Updated at: 07-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

To whom should you address maternity leave questions? Maternity leave should be discussed with your human resources department as soon as possible. An example of how this might work is shown in the following paragraphs.

The first step in planning time off from work is to review any formal corporate papers pertaining to maternity leave or sick days you may have received.

You may also want to educate yourself with your state’s parental leave laws, which can differ from state to state. If you need to know how much leave a father or mother needs to take around the world, take a look at this post!

Next, ask your coworkers who just had children whether they would be willing to share their stories with you.

Prior to taking a vacation, you should know what papers you need to fill out. Finally, have a conversation with your superior! Inform them about your impending pregnancies and ask for their help and support during this time.

Are there any laws that guarantee me the right to take maternity leave? Does my employer have to offer it?

Federal legislation, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), provides parents the right to unpaid leave following the birth, adoption, or placement of a child in foster care. It’s a pity that not every employee is eligible for FMLA leave. With less than 50 people in your workplace, your health insurance is likely to be non-existent. For those who work for the government or large corporations, however, you are exempt from this requirement if you have put in at least 1,250 hours in the past year for your employer. If you’re covered by FMLA and follow its guidelines, your employer must provide you with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected maternity leave if you’re pregnant, giving birth, adopting a child, or giving adequate notice.

13 Questions To Ask HR About Maternity Leave

You may be entitled to paid leave as well as maternity leave in some states. Even if they’re still few and far between, there are currently laws in place in the following states: California; Connecticut; Massachusetts; New Jersey; New York; Rhode Island; and Washington, D.C. Both Oregon and Colorado will be able to do so within two years of each other.

Congress enacted a law granting 12 weeks of paid parental leave to the country’s 2.1 million federal employees in December 2019.

Unfortunately, if you’re not covered by the FMLA or state legislation, your employer has the option of denying you maternity leave. In the worst-case situation, if no maternity leave is available, you should inquire about saving up vacation, sick, and other personal time that you can use after the birth of your child. It’s a good idea to examine this early.

When should I talk to my boss about maternity leave?

An early start is preferable. Yes, it can be difficult to summon the courage to speak with one’s superiors. Still, Arianna Taboada, a specialist on maternity leave difficulties, recommends starting the conversation about your leave early in the second trimester. It’s far easier to deal with transition and coverage if you talk about needs and expectations from the beginning. In addition, when you return to work, you can set clear expectations for yourself and your coworkers,” Taboada explains.

It is required that you give your employer 30 days’ notice if you want to take leave under the FMLA. In order to prepare for your upcoming leave, speak with your manager at least 30 days in advance so that you can fill out the appropriate documentation and begin making preparations. You must give your employer sufficient notice if you need to take a leave of absence earlier than intended for reasons that are beyond of your control. Once the baby is born and everyone is stable, you should contact your employer right once if you go into labor two months early.

Are there other things I should do to prepare for maternity leave?

It’s all about doing your homework and establishing a game plan! A Drexel University professor and specialist on employment law Natalie Pedersen suggests, “Look in your employee handbook to find out the company’s policy on maternity leave. It’s important to fill out any papers your employer may want in order to take full advantage of maternity leave once you know your rights.”

Joan C. Williams, director of the Center for Worklife Law at the University of California, advises employees to offer to work with their bosses on a transition plan for their absence in order to minimize the impact it will have on the firm.

Will my maternity leave be paid?

The answer to that question is complex. New moms and fathers (sometimes) can take advantage of paid parental leave at some companies. You should check your employee handbook to see if your company provides paid leave,” says Pedersen. You may be required to use up any accrued paid leave (such as sick or vacation days) before you can take advantage of any paid maternity leave offered by your company. It’s possible that saving your paid time off in order to extend your maternity leave will be advantageous if you prepare beforehand.

If you’re fortunate enough to reside in a state that mandates some form of paid time off (see the list above), you’ll get reimbursed for a portion of your wages during this time off.

Do I have to pay taxes on my maternity leave?

Yes, almost certainly. If your employer pays you while you’re on leave, then that money is taxable, just like if you were working every day of the week instead. Disability payments paid by some employers are taxed as well. There is no obligation on you if you pay for your own disability payments.

You said something about disability leave? How does that work?

A short-term disability coverage may be included in your benefits package, so be sure to check with HR. Even if you’re covered by your job, you may still be responsible for the cost of the coverage. This policy usually has to be in place before to becoming pregnant.

