Do you live and work in Washington State? Are you planning to have a baby or adopt one? Do you want to apply for Washington state maternity leave?
With the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Program taking effect in early 2020, Washington State offers the most generous paid family leaves. So, if you are thinking of applying for maternity leave in the state, you are in luck.
However, you still have to prepare for your maternity leave, whether you have a generous employer or not. Apart from the stresses of pregnancy, you need to think about who would handle your work responsibilities for the entire maternity leave period.
Luckily, with the right guidelines, preparing for your maternity leave would be a piece of cake for you. Here is a handy checklist to help you effectively plan, prepare and take stress-free maternity leave in Washington.
Learn Your Rights
If you are planning to take maternity leave in Washington, the first thing you need to do is learn and understand your rights. For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows you a three-month unpaid leave to care for a newborn or adopted kid if you have worked in the U.S for more than a year. However, that only applies to businesses and companies with more than 50 employees.
Apart from that, the laws pertaining to maternity and medical leave vary from one state to another. So, it is important to get well acquainted with the laws in Washington before you apply for maternity leave.
Check Your Employer’s Maternity Leave Policy
Once you understand the Washington laws, you need to review your company’s maternity leave policies. You can get such information from the HR department or your company’s benefits package/HR handbook.
Sometimes, your company might not have maternity leave policies, especially if it is a start-up. In that case, you need to consider moving to the next step – taking to your boss.
Talk to Your Boss
Starting a conversation with your boss is an important step when preparing for maternity leave in Washington. You need to let your boss know that you are pregnant and intend to take maternity leave.
It is important to make it clear that you are coming back to work once your leave ends. Emphasize that you have developed a comprehensive maternity leave plan that ensures your duties and responsibilities run smoothly even in your absence.
Communicate with Your Clients
When on maternity leave, you can divide most of your duties among your co-workers. However, there are other things, such as expertise-related functions and client relationships, that you cannot easily delegate. In this case, it is important to inform your clients that you will be leaving for a certain period and their needs will be taken care of even in your absence.
Make sure you schedule a day and time when they will meet with the co-worker you have chosen to work with them. Once you introduce them to each other, your clients will feel well taken care of and secure with the new arrangement. This way, you get to keep your clients even when you are on leave.
Preparing for maternity leave in Washington can be a daunting process. However, the tips above can help make your preparation less challenging.