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Planning Maternity Leave

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Understand Your Rights and Benefits
planning maternity leave
Photo credit: Meagan via Flickr

Congratulations! You're pregnant or adopting; or maybe you're just thinking ahead to when you start a family. It's never too early to start planning your maternity leave.

Whether you're sure you're returning to work or hoping to quit your job, you can benefit from a flexible, thorough approach to planning maternity leave. There are a lot of elements to consider when planning maternity leave - emotional, logistical, financial.

To help you prepare, use this Planning Maternity Leave Ecourse. You can go through the tips in the course right now using the links below, or sign up for daily email lessons to take you through each step.

The first step in planning your maternity leave is to understand your rights and benefits. You'll need to pull out your employee handbook to see whether your employer gives you any paid leave for childbirth. But at a minimum, expectant mothers are protected by several federal laws in the U.S.

Pregnancy Discrimination Is Illegal - and on the Rise

It's illegal to discriminate against pregnant women, whether in hiring or an existing employment situation. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Learn about the rise in pregnancy discrimination claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and how to protect your rights as an expectant mom.

A Patchwork of Maternity Leave Laws

In the U.S., a patchwork of federal and state laws attempt to provide basic protections to pregnant women and their babies. Here's a rundown of the important laws that apply to leave taken after having a baby or adopting a child.

Time Off Under the Family and Medical Leave Act

Why do many new moms take four months off to care for their newborns? Is it a medical recommendation? Not at all. That's the minimum FMLA leave (12 weeks) mandated by the federal government that new mothers may take without the threat of losing their jobs. Unfortunately, it's not paid. And some employers are exempt.

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