6 Tips to Help Expecting Mothers Negotiate Maternity Leave

default author image05.20.2017

If you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, you undoubtedly have a lot on your mind. For many working women, one of the biggest worries is job security with a growing family. While some companies offer up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave when an employee has a child, it is often possible to negotiate a better arrangement.

Offering new moms the time they need to recover from childbirth, bond with their baby, and spend time with their growing family is a great option for employers and employees. That said, it can still be a difficult conversation to have at work if you’re not prepared. The following six tips can help you successfully negotiate  to create the maternity leave that best suits you:

Understand the Company’s Leave Policies

First, it’s critical to read through your employee benefits handbook. This will help you learn what maternity leave options are available, so that you can ask for something better later; you want to enter the process with all the facts. If your company doesn’t currently offer maternity leave, research other leave options such as personal leaves of absence, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other alternatives such as modified work schedules. It may be possible work with your employer and adapt one of these options to meet your needs.

Start the Process Now

The earlier you start negotiation, the better. Giving your colleagues time to plan for your absence frequently makes it easier for managers to approve your request. Whether this means talking to your manager or HR team shortly after becoming pregnant, or while you’re trying to get pregnant, sooner is going to be better.

Be Clear on What You are Asking For

One of the worst things you can do is to go into any negotiation meeting without a clear explanation of what it is you require. Let your manager or HR representative know exactly how much leave you desire, what type of pay (if any) you think is reasonable, and be clear about other factors that may influence the time and type of leave you need. It is critical that they understand your goals so that you can work together in order to set up a plan that works for everyone.

Present a Plan for Ensuring That Work is Done in Your Absence

It is an unfortunate fact that many managers worry that a job won’t get done if they approve the maternity leave – so they just deny it to anyone who asks. If, in advance of your meeting, you create a plan which ensures that your work is properly delegated and managed while you’re gone, you will show preparation and commitment, as well as care for your co-workers.

Know Your Priorities

Prioritize your requests in your mind, and be prepared to compromise. . If you request 15 weeks, but they counter with 12, for example, that might not be a big deal. Other circumstances may be non-negotiable for you. Be prepared to sacrifice lesser goals in order to get the bigger ones. Your willingness to be flexible will win negotiating points, as well.

Consider Part-Time Work

Consider working part-time after your child is born (following a reasonable recovery, of course). Coming in a few times per week or working shorter days while, attending important meetings, and taking calls from home can help to address a company’s concerns while offering you the time with your family that you need.

We’re Here to Help

One last thing to consider is having an attorney with you to help with negotiation. Here at Crumiller, P.C. we work in this area of law every day, have years of dedicated experience in these matters, and can provide crucial advice and insights with regard to your legal rights. We can also help to effectively negotiate with your company to get the results you’re looking for. Contact us to discuss your options and see how we can help build the maternity leave that’s right for you.