By: Kecia C. Van’t Hof
With the ongoing pandemic, many are still trying to figure out how COVID-19 will continue to change their workplace environment, especially those who are either expecting a new baby soon, or perhaps thinking about adding to their family in the near future. Below are some tips to keep in mind to help navigate pregnancy and parental leave during COVID-19.
First, you should always check with your company policy before parental leave becomes inevitable. Preferably, check with your company policy prior to planning on adding a little one to your family (if possible). Some companies have adjusted their policies since the pandemic began. Knowing your company policy will better help you map out what your parental leave will look like, helping you better figure out how long you will be on leave, what you will be getting paid, and what is required of you by your employer while you are out and before you come back. If your company does not offer parental leave, the next tip would be to research what other options would be available to you, either paid or unpaid. The other options to potentially explore are Paid Time Off (“PTO”), short term disability, or even the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
Additionally, if you plan on taking parental leave, you should map out a transition plan from being at home to going back to work. If you able to, due to the ongoing pandemic, you will need to be able to balance working from home with being at home with your new baby. When working from home, it is important that you establish clear lines between work and being at home. This is something that can be discussed with a supervisor or human resources. It is important to know your plan before the baby arrives at home, to make the transition as smooth as possible. If you work from home with a child, you may need to arrange for childcare as well.
Be sure to talk to your employers and stay up to date with the ongoing changes to the FMLA during this pandemic to secure a smooth transition and map out a plan for your parental leave when you are getting prepared to bring a newborn home.