sick at work, and I wanted to break the news before the rumor mill started up and she heard from someone else.  I still haven't told my entire crew, only a few ppl, but I'm glad my boss knew first.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by JennaW View Post

I have been wondering this too, although my circumstances are different.  I watch a little boy 5 days a week so when I go back to work the baby will come with me, so "going back to work" doesn't involve leaving the baby.  I am thinking of taking a month off, I figure that gives me enough time to get the majority of physical healing done and to get some systems into place for taking care of a new baby and toddler.  I qualify to take up to 6 weeks at 55% pay through the state but I feel like the sooner I can get back to work the better because it will be better for my daughter and the little guy I watch to be doing their normal routine.  

 

I figure I am taking care of my daughter anyway, adding the little boy isn't that much more work, actually makes my life easier because he and my DD play so well together for the most part.  Do you guys think I am being unrealistic?


 

I think it's a good "plan" to have but keep it flexible.  You have a different situation than most being that you don't have to leave your new baby.  But healing, establishing bf'ing, etc might take some time and don't forget hormones are a totally crazy experience.  But no I don't think it's completely unrealistic.

post #19 of 25

Yeah, the couple I work for is awesome & flexible but at the same time, I feel like I owe it to them to give them a pretty solid come back date.  They are going to have to arrange child care for while I am out and it will be hard enough to find someone to only work for a month or for them to adjust their schedules for a month.  I just can't imagine calling up and saying "Sorry but I am going to need another 4 weeks off", it's not like they are a business with multiple employees, KWIM? They have been really good to me, i get paid very well, they pay me when they go on vacation and just very flexible, kind people.  Granted, I do a great job and they feel like they couldn't function without me but still, something to be said for people that treat you right, you want to treat them right back.

post #20 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JennaW View Post

Yeah, the couple I work for is awesome & flexible but at the same time, I feel like I owe it to them to give them a pretty solid come back date.  They are going to have to arrange child care for while I am out and it will be hard enough to find someone to only work for a month or for them to adjust their schedules for a month.  I just can't imagine calling up and saying "Sorry but I am going to need another 4 weeks off", it's not like they are a business with multiple employees, KWIM? They have been really good to me, i get paid very well, they pay me when they go on vacation and just very flexible, kind people.  Granted, I do a great job and they feel like they couldn't function without me but still, something to be said for people that treat you right, you want to treat them right back.


I think in your case, I'd arrange to take the full 6 weeks from the date of birth, then perhaps return 4 days a week (mon/tue, thu/fri), so you have a bit of extra down time. I nannied for a long time, and do home childcare now. I'm taking 5 months off -- however, I know that I'm going to make some changes when I come 'back to work' afterwards, so I'm going to just wrap things up with the families I'm currently working with. One of them may come back after my leave, but I'm not certain. Since you have just one child that you care for, it will be different obviously, but I know I don't want to watch the full load of the ones I have now, plus a baby. I like my baby to be able to determine their own schedule, and with my current charges, there is too much that controls my day, instead of the other way round (school busses, one that must nap at very precise times, preschool drop off).

 

I know I'd want more than a month to adjust to dealing with my son & the new baby, before adding in the work responsibilities of any sort. Plus, there's the scheduling of well infant appointments and such which are so frequent at the beginning -- I'd want to keep a week day open for that sort of thing.

 

However, my perspective is also based on the fact that if I were working for someone else (and not self-employed), I'd be getting 50-65 weeks of leave -- it's good to be Canadian :)

 

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