Now that you've decided how long your maternity leave will be it's time to share this news with your employer. It is best to deliver this exciting news in a written document addressed to your boss and any other pertinent people in your company, such as your HR manager.
This letter may seem formal but it's best to put something important like this in writing which includes your signature. When you start your letter be sure to put your contact information at the top.
This is good reference material if someone wants to get in touch with you. They don't often call your personal phone number or send an email to your personal inbox.
Here are some important items you could mention in your maternity leave letter. If you're unsure how to compose your letter use our sample down below.
Give Them the Date You'll Begin Your Leave
In the letter you want to inform them of your due date, how many weeks you plan on taking, and when you believe you'd like to start your leave. You can take this opportunity to outline the work you plan on completing prior to your leave, work that you believe you won't be able to complete, and work that will need to be done while you're on leave.
Provide a Work Load Proposal
Determine what work you believe you'll finish before you leave. Next, tell them about the work you know you won't complete in time. This isn't because your inept, it's because you only have so many hours in the day and, yes, you are going through a pregnancy.
Be realistic in what you can accomplish before you leave.
Last, let them know about the work that needs to be taken care of while you're away so there are no surprises. If you have co-workers in mind that could fill in while you're gone, or if you believe the company should hire someone to help out, mention this as well.
Communications During Pregnancy Leave
Feel free to tailor this part to fit your own needs. It may be best to stay off work email during pregnancy leave if at all possible. You know how easy it is to get sucked into work and if this happens you're using up precious time with your newborn and you're not paid. If you disagree with this you can remove this section in the sample letter below.
Ask to Discuss Your Transition Back
If you feel strongly that you'd like to change your work schedule when you return you can include this in your maternity letter. If you are unsure how you'll feel once the baby is born don't feel like you have to include the following suggestions. Many unpredictable things can happen in a 12 weeks.
Use and Tweak This Maternity Leave Letter Sample
Once you have these details ironed out tweak the following sample maternity leave letter to best suit your needs. Where you see <brackets> insert the appropriate words, number or phrases for your circumstances.
<Your home phone number>
<Your home email address>
Dear <Your Manager's Name>,
This letter is to formally inform you I am pregnant (or in the process of adopting a child) and am due on <insert due date here>.
I wish to take (number) weeks of maternity leave and plan to begin it on (date you wish your maternity leave to start).
As you know, I take great pride in my performance and the quality of my work. To ensure my job responsibilities will be managed during the period that I am away from the office, I am making the following proposal for work coverage, communications during my leave and my return to work.
I consider this proposal the beginning of a conversation and welcome your input. I will let you know if I believe this plan should be revised, given that the start date of my maternity leave depends on health factors that are beyond my control.
I plan to complete these projects before my maternity leave starts. <Refer to projects here>
The following projects or job responsibilities can wait until I return from leave.
<Again, refer to projects here>
The following projects or job duties will need to be covered while I am on leave. <Refer to projects or job duties>
I anticipate being fully occupied during my maternity leave with the physical recovery from birth and caring for my newborn baby. However, if you need to reach me for urgent work-related matters, I will be available at <phone number>. I do not expect to be able to keep up with business email, so please contact me by phone, or by <your personal email>.
I would like to schedule a meeting a month before my maternity leave ends to discuss the transition back to work and get up to speed on projects. I would appreciate being kept in the loop of any major announcements or reorganizations that would affect my job. Please send any written notices to my home address and feel free to call as well.
<If you want to open the discussion about your transition back include one of the following:
(a) You could propose working from home:
I plan to return to full-time work on (date). For the (number) weeks before that date, I would like to work (number) days per week from home. This will allow me to keep (name the work projects) on track and address any questions or issues that arise during my maternity leave.
I (will require/have) the needed computer equipment, phone and Internet connections at home to perform this work.
(b) You could propose to return to work on a part-time basis.
I would like to return to work on (date) on a part-time basis. I propose working (number) days each week for (number) weeks and subsequently returning to work full time.
c) You can state you'll be returning to work full-time.
I plan to return to work on (date) on a full-time basis. I anticipate no problem with resuming my current position and delivering the same high-quality work that I do now.
To sum up any change proposals you can add:
Again, please consider this return to work proposal the beginning of a conversation. If you have concerns about anything I've suggested, please inform me so that I have an opportunity to address them.
Please let me know of any information or forms, such as a doctor's note, that you will require from me before or during my maternity leave. I look forward to working with you to ensure smooth transitions to maternity leave and back to work.
If anything changes I'll be sure to inform you as pregnancies can be unpredictable. Thank you for allowing me this time away from the office to bond with my newborn. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Updated by Elizabeth McGrory