If you experience pregnancy-related difficulties and are forced to miss work, your short-term disability insurance will kick in to compensate you (at least a portion of your salary, depending on the policy). Alternatively, you must have a medical cause for claiming under the plan. For some policies, the time it takes you to recuperate after giving birth is counted as a “disability,” and thus you are entitled to additional compensation.

Finding out if you have a short-term disability policy and whether you need to acquire additional insurance in order to get paid 100% of your wage while you’re on leave is the most important step in using it to pay for your maternity leave.

How about benefits? Do I need to worry about my health insurance while I’m out on maternity leave?

While you’re on leave, your employer must continue to pay for your health insurance. You must still pay your co-pay if you normally do so.

However, unlike certain state regulations, the FMLA does not mandate eligible employers to track days you’re on leave toward seniority benefits or PTO (PTO).

What if I’m adopting or using a surrogate? Am I still entitled to maternity leave?

Payed leave is something you should always double-check in your employee handbook. New parents who become parents for the first time through surrogacy, birth, or adoption are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA in order to bond with their newborn child during this time.

What if my new child isn’t an infant? Can I still get maternity leave?

Yes, employees who adopt a kid (even if it isn’t an infant) can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA and some state regulations.

Maternity Leave in Malaysia: What You Need to Know | Career Resources

Can my partner take parental leave, too?

In some cases, a person’s workplace will provide paid leave to parents regardless of gender or whether they had a baby. Employers who do not provide paid parental leave to their employees may be reimbursed under state-sponsored programs. A minimum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave can be taken by an FMLA-eligible partner.

When should I start my maternity leave?

It’s a difficult question to answer, especially if you don’t know how you’ll feel at the very end of your pregnancy in advance. You and your supervisor have to come up with a plan, says Pedersen. Some parents want to save all of their vacation time till after the birth of their child. Another option is to take time off in advance, especially if you’re towards the end of your pregnancy. If your absence is predictable, you must provide your employer at least 30 days’ notice if you are taking it under the FMLA.

If I want more time off, how can I extend my maternity leave?

Your boss will have a say in this matter. If a pregnancy or childbirth-related issue necessitates an extended maternity leave, certain companies may allow it under their short-term disability coverage. Check with your human resources department to determine if there is any possibility of extending your leave beyond what the business offers freely or is legally compelled to offer. Some employers may be relieved that you won’t be paid when business is slow, while others may be anxiously awaiting your return. It’s never a bad idea to check!

What if I take maternity leave and get fired when I’m away from work?

When an employee is on parental leave, they cannot be fired for any reason, no matter what. In contrast, this is not the case in the USA. Even so, you are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) from retaliation by your employer and from discrimination by your employer because you have taken the time off you are entitled to.

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as revised by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. If your employer isn’t supportive of your new family, you’re protected by law. On the other hand, a company can fire an employee while she is on maternity leave for reasons that have nothing to do with the leave or birth—think mass layoffs.

Williams recommends calling the Center for WorkLife Law’s national hotline if you are fired because of pregnancy or maternity leave discrimination or retaliation. Attorneys in your area who can assist you assert your rights will be referred to your case. There is a good probability that you will win in court even if you don’t have a job at this point. In federal court, plaintiffs win approximately two-thirds of family obligations discrimination lawsuits, according to Williams.

Right now I’m not sure whether I want to return to work or stay home with my baby. Should I tell my boss that upfront? What happens if I make that decision during my maternity leave?

You must strategize and “take the pulse” of what has historically transpired in your organization for pregnant women, according to Taboada’s recommendations. A safe person in your organization is someone who has been through a similar experience, therefore she suggests talking with that individual about the problem. If you are aware of what other people have gone through, you can better prepare yourself for comparable situations.

If your return to work is required in order to receive paid maternity leave, you should be aware of this prior to suggesting that you stay at home with your child. Even so, you should inform your employer of your decision to leave as soon as possible so that you and your employer can both prepare for the changeover. If you’re on paid leave as part of a corporate policy, you should also check your employee handbook to see if you’ll be reimbursed if you don’t come back. If you are taking FMLA leave, your employer may ask for reimbursement for any benefit expenses they have paid on your behalf while you are away from the workplace.

For Lisa Pierson Weinberger, an employment law specialist in California, it is important to consider what your present employer might say about you to your prospective employers. “The best way to ensure that a woman leaves on good terms is to provide as much notice as possible about her decision not to return, and to be as helpful as possible in answering concerns and assisting to transition her job to her replacement,” Weinberger says.


Will My Maternity Leave Be Paid?

