Changing jobs before or after maternity leave?

posted 2 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
1045 posts
Bumble bee

I can’t give you advice on what the right answer is, but I went through the same thing and I had to make a decision. I can let you know what I chose to do and why.

I felt comfortable in my job but I had gone as far as I could. I knew that I wouldn’t stay. But we had plans to start TTC and my initial plan was to wait until after maternity leave to find a new job. I don’t know where you are located, but in Canada we get a year so I thought it would be best to find a new job after maternity leave.

But I kept looking at the job postings, just in case. We started TTC and then my “dream” job came up. I decided to go for it. We  stopped TTC after I got the job, just to be sure I’d qualify for mat leave if I did get pregnant.

Now, a year and a half later I’m still not pregnant… so I am so happy that I decided to jump on the chance of getting this job because my work life is SO much better now. It’s stupid that we haven’t gotten pregnant, but we are seeing specialists now. 

So my suggestion is to do a bit of both. I don’t see the harm in job hunting while you’re TTC. If you find a job you like and you aren’t pregnant yet, then you can make the decision to hold off on the TTC then. If you get pregnant before another job comes up, then you can make the decision then to stop the job searching if you want.

Every job is different but I was able to prove myself at my new job in less than 3 months. 3 months in, I was offered a raise. 6 months in I was offered another raise. So I really don’t think you need to worry about that.

Post # 3
2012 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Why do you have to wait ages to go on maternity leave? Is it because in the USA the company pays for maternity leave? Where I live the government pays & woman often wait 6 months before TTC after starting new job. I’m 32 and getting married in 3 weeks. I’m not waiting. My current contract finishes next week – just before wedding. I’ll find a contract when I get back from honeymoon. I’m not prepared to work somewhere for six months and then TTC. So no permanent role for me. Here you get 20 something weeks paid & it doesn’t matter if you’re contracting. As long as you’ve worked 6 out of the 9 months. If I were you, stay at current employer.

Post # 4
2657 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I’m in a similar position to you (although a little younger at 28) – comfortable and mostly happy at my current job, but stagnant and frustrated at times (mostly to do with clients). Likewise, I’ve come as far as I can here so don’t have any opportunities for job growth and my boss can only pay me so much to do what I do.

I am also pregnant with my first child, due in July. I plan to take maternity leave through my employer (I’m in Australia, so they hold my position for 12 months during which time the government pays me 18 weeks mat leave – the rest is unpaid) but will not be returning to this job once my leave is over. During mat leave, I intend to pursue training for a completely different profession that will give me more time at home with our kids. Over the last few years, I’m come to realise that job opportunities using my current qualifications are few and far between – I had planned to look for a new job before getting engaged back in 2015 but nothing has really come along that excites me, so I’ve decided to turn to something else all together. I would have done this regardless of whether we decided to start TTC or not – it just so happens that I can use my mat leave to look into training opportunities.

Post # 5
89 posts
Worker bee

Personally i think that it really matters on when you want to have kids.  I wouldnt make the decision based on my job.  For example.  If i wanted kids  now then I would stay,  but if you were going to wait a coulle of years anyway then i would look for a job now.


Dont feel like you have to be working somewhere long enough to ‘earn your place’.  As long as you are a permanent employee (so not hired on a contract (then the employer is legally obligated to hold your position  (or a similar position) for when you return from MAT leave.


At least in Canada you only have to work 600 hours in the past year to be entitled to 55% of the amount that you made in the last year.  However, the employer is not required to top you up to your salary/percentage od your salary.


But personally I would toss the pro/con list and decide of I want babies now or later and then base whether I will stay at my employer or find a new employer. 

Post # 6
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I am in Australia and I stayed in a so-so job when we were TTC.  My employer will pay full salary for 18 weeks, or the same amount spread out over up to 12 months.  This goes way beyond mandatory maternity leave in Australia, which factored heavily into my decision to stay at my job.

I am glad I stayed because when I had to go back to work 6 months after my daughter was born I was able to only work part time, starting at 3 days per week and then moving up to 4.  17 months later and I’m still part time.  I don’t think I would have been able to negotiate this if I hadn’t been at the company for so long before my leave.

The down side is taht I’m just now seriously looking for a new job, so I have ended up staying here years longer than I would have otherwise.

Post # 7
670 posts
Busy bee

I’d look for a new job before TTC if you’re going to return to work after leave. Most provinces have changed their requirements to 3 months of work to hold your position, so I’d start TTC about 6 months after you start – not a year. I got pregnant about 9 months after I started a new job and everything was fine – I don’t think my employer cared either way. You have no idea how long it will take to get pregnant. After I found out I was pregnant, a lot of changes occured at my job and they made me miserable – like I almost started my mat leave 2 months early miserable. It was extremely stressful to go into work everyday and know that I was stuck, like a lame duck in the position. I felt like I didn’t have any options because hey, who is going to hire someone for 3 months only to be obligated to hold their position for a year. I’ve just set my date to return and I feel really excited to return to work but not so much the position/employer. 

Post # 8
424 posts
Helper bee

How available are jobs in your field that you think would be preferable to your current situation? How competitive is your industry and do women face “mommy-tracking” post-mat leave? Timing is a total crapshoot with TTC. I’m in the U.S. so whole different ballgame with mat leave, but I stayed in a really mediocre job when we started TTC in order to preserve leave options. After 2+ years of trying with zero success, I made the jump to a new job…within a month of starting the new job I got pregnant. It’s far from ideal, but I’m more mad that I wasted so much time in the old job. If the only thing holding you back from job searching is concern over leave, I would try to move jobs sooner rather than later.

