Posts Tagged ‘child care’

Thinking about maternity leave

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

pregnant woman with ipadHave you heard that Netflix is offering unlimited paid parental leave to their employees? During their first year as new parents, Netflix employees can take as much time off as they choose while still earning their normal salary. This is really an amazing policy. If you’re working and pregnant, you probably have thought a lot about maternity leave. Over the past 30 years, the participation rate in the labor force of women with children under age 3 has risen from 34.3% in 1975 to 60.9% in 2011. Half of all mothers work during pregnancy and return to work after their baby is born. And among women who worked during their pregnancy between 2005 and 2007, 58.6% returned to work 3 months after giving birth and 72.9% returned to work 6 months after giving birth. It is important to know what options are available to you so that you can plan ahead.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employees can take time off from work without pay for pregnancy- and family-related health issues. The act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that you can keep your health insurance benefits during the leave. To qualify, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months, and worked at a location where the company has 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

In addition to the FMLA leave, your employer may have its own maternity leave policies. Talk to your boss or someone from human resources (also called HR). Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Does your employer offer paid maternity leave? Some employers offer paid time off for the birth of your baby. Talk with someone from HR to find out if you have paid maternity leave.
  • Does your health insurance continue while you’re on maternity leave? If you get your health insurance through your employer, your HR person can tell you about what your insurance plan covers. You may need to change your health plan after your baby’s born to make sure he’s covered, too.
  • Does your employer offer flex time or telecommuting for when you’re ready to go back to work? For example, can you work fewer hours each week or work from home at the beginning? And then increase your hours or your time in the office little by little over a few weeks?
  • Are there other programs or services that your employer offers to new moms? If you’re breastfeeding, find out if your employer has a lactation room. This is a private space (not a bathroom) that you can use to pump breast milk. Employers with more than 50 employees must provide this space for breastfeeding moms.

Finally, choosing a child care provider that works best for you can be tough. Try to explore your options and finalize your plans before your baby arrives.  If you can organize childcare before you deliver, it will make your time at home with your baby more relaxing and enjoyable.

Not taking all your maternity leave?

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

pregnant-woman1If you’re working and pregnant, you probably have thought a lot about maternity leave.  It used to be that meant stopping work all together until you went back to the office, if you went back to the office.  Not necessarily so today.  I read a recent survey that says only 56% of women surveyed took their full maternity leave and 33% stayed involved with work while they were out.  Aren’t we busy!

Many of us are returning to work or school after pregnancy.   It may be fulfilling personally, supportive financially, or invigorating intellectually, but it’s a juggling act and isn’t easy for most of us.

Choosing a child care provider that works best for you can be tough and may slow the return to work process.  Read our information for some helpful suggestions.  Talk things over with your partner now and make advanced plans for your maternity leave and return to work.  If you can, look into and select child care options before your baby arrives.  If you can set that up before you deliver, it will make your time at home with your baby more relaxing and enjoyable.  You’ll be amazed at how fast the weeks go by and how soon the office beckons.

Finding a babysitter

Monday, February 8th, 2010

22231364_thb1I planned on returning to the office when my daughter turned one. I was excited about the idea to interacting with colleagues again, but felt very nervous (and guilty) about leaving her. We don’t live near family, so I had to look to outside resources for help. My husband asked, “how are we going to do this?” At a loss for words, I shook my head. How will we ever find someone we can trust?

With a heavy heart, I started my search online. It was important to us that we find a facility where the providers were trained and supervised. I researched local daycare providers and came across two helpful websites in the process. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) both provide useful information for locating accredited child care facilities and providers.

Ultimately, we decided to hire a nanny who would care for our daughter in our home. Logistically, this just worked better for us. I joined a website that provided all of the initial screening information we were looking including, experience, references and background checks. We interviewed a few candidates and feel we made the best decision for our daughter and the individual needs of our family. It was a scary process in the beginning, but it actually turned out just fine. Thank goodness for camera phones! Our nanny sends pictures throughout the day. It’s so reassuring to see my daughter’s smile.

Are you a working mom? How are you managing? I’m new at this, so I’d love to hear from others who are in the same boat.

Is your workplace family friendly?

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

familyWorking outside the home and raising a family: That’s a tall order! So much to do, so little time.

But companies can help parents by being “family friendly.” What does that mean? Here are some policies that companies have put in place: 

Flextime. Moms and dads adjust when they start and leave work to accommodate day care, doctor’s appointments, games, recitals, school plays, etc. When my sister went back to work after the birth of her youngest son, flextime was her top priority.

* Paid leave time for new moms and dads.

* Job-sharing and part-time work.

* Telecommuting. Mom and dads work some days from home and stay in touch with the company by computer.

* A special space for breastfeeding moms. This may be just a small, plain room. But it makes it possible for moms to express milk in privacy. No more struggling with the pump in a bathroom stall.

* Backup child care for when the usual plans fall apart. And I don’t have to tell you: they do fall apart now and then.

Every year Working Woman magazine recognizes companies that are “family friendly.” Take a look at the list of the top 100 and what they do to help their employees be good parents. How does your company compare?

Choosing a child care provider

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

My neighbor, Maddie, is adorable and I love her to pieces.  She is 28 and eight months pregnant.  She has a fulltime job and really enjoys her work as a graphic artist and she is great at what she does.  She is planning on going back to work when her baby is about three months old.  Her husband is going to take family leave for three months after Maddie’s three months of maternity leave.  It’s after that that concerns them both.

Maddie and her husband have been talking about finding good child care for the baby and, as they are finding out, it’s not an easy thing to do.  They have been considering in-home care with an au pair or a nanny, family child care in someone else’s home, and day care in a local center.  Are you in a similar situation? We have written some things to consider when choosing a child care provider.  Do you have other suggestions I can pass on to them?