Congratulations on entering motherhood! Starting a family is exciting, but preparing for your maternity leave can be stressful especially since nearly one-third of Filipina women believe their decision to have a child has held them back in their careers. However, that is something women are trying to change, and you, too, can be a part of that helping to change any stigmas around pregnancy or motherhood at your workplace. With careful planning and communication, you can create a leave plan that works for your manager and team.
The first step in planning your maternity leave is to understand your rights and benefits. As soon as you learn you are pregnant, you should do some research about what you are entitled to, both by your employer and the government. Look into your company’s policies for maternity leave. Even though many employees are striving for work-life balance today, not all companies have a well-oiled maternity plan to offer. If there are no formal guidelines, ask around to find out what previous employees have done. Also, keep in mind that you will need to negotiate the terms of your maternity leave depending on the size of your company.
Secondly, start a conversation with your manager first before telling your coworkers. You and your manager can work together to craft the comprehensive handover of your clients, projects and responsibilities. It is important to develop this plan so that you aren’t just leaving and hoping things work out for the best – this ensures that all of your duties are covered and gives you piece of mind that nothing is falling behind while you are recovering from labor and spending time bonding with your newborn. Once you and your manager are happy with the handover plan, then you should tell your coworkers about your exciting news at your leisure.
Lastly, reach out to your clients to let them know your happy news and to make introductions to the colleague who will be taking care of them in your stead.This way, you can iron out any questions or concerns sooner rather than later, and ensure that projects will run smoothly even when you’re not there.
If you’re proactive, organised, and responsible in planning your maternity leave, you’ll make the process simple and efficient for your team and superiors – leaving both a good impression on them and perhaps even setting a positive precedent for other colleagues to follow.