When pregnant, there are a lot of women thinking about their maternity leave. This is also known as family or parental leave and it is the time the mother or the father takes off work before and after the birth of their baby. Usually women use sick leave, personal days off, unpaid family leave and short-term disability too.
When can you start your family leave?
In the majority of the cases women can start their leave 11 weeks before the baby is due. You will automatically start your maternity leave if you have to take some time off because of your pregnancy or because of your work, four weeks before the baby is due.
How can you tell your employer?
It is best to announce your employer about taking parental leave in writing on at least the 15th week before the baby is due. You must announce your employer about the fact that you are pregnant, you should tell him or her about your due date and the date when you would like to start with your leave.
It is interesting to know that paid maternity leave is quite rare in the U.S. However there are some companies that offer such leave for up to six weeks. It is possible that your employer will ask for a medical certificate to know when the baby is due. You can get this from your GP or midwife.
After you tell your employer about the leave for maternity he or she should get back to you in maximum 28 days with information on the length of your leave to find out when you are supposed to get back to work. Most probably the whole thing will be handled by the human resources department.
The length of the maternity leave
Usually women have the possibility to take maximum 52 weeks off. The length of the leave has nothing to do with the period of time you worked for your employer. There are some women who don’t have this right, such as share fisherwomen, women working abroad, self-employed women, policewomen and the women working with the armed forces.
You can choose the length of the leave for family but as it has been mentioned before, the maximum length is of 52 weeks. According to the law, women have to take two weeks off after the birth of the baby. If you happen to work in a factory, you must take off 4 weeks.
Employment rights during the leave for parenting
The first twenty-six weeks of leave are known as ordinary maternity leave. During this time you have the same rights as if you were working. The only exception is your payment. On the other hand you will still be building up holiday rights and you may get a pay increase.
During parenting leave it is true that usually women don’t get the payment that they normally do, but they are entitled to receive maternity allowance or maternity pay.
Now you have more information about the unpaid and paid maternity leave.