Post # 1
Hi everyone! I’m looking for advice from women who manage a team or have exec-level positions who’ve gone on maternity leave. I have the right to 12 weeks of leave, but I am having a hard time figuring out how to organize everything while I’m gone. Anyone have experience with this situation? Also, did you take any time beforehand or all of it after? My boss suggested I take two weeks before but I don’t really see why, barring any health issues. Thanks!
Post # 2
- Wedding: April 2016 - Manhattan, NY
I don’t have any personal experience, but most of the women I know want to work up until the last minute so that they spend most of their leave with the baby, versus using time before it arrives. Unless you have a lot of last minute prep to do at home (getting the nursery ready, prepping freezer meals), you may not want to take off two whole weeks beforehand. In terms of your workload, who is next in command when you’re not around? What do you do when you go on vacaton? I imagine your boss will find a temp and make sure your work is covered.
ETA: I would also consider boundaries and if you think this will be a problem while you’re on leave. Making sure that everything is delegated and people have the resources they need ahead of time may help mitiage people needing to reach out to you while you’re on your leave for work related matters.
Congratulations on your baby!
Post # 3
Dh and I deferred to our bosses to determine how work/responsibilties on our teams should be allocated in our absence, and then spent a lot of time filling various people in in the weeks before we left. You may want to talk to your boss to figure out how he/she would like coverage while you’re out and then go from there. Some would rather have just one person taking over, but both our bosses preferred that we divvy things up among a handful of people.
Dh took 6 months after LO was born, I took 7. All at once, except I saved 1 week of maternity leave that I’m taking right now for a family vacation (LO will be 1 in less than 2 weeks).
I took 3 weeks off before my due date (where I live, short-term disability before delivery is use it or lose it, and I couldn’t just shift those weeks, so I definitely wanted to use all the time I had available). I could take up to 4 weeks before, but decided on 3, figuring I’d use the 4th if LO came late. But joke was on me because he came 2 weeks early and I only ended up using 1 week. I so wish I had all 4—it was so nice to be able to nap whenever and enjoy some peace of quiet before all those sleepless newborn nights. But I wouldn’t have taken any time before if it meant that I couldn’t take as much time with the baby.
Post # 4
lunalovegood88 : What do you do when you go on vacation?
Do you delegate your responsibilities to one or several people?
If there are things that just wait for you to return, are those things that can be left unattended with for your whole leave? If not, add them to your list of responsibilities to delegate.
Part of my responsibility as a leader is to always be training someone to replace me, when I move up the ladder. Do you have a program in place to mentor a replacement? Accelerate that program.
An unplanned absence could happen at any time. Any one of us could be in a car accident and not able to work for months. What would happen to your responsibilities in that case?
Where I live, maternity leave is up to a year, so it is very important that my functions and responsibilities are covered in any absence.
Post # 5
lunalovegood88 : What type of job do you do? I have an office job meaning I sit around a lot. I worked until I gave birth for my first (I actually was getting ready for work when my water broke). And with my second I scheduled an induction for the Monday. And for this one I think this one god willing, I will work till birth. We are allowed up to 12 weeks of leave, but that’s using 8 weeks of my own time off.
Post # 6
Thanks everyone! Part of the problem is that the “second in command” position was eliminated due to budget cuts (not replaced when left vacant), so basically my tasks would be covered by a whole bunch of my direct reports or my boss (the CEO) for bigger matters. No one can really do 100% of my job and most people have full plates already due to the short staffing. When I go on vacation (never more than a week at a time), I usually just defer major tasks and decisions until I come back. I know it’s an organizational challenge, but I doubt it will change in the next few months.
pinkcorsage : I work in an office usually with about a week a month of travel, although I’ve stopped traveling for now.
For context, I’m employed in the US so our maternity leave policies are famously bad, and the workaholic culture doesn’t help either…
Post # 7
julies1949 : This is a good suggestion to make a list of the things I can leave unattended/defer til after my leave. I think that would help me organize better…
Post # 8
I’m an executive in a large hospital system. With both children, I worked up until they were born and took 12 weeks. I spent the three mos before I went out training my best associates up to complete various parts of my job, and then left. While it was a little nerve wracking at first, I came to find that frankly- as you will probably come to find, the show will go on without you and they’ll figure it out. It may not always be smooth- and I did check in after say 6 weeks and periodically throughout, but it all worked. I’m planning to do the same with my third baby due in July. Congratulations!
Post # 9
I would echo the pp’s. First step is making a list of job duties and items that cannot be left unattended while you’re out for 3 months. Then, discuss with your boss about delegation. Some things might need to go to them, some can go to your direct reports. Some might be able to be left unattended until you’re back.
In regards to taking time off beforehand, I did not and will not for this pregnancy either. I wanted to use my entire leave to spend with my baby so I worked up until the day before I had my son (and will do so with this pregnancy as well, obviously as long as I don’t have complications that would require me to go out early).