Negotiating work leave
Most companies have two kinds of benefit policies: formal and informal. No matter what state or institutional policies your company has regarding maternity leave, you may be able to work out a better deal with your own manager. Here are some possible strategies for landing and paying for a longer maternity leave:
- Ask for what you want, whether it's a longer unpaid leave or part-time work for a few months. Be prepared to meet your manager's objections with various solutions, and be flexible in return. For instance, your boss might let you take off a few more weeks after you deliver at a partial salary if you agree to do a project from home or come into the office for a few hours each week. If you think you want to work only half-time for a few months after the baby is born, see if you can arrange a job-share position for that amount of time.
- Use vacation time, personal days, or sick days to offset a portion of unpaid leave, if your company allows. Ask if you can borrow paid leave against future time off.
- Adjust your tax withholding at work to reflect the extra deduction you'll claim for your new child. Don't wait until after the baby is born.
- Investigate the laws. Several states mandate partial salary replacement for workers who are temporarily disabled for medical reasons, including pregnancy and childbirth. Find out if your company has a policy like that and if you qualify.
- Cut back on any unnecessary expenses. Every time you whip out that credit card to purchase something major, ask yourself whether you'd rather have that new coat/rug/couch/car or more time at home with your baby.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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