Question about Maternity Leave — The Bump
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Question about Maternity Leave

How in contact were you with your work place when you left for leave? Due to how involved I am, I'm the bookkeeper and partial office manager, I'm really nervous about just walking out the door. If they have a question, I want them to call, text, or email me. The more they do that the less mess I will walk back into. 

Do you think it would be too out there to work out a plan where instead of only getting my 67% of my waging while gone, to get more to be more open to contact while out. 

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Re: Question about Maternity Leave

  • Thats true. I didn't think about that. I will have to talk to my benefit lady. I just don't want to cut contact for 3 months and walk back into a huge mess. 

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  • I didn't check in at work during the SDI part of my leave, but after that I did do some "part time" work from home.  They needed the help, and I was able to provide it.  I'm glad I took the 6 weeks before, though.  I know I absolutely could not handle taking any calls or helping anyone in the first few weeks.  So many hormones pumping through you, so little sleep, and just adjusting to the new family unit we created, it couldn't have happened.  After that, I did manage to work about 10 hours a week from home.  It was just enough to stay in the loop, and I could do it on my schedule/time.  When I actually got back into the office full time after 12 weeks, there was a lot less catching up on my end and "cleaning up messes" from others.
  • sdlaurasdlaura member
    2500 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary
    edited January 2014

    I didn't do CA SDI leave, just my firm's 3-month STD leave.  I maintained contact while on leave - I usually checked my emails every day or two and responded to anything important.  I didn't do any actual work, but just responded to questions.

    I also came into the office to attend a meeting at 6 weeks postpartum (which was totally worth it because we ended up winning the new client and I received a nice bonus for making the effort).  That arrangement worked out well for me.  Nobody seemed to care about violating any policies, though I also work in a location with 30 people, so we are pretty laid back. 

    BFP #1 9/2010 (lost our baby at 21 weeks) BFP #2 8/2011 (ectopic pregnancy) BFP #3 10/2011 (chemical pregnancy) BFP #4 12/2011 (Abigail born 8/15/12) BFP #5 5/2013 (Griffin born 1/23/14 with heart defects, now repaired!)

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  • Thinking about it, I don't think our company cares with someone in my position. Another lady who works in finance in our company and when it came time have her baby, me and my boss didn't even know cause she was still answering emails.  

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  • I kept up with emails just to stay in the loop but I didn't do any real work during my leave. You ought to plan to be pretty much out of touch for 6 weeks. You're gonna need at least the first few to get your feet under you, and the next few to let those mommy hormones stabilize a bit. 
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  • i hardly was in contact. i spoke to my boss probably 3 times in the 4 months i was out, and I did come into the office once for a visit. It was so nice and so important for me to focus on bonding with my son. Its such a fleeting time. the work will be there when you get back and like PP said, unfortunately for all of us...life simply goes on when we arent there and work gets done!
  • It really depends. My employer doesn't allow you to clock any hours , otherwise it would stop your FMLA. I still kept up with emails.

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  • My HR rep told me I was not allowed to work at all during my FMLA covered leave.  Something about how if I or the baby was injured while I was working could violate something, worker's comp, insert law/policy here.  I'd talk to your HR office.

    Honestly, the temp my office hired to cover me while I was gone did make some serious messes (although I place most of that on my supervisor, it is his job to supervise the temp).  A bunch of my files were pitched or otherwise disappeared and other necessary protocol was not followed.  Made my return not awesome, but it was great for job security.  As someone else mentioned, it is also humbling.  I hoped that I could leave my job in a good enough place and with good enough directions they could function without me.  Turned out to be not totally true, but that was the hope.

  • I offered to come back after 6 months if they topped up my salary to 100%. Dh can take the second 6 months of mat leave.
  • edited January 2014
    I was pretty unconnected during my leave but the few times that my boss called me and asked me to do something that took more than 5-10 minutes, I put it in as time worked on my time card. I don't know how that would work for you if you're on STD but I didn't have that or any "maternity leave" - it was all accumulated sick, annual, or unpaid. So if I worked for two hours in a pay period at the request of my supervisor, I absolutely recorded that and got paid for it. 

    If you let your supervisor know you're willing to work remotely for a couple hours a week - take calls and such - be sure to describe it as "work" and "clocking in" rather than using words like "help" which could be understood as volunteering your time. I'd be hesitant to let coworkers know you're willing to be on call without your supervisor's green light of the plan because if some one who isn't your supervisor asks you to do something and you do it without getting approval to work first, then they don't really have to pay you for it. Policies probably vary so check with HR of course. 
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  • I think it depends on a number of factors.

    I had a year of mat leave and I wasn't being paid by my work for that leave (in Canada, we get a percentage of our pay through a government plan for up to one year).  So no way was I bothering to keep up to speed.  I gave them six months to prepare for my departure and I did a lot of work training my replacement.  When I was on leave, I would send emails once in a while to see how things are going and I visited a couple times ... but it was all social, not work related.

    I guess if you have a shorter maternity leave, and you are going to be expected to jump right back into work when you return, it might help to keep in touch from time to time.  It can be more work if you return and have to correct things that were done wrong because no one asked.

    On the other hand, you will want to take time to focus on being with your baby.  Maybe meet with your manager to plan for your departure ...so that they don't have to bug you while on leave and there should be some meetings when you return to bring you up to speed.
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  • I check emails now and then to keep account from filing up.  I've directed important people/requests to those who can take care of it during my absence.

    I also just started having a weekly call with my number 2.

    I do this more for me than them, I don;t want to walk back into a sh!t storm when I come back.
  • I work at an elementary school. I did check emails everyday as well as update student information and do attendance. It only took me about 20 mins or less each day.  My sub did everything wrong. She was used to working at the middle/high school level where they did everything differently. I had to fix her errors. We had mailed out attendance letters on a lot of students before I left and her errors could have cause big problems. I just did everything from home.
  • Thanks for all the replies! Its all good info. Me and my boss have been talking on and off about it. The boss is the only other person above me. I don't answer to anyone else. 

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  • edited January 2014

    Maybe it would depend on where you are, and how you're getting SDI. But, I know when I was on CA SDI to get the full benefit, (maybe even any benefits?), you had to sign a paper agreeing you were not going to work at all for the time.  

    My first maternity leave I took only 6 weeks, all PTO and was more in contact with the office as a result. It was awful, and not really much of a leave.
    My second leave I took 16 weeks CA disability/parental leave and I got 1 phone call, where I reminded them I wasn't allow to "work" at all.  it was awesome, and I'm glad I didn't keep in contact for that time
    This exactly. I'm so glad I took my leave and had the mental and physical break.
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