The journey of pregnancy has a mixed feeling. It is beautiful and hard simultaneously. After the the end of your pregnancy, the burning question on everyone’s mind is about maternity leave. So how much maternity leave can you take? The answer isn’t so simple and there are many factors to consider before answering this important question.
Statutory maternity leave is 52 weeks – a year – off from your job. The first 26 weeks are known as ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ (OML), the last 26 weeks as ‘Additional Maternity Leave’ (AML). This amount of leave will include any weeks you take off before you have your baby, and the earliest leave can be taken is 11 weeks before your expected due week.
During OML, you will still get all the same rights under your contract of employment as if you were still at work. The only exception is that you will not get your normal pay unless your contract allows for it. If you’re taking AML, this must follow on directly after Ordinary Maternity Leave and there must be no gap between the two.
Keep Connection with your HR department
Contact your HR department for the latest updates and procedures to see how much paid maternity leave you could receive. Your employer may provide a maternity leave form that you can fill in or they may even submit the paperwork for you.
Ask Other Working Moms
Ask other working mothers how their maternity leave went. How much time worked for them? If there anything they would have done differently? Also, find out how they stayed connected to work during their leave.
Make sure to understand how the length of your leave might affect your employer-provided health insurance, if relevant.
Discuss leave plans with your spouse or family. If another adult could take leave after your leave ends or take responsibility of your baby, this would save money on child care expenses and extend your baby’s time being cared for by a family member.
Longer Outing Can Lessen Your Sleep
For many new moms, they require six weeks to fully recover from the physical effects of giving birth. It may take another two to three months before getting a 4-hour stretch of sleep at night. Some babies will sleep for five or six at a time when they’re four months old but some don’t do so until eight months or later. Because of this and depending on your job, it may be dangerous to return to work too soon. If you know you need a good night sleep to perform well at work you may want to consider taking a longer maternity leave.
You may want to overestimate how much leave you want, in case you end up needing more than you think. You don’t know what your health or the baby’s health will be like immediately after delivery. If your newborn ends up in intensive care unit, the last thing you want to be thinking about is calling your boss to request more leave.