When you're pregnant, your to-do list feels endless. Endless appointments. Endless paperwork. Endless thank you notes. And you're trying to juggle all of this while simultaneously holding down a job, responding to texts and emails in a timely manner, and trying to appear "perky" when you can barely remember the last time you slept well!
When the time comes to request maternity leave from your employer, it can feel scary, even when it's the absolute LEAST they can do for us as we, ya know, prolong the existence of the human race. To make your life a little easier, we're sharing some templates you can use for telling your boss you're pregnant, requesting maternity leave, and even asking for a leave of absence if you don't feel ready to go back when the time comes.
Telling Your Boss You're Pregnant
When to send: Typically end of first trimester or early second
Subject: Quick Catch Up
Body: Hi [Manager's Name], I wanted to share with you that I'm pregnant, and am due in [month of due date]. I know we have a lot of work to do between now and then, so I wanted to put this on your radar sooner rather than later. Once we get closer to the due date, I'd love to come up with a plan for coverage during my maternity leave. I plan on telling the rest of the team sometime soon! Thank you, [Your Name]
Request for Maternity Leave Documentation
When to send: Anytime
Subject: Maternity Leave Policy
Body: Hi [HