So, I want to talk a little about maternity leave (and paternity leave – let’s not leave out the dads!).
While my leave was mostly unpaid, I still felt extremely lucky to have been able to take a 12 week leave from work after I had each of my boys… because I know that there are many instances where you might not even be able to take 6 .
Before I thought about starting a family and began to look into maternity leave at my employer, I had no idea how many stipulations there are when it comes to leave. Yes, by law you are allowed to take 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA a year. But… did you know that you have to have worked at your current employer for a specific number of hours? And that your employer has to employee a certain number of people? I didn’t. (note: if you are thinking about starting or growing your family – start looking into their leave policies now!). And yes, I also understand that just because you are allowed the whole 12 weeks of leave at your current employer, it doesn’t mean you can necessarily afford to. I worked overtime while I was pregnant to put enough money away to support my family during my leave, but I know that’s not always possible or plausible for everyone. Hence, the reason I feel extremely grateful for my circumstances and that I was able to make 12 weeks of maternity leave a possibility for my family.
And while I was overjoyed to be able to take the whole 12… I was amazed at how quickly those 3 months went as a first time mom. I remember being super stressed about whether or not he was going to take the bottle when I was gone (he hated bottles at the beginning), whether I would continue to produce enough milk for him, how I was going to go to work all day when I hadn’t gotten any sleep at night (I mean, let’s get real – how many 3 mo olds are sleeping through the night?), and I was also sad about all the time I was going to miss with him. That led me to be distracted and frazzled upon my return to work. I’m sure many of you out there can relate to my experience.
Now, how great would it be if more employers followed in the steps of Nestlé? They are a company creating more space for a mom (or dad) to adjust to life as a parent before heading back to work. Their recent parental leave policy reads…
“Employees get a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave and the right to extend their maternity leave up to six months. This will be applicable to all primary caregivers of newborns, including male employees and adoptive parents. It also includes employment protection, flexible working arrangements and guaranteed access to breastfeeding rooms during working hours”.
What’s that sound like to me? Less stress and more productivity – helping both baby and parent thrive.
Allison (her, her husband Kyle, and their son Grant are clients of mine) was able to take advantage of this new policy after she had her son Grant. And it was such a great experience for her that I wanted to share and spread the word. I hope more companies and employers start to see the benefits of a longer parental leave. You can read about Allison’s experience HERE.
How much leave did you get? Did you feel it was enough time? I’d love to hear your story in the comments or you can come join the conversation on my Facebook page! And if you are considering starting or growing your family and are interested in new employment opportunities, who knows? Maybe Nestlé would be right for you 😉 .
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