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The Facts About Maternity Leave

The Facts About Maternity Leave

If you're thinking about having a baby, or are pregnant already, you need to learn about your options when it comes to maternity leave. Maternity leave is the time you're given by your company to heal from the labor, as well as to care for your new baby. Many companies do not offer paid maternity leave, but by law any business with 50 employees or more must provide 12 weeks of unpaid time off.

The maternal disability (medical leave) is the time you take off to have your baby. If you have a vaginal delivery, you will get six weeks, while if you have a cesarean section you will usually get eight weeks. Family leave takes effect after the medical leave, and is the time you spend caring for your newborn at home. While you're granted 12 weeks by the Family and Medical Leave Act, some companies may provide you with more. Make sure you talk to your boss and human resources department, as to qualify for the 12 weeks you must have been at your job for at least 12 months, and worked at least 25 hours a week for 50 weeks.

For women who don't have the option of taking maternity leave, you will probably be able to use your sick days, vacation days, personal days and other types of unpaid family leave to cover the birth of your baby. You may be eligible for disability leave under certain state's laws.
You should talk to your employer soon after the first trimester. Most women wait to tell friends and family of their pregnancy until this point, because of the risk of miscarriage. You don't want to put it off too long, and risk your employer hearing about it from someone else. You must give your employer at least 30 days notice before you leave, but you should give them more time to make other arrangements. Let your boss know if you are planning on returning to work after your baby's birth, and also discuss any other issues that may mean you need additional time for doctor's appointments.

Explore all your options, as there are a lot of different resources on maternity leave. You might find you qualify for more time, or can work out a better plan with your employer. Know your rights before you speak to your employer, and focus on finding a maternity leave plan that works for you.


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