Post # 9
14966 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

If you for sure don’t want kids for another few years, I don’t see the benefits of staying at your current job if you’re not happy with a lack in career advancment.  If you got a new job now, and waited a year to try, the earliest you would have a child is about 2 years, which fits in the timeline of having kids “in a few years”, right?

Either way, as someone who just went through 5 years of TTC to finally be pregnant with a so far healthy on track pregnacy, I say you do you in the moment and not try to plan all the what ifs of TTC.  If career advancement is what is important to you, then go for it.  The first set of pros you listed just sound like a safty net, and not really what you want out of your job.  I understand wanting safty nets sometimes, but safty nets based on such a huge what if just holds you back imo.  Go for the career if that’s what is important to you, TTC when you’re ready and let the rest play out when the time comes.

Post # 10
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I was in the same position as you and and chose to TTC. Once I was pregnant an amazing job opportunity came up. I let the new company know I was pregnant and they were okay with it, so I ended up changing jobs at 6 months pregnant. It wasn’t ideal or what I planned on at all.

I guess my point is, there is so much you can’t control or plan for. You don’t know how long it will take you to get pregnant or find a new job. Why not go for both and see what happens first?

Post # 11
1945 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre

If I was in your situation I think I would stay at my current job and when I was on maternity leave I would go out and look for a job

Post # 12
1041 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Based on your list, I would 100% be looking for a new job. A one year mat leave is a short blip in your career and employers know that. They also know what they are getting when you typically hire someone married and in their 30’s. I got a new job (same company) while I was pregnant both times and the crazy thing was that I was only back for 9 months between leaves. They chose to invest in me knowing I was in the baby making years (I was very upfront about it). That being said, pregnancy/mom brain does not make things easy. It was incredibly challenging to be pregnant and working in a new role. As for the part time thing, nothing is ever guaranteed so I wouldn’t use that to sway my decision. 

Post # 13
2858 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

No real advice, but here is my story.

Age 29 – married for 2 years had been in my job for just over a year, doing well, loving it, but knew there was no room for advancement (it was a standalone role and would always be that way) decided to try for a baby. Nothing happened…..

Age 30 – still no baby and decided I’d had enough of my job, I was bored, work life balance was getting worse and relationship was suffering because I was ALWAYS at work, decided to change jobs.

Age 30 – started a new job carried on TTC, was an OK job but just under a year in, major restructure happened and redundancy on the cards

Age 31 – moved to a new job. LOVED IT! major career change and carried on TTC. Was having all the fertility tests by now and was moving towards IVF.

Age 32 and 1 month after I had been at my company a year, finally got pregnant naturally! My work were wonderful while I was pregnant, lots of support (even had a room where I could go nap if I needed) able to work from home lots as I have a London commute. Were really good when I developed complications.

Age 32 (2 months shy of 33) gave birth, took 14 months maternity leave (mat leave plus annual leave) Loved every second of it.

Age 33 (a few weeks shy of 34) I have come back to work. The first few days were horrible, but I am feeling more settled now. We are back TTC number 2 as we are well aware given our history it might not work.

For now I won’t change jobs unless I really have to as the enhanced maternity pay here is really good.

It is a hard decision to make, you cannot put your life on hold when you TTC so I’d say go for it now and see what happens.

If you are in the UK you are always entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave, it is the pay which you are only eligable for if you have worked for 26 weeks by the 15th week before expected week of childbirth. If you don’t qualify for maternity pay from your company, you can claim maternity allowance from the government which is paid at the same rate as satatory maternity pay.

Post # 14
1755 posts
Buzzing bee

It sounds like you’re in Canada. You’ll want to check in to what are the hours requirements for maternity EI. And also what the rules are in your province for them holding your position for you on mat leave. In my province, you must have 600 hours, they must hold your exact job for 6 months, and they must provide you with a comparable role and compensation for 12 months, if you opt for the 18 month leave they don’t have to hold anything for you. Your EI will be based on your income and it does max out. It’s typically 60% I believe. So if you would have to take a pay cut that would be something to consider. 

I will say this in all honesty, you’re not going to make career progress when you are on and off mat leave. There are a few parents who make it work and gain advancement in those years. But those years are generally years when you can anticipate making no upward movement in your career. In my experience career progress will tend to favor those who are in office and on site consistently with a high level of performance. It’s not unusual for career progress to stall out a little bit when you are on and off of maternity leave. 

What might be a side of things to consider isn’t so much how maternity leave will work for you, but what you will need work wise once returning to work after maternity leave? A lot of that will depend on your industry. Some things you might want to consider is an employers flexibility for time scheduling, especially for daycare drop off and pick up, how do they handle employee sick time because it tends to increase once you have kids, how do they handle having a work life balance, you’ll find it will be crucial in the early years to be able to have a balance.

Post # 15
488 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

I feel like I could have wrote this post!  I am in a very similar position and have been job searching and applying to ideal positions. I figure that I cannot put life on hold while TTC and that if I get a new job before getting pregnant I will decide how to proceed then.  Ideally, I could find a new job that provide career progress, bump in pay, shorter commute and possibility some maternity leave.  I would feel comfortable putting off TTC for 6+ months so I could acclimate to a new job.  I am worried that once I have kids it will be very difficult to advance career wise. 

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