Preparing for Maternity Leave


Preparing for Maternity Leave
Liberty Mutual Insurance GROUP BENEFITS
Preparing for Maternity Leave
A Checklist for Working Moms
Online Maternity Resources
American Pregnancy Association:
Disability Programs
New Jersey:
New York:
Puerto Rico:
Rhode Island:
Your Leave Benefits
A key part of planning for maternity leave is understanding how much leave you
can take. Review your company’s leave policy, talk to co-workers and your human
resources department, and visit your state’s labor, disability, or employment website
to answer the following:
Are you eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
FMLA provides eligible workers with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to
recover from childbirth and care for your newborn (or newly adopted) baby.
Does your company offer a short-term disability (STD) program? STD can provide
you with benefit payments equal to a percentage of your salary during the time
that you are unable to fulfill the requirements of your job because of pregnancyrelated or childbirth-related disability.
Does your state provide STD benefits? California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey,
Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico mandate STD benefits, which typically cover half
to two-thirds of your salary.
Are there other state regulations regarding maternity, medical, and/or family leave
that apply to you and your employer? If you live in a state that provides paid
maternity leave, contact the office that administers the program to learn if you
qualify and how to apply.
Meet With Your Human Resources or Benefits Department
Once you understand your leave options, schedule a meeting with your human
resources or benefits department to discuss the specifics of your leave well in
advance of your due date. During the meeting:
Take notes and put them in a folder with any documents you receive.
Ask what happens to your benefits, such as health, life, and disability insurance,
and your 401(k), while you’re on leave. If you share the cost of insurance
coverage with your employer, ask how premiums should be paid while you’re on
leave and not receiving a paycheck.
If you’re covered by your company’s STD program, find out:
–– How many weeks you’ll be covered by the program.
–– Your disability benefit amount, which is typically a
percentage of your salary.
–– The waiting period before you can start collecting
disability benefits.
Confirm that you’re eligible for FMLA and any other state
disability and leave programs. If you’re eligible for FMLA,
find out:
–– How much leave time you have available.
–– If your leave is tracked concurrently with your STD absence.
Discuss the status of your accrued paid sick, vacation, and
personal time and how it can be used during your leave.
Understand the process and information you need to
report your maternity leave, such as:
–– Telephone numbers to inform your supervisor and human
resources contact.
–– Website or telephone number to report your disability claim
and/or FMLA leave to your employer’s insurance carrier.
–– Forms to report your absence (e.g., disability claim form,
physician’s statement).
Discuss the policy in the event you need to take additional
time off. For example, would you need a physician’s
statement and could you use sick or personal time to
cover your absence?
If you plan to breastfeed, ask what accommodations, such
as a private location and break time, are available so you
can use your breast pump when you return.
Finalize Your Plan
Transition Your Work
Babies can come early! During the final few weeks of your
pregnancy, leave work each day as if you won’t be returning
the next. The following steps will also help ensure that your
replacement makes a smooth transition to your work:
Meet with your supervisor to discuss your leave plans:
–– Offer suggestions about how to address your responsibilities
while you’re away.
–– Provide a written overview of projects you’re working on
and suggest co-workers who can cover them while you’re
on leave.
Consider other personal and financial matters to help you
and your family prepare for your maternity leave:
Prepare for the financial impact of your leave. Consider
saving a certain amount of your paycheck in the months
leading up to delivery, or paying down your credit card
bills and other loans to lower your monthly expenses
during your leave.
Keep all website and contact information to report your
maternity leave handy.
Check out your partner’s leave situation too. Partners are
also eligible for FMLA leave and can take time away from
work for bonding with a newborn child.
Determine how much time you can reasonably afford to
take based on your financial situation. Review your monthly
expenditures as well as your leave pay and your partner’s
income (if applicable).
Familiarize your co-workers with your duties.
Distribute assignments among your workgroup to ensure
that no one feels too burdened.
Create a communication plan with your supervisor.
Provide your contact information and decide when and
how (e.g., mail, phone) you want to communicate with
co-workers if necessary.
Organize your desk and computer files and follow up on
any outstanding emails and voice mails. Make it easy for
others to find something while you’re away.
Arrange for your emails and voice mails to be handled in
your absence.
For more information, please contact your human
resources department.
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