November 24, 2010
Mastering Maternity Leave
Working women in America often think paid maternity leave is guaranteed. But in reality, it's not offered by many companies. PINK dug up some facts about maternity leave so you'll be in the know.
From what to expect, what you're entitled to and what other companies are doing globally, here's the scoop:
The Family and Medical Leave Act states that new parents, including adoptive ones, are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, with a guaranteed job upon return. But there's a catch: if you work for a smaller company, are new or self-employed, you may not be covered. In this case, you risk having your health insurance suspended or having to work from home while taking care of a newborn.
One option? Pooling vacation, sick and personal days together to give you more time. Check out your company's policy as soon as you become pregnant. Get more facts from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, like how you can't be turned down for a job simply for being pregnant.
In Sweden, more men are "Mr. Mom." Well-known for lengthy maternity (and paternity) leave standards, Swedish parents are given nearly a full year's salary for 12 months with a guaranteed job upon return. Plus, parents can work fewer than eight-hour workdays until the child is school-age, according to the New York Times.
Bonus PINK Link: Sometimes work and family obligations can seem overwhelming. Here's how more power and responsibility can equal better balance.
By Caroline Cox
"There is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a great one." Unknown