If your family is expanding this year, a significant amount of preparation is usually required. Along with setting up your home in anticipation of the new arrival, you also need to think about how this shift in your personal life will affect your job and what support your employer may have available.
Understanding your medical benefits, leave options, and other resources that your employer may provide allows you to factor all of that into your planning. Additionally, learning about your rights as a worker is also essential, giving you the ability to make sure that you’re being treated fairly.
While all of this preparation sounds complex, it doesn’t have to be. If you are expanding your family this year, here’s what you need to know.
Learn About Your Rights and Benefits
Whether there is a new addition to your family already on the way or you’re planning for the future, take a moment to review your employee handbook. There, you can find out about various benefits, including parental leave policies, flexible work options, employee assistance programs, and more.
Spend some time reviewing your medical insurance policy as well. Learn about your coverage, including what is extended to newborns or children, and whether you need to make changes in anticipation of the child’s arrival.
Then, review any laws that offer you protection during this period. For example, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that employers provide eligible employees with as much as 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year with job protection. Pregnant women are also protected from discrimination on the federal level. Plus, there may be a variety of state laws that define additional rights.
Share the News Properly
Once you know that your family is growing, you might want to shout the news from the rooftops. However, you may also be nervous about discussing it with anyone but those you are closest to or essentially have to tell.
Figuring out how to share the news is complicated, but there is one person you need to make sure finds out before anyone else at work: your boss. Unless you think your manager might take things negatively – in which case, you’ll want to speak with HR first – plan to let them know before anyone else. You can keep the conversation brief and professional, and you don’t have to discuss details like leave plans, but you don’t want to be the one to broach the topic.
As far as timing, speaking with your boss at the end of the first trimester or beginning of the second trimester is usually best. The odds of a miscarriage are significantly lower at that point and, if you’re the one who is pregnant, it may start to show soon. Plus, it gives everyone time to plan for your upcoming absence. However, if you have symptoms earlier in the pregnancy that impact your ability to work, you might have to have the conversation sooner.
Make a Plan for Your Absence and Return
Ideally, you want to plan as much as possible for your absence, as well as your return. Assist those who will be covering you while you’re gone, ensuring they can handle any tasks with greater ease. Determine how long you intend to be absent. Discuss options for coming back – such as a soft return, telecommuting arrangements, or schedule adjustments – with your manager. Explore childcare services early, if those will be necessary.
By following the tips above, you can make sure you can expand your family and keep your job in order. If you’d like to learn more, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us with your questions today.