There is a legal requirement that firms provide maternity leave for pregnant employees, although not all of it is paid. Ask your company about their policy to see if your leave will be paid in full or not at all.

Can I Take Additional Time Off?

Given that every company’s policy on maternity leave differs, it’s critical to enquire about possible extensions up front. In the words of Parents magazine, working with your employer to build a maternity leave plan will allow you to take more time off if necessary.

Do I Have To Use PTOs?

Find out if any additional days you want to take will be deducted from your paid time off bank while negotiating the terms of your leave. Asking ahead is often a good idea because some businesses may only grant additional days if you use your accrued time off to augment.

Do You Offer Telecommuting?

Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly popular alternative for employees at a growing number of businesses. According to Working Mother, the key to dealing with this situation is to bring it up ahead of time rather than surprise your employer when you return from maternity leave.

What Is The Longest Leave Possible?

Ask HR what the maximum amount of time you can take off without endangering your employment is if your doctor has given you a reason to suspect there may be difficulties or special needs after giving birth.

Will You Contact Me With Big News?

During your maternity leave, you want to know if there are prospects for promotion and substantial changes. Let your supervisor know that you’d like to keep in touch by email or phone while you’re out of the office. You should participate in any office events that could affect your job when you return to work, according to Parents.

How to Negotiate and Plan for Your Maternity Leave | FlexJobs

Can We Sign An Aggreement?

Consider writing a maternity leave contract to formalize your expectations for your time off during pregnancy. You and your employer have come to an agreement in which the agreed-upon terms of your time off are spelled out specifically for you.

What Are My Benefits?

Women on maternity leave may be eligible for short-term disability (STD) benefits, according to What To Expect’s website. Check with your workplace to see what STD options they have available.

How Do I Add My Baby To My Health Insurance?

Find out how to add your new baby to your health insurance if you have it via your job. Everyday Family advised that you don’t assume that your kid will be immediately added to your insurance, so you should contact with your HR before you take your leave.

Could I Transition To Flex Time?

When your kid is born, you may want to take a break from work for a while. To see if your job could be reduced to a more flexible or part-time schedule, inquire with your manager. You may not be aware of all of the possibilities available to you.

Is My Job Secure?

First, familiarize yourself with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) so you understand how the law protects you and your position at work. You are protected by law from being fired while on maternity leave, according to the FMLA.

Is There Special Paperwork?

Make sure that all of your ducks are in a row before you have a baby.

Do You Offer On-Site Child Care?

Child care is a major problem for working women. Prior to exploring other choices, find out if your work provides child care. More employers may be catching on to the trend of onsite child care, according to Working Mother magazine’s findings.

How You Get Paid During Maternity Leave

  • Is it possible for me to choose how I spend that time? A portion of the money could be used for part-time job when you return home.
  • Yes, you can save some of your vacation time for later.
  • How much of my income will I get while I’m on vacation?
  • What happens to my stock options if I take a paternity leave? Make sure your equity is not a substantial component of your remuneration (especially if it is).
  • What happens if you live in a state that offers paid parental leave? Does it take place at the same time as any employer-sponsored time off?
  • What if I’m not eligible for the whole amount of my bonus?
  • During my leave of absence, how will commissions be paid out?

How Benefits Are Handled While on Maternity Leave

  • When I’m on leave, how do I pay for my health insurance? In the event that your leave is unpaid, you may be required to mail in a check to cover the cost of your health insurance coverage. What about flexible spending account contributions?
  • If you’re covered by your employer’s life or disability insurance: Who pays for my insurance if I die?
  • Am I still entitled to benefits if I’m on leave? Employer-sponsored benefits, such as vacation time, sick leave, and sabbatical time, can all be inquired about.)
  • Please tell me how much of my pay I will get.
  • When it comes to calculating my maternity leave, will this be considered time off?

The Nitty Gritty Logistics of Maternity Leave

  • When is the deadline for submitting the FMLA form?
  • Is there a short-term disability application form?
  • When should I finalize the dates for my departure and return to work?
  • Aside from making FSA selections, what additional options are available during open enrollment for adding a dependent kid to my health insurance plan? What is the due date for this project?
  • Do you provide a Flexible Spending Account for Dependent Care? Exactly how does it function like that?
  • How can I designate my child as a beneficiary of my pension plan and the life insurance my employer provides?

Your Return to Work After Maternity Leave

  • Is it possible to work remotely or on a flexible schedule here?
  • What facilities are available for breastfeeding mothers to pump? In the appendix, you can find a checklist of items to look for (ask to see it).
  • Other advantages for new parents should I know about?