How to Negotiate Your Maternity Leave at a Small Company

pregnant woman talking on the phone

Negotiation means finding a solution that benefits both parties; you and the company. It is a mutual agreement that gets both you and your boss what you want. You can negotiate your maternity leave and request as long as you think you need. The only problem is that there are some serious differences in the maternity leave policies from company to company.

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), gives workers the right to take up to 12 weeks (average of three months) off. But, this law only covers companies that employ 50 or more people and employees who have been on the payroll for at least a year. Small businesses with 15 or more employees may be entitled to leave, but it will be shorter, and also depend on where you live.

So what can you do when you work for a small company? Find out how you can make the most of your leave.

1. Get to Know Your Rights

Before you go and talk to your boss, you need to do your research. Get to know what maternity leave you are entitled to by law and then find out what your companies policy is. If it helps, you can ask other women in your company or mothers that have been on maternity leave and get advice on how to negotiate yours. Some companies may not give you the days off you need – whether paid or not – but it’s always a good idea to know your rights and what you are getting into.

2. Ask for as Much Leave as Possible

pregnant woman talking with peers

Most mothers find that they go back to work sooner than they need and wish they had spent more time at home with their baby. For this reason, many suggest that you take as much leave as possible provided that you can afford it, and your boss allows you to do so.

You could ask for four or even six months of leave. But, you should be aware that few employers are willing to spend money on hiring another person to cover you when you are on leave. As such they expect you to come back as soon as you feel ready or when they suggest.

No matter what, it’s worth asking for as much leave as possible because this will give you the time to prepare for this change in your life and take care of things before you return to work

3. Make Things Easier For You

The transition from work to home and then home to work can be tough, but there are some ways to make it easier. Instead of working the full eight hours at work, you can ask your boss to be more flexible with your work schedule for a few weeks to help you get back on track. This will allow you to return slowly to where you were and find your pace at work as well as take care things outside of work. If you want to negotiate for more leave, you also may be allowed to use sick, personal and vacation days.

4. Show That You Care About the Companies Needs

colleagues talking

If you want your maternity leave negotiation to work, you should show that you aren’t only interested in your own needs but also your boss’s. Come up with a plan that explains what you are planning to do before your leave, what can be done by other employees when you are away, and to hire someone on a temporary basis to cover the needs of the company. This will show your boss that you have already thought things through and that you don't only think of yourself. It will also make it harder for your boss to refuse.

The good about with negotiating your maternity leave is that nothing is set in stone, and you can ask your boss for extra time. In the meantime offer to stay in touch or help out in any way.

So what are you planning to do for your maternity leave? Let me know in the comments section below…




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