What’s the latest trend in the workplace? More and more new mothers are taking shorter maternity leave. Why? Because they’re worried about losing their jobs!

 

In the U.S., any business that has more than 50 workers must allow 12 weeks of unpaid leave. And when the employee comes back, they must be given the same job or one just like it with equal pay and benefits. But taking an extended leave is becoming hard to justify in a difficult economy. An increasing number of women make more money than their husbands do, so the loss of their income has a bigger impact. Also, many two-income families are now one-income families, so a lot of new moms don’t have the luxury of staying home without a paycheck.

 

So, if you’re anticipating taking time off after having a baby, what can you do?

 

·      First, let your boss know about your pregnancy ASAP, so everyone can gear up for your absence.

·      Then, ask a lot of questions about your company’s maternity policy. For example, how many weeks can you take? Realistically, how long can your department do without you? And how will they deal with your absence?

 

Finally, when you tell your boss about the baby, be enthusiastic about your future with the company and don’t feel guilty about asking for the leave you deserve. And even if you can’t take off as much time as you’d like, have a backup plan. For example, if 12 weeks of maternity leave is out of the question, suggest a compromise. Say, you’ll take 4 weeks off and work part-time, or even telecommute for 8 weeks to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

 

Would you cut your maternity leave to make sure you had a job when you got back? What do you think a good compromise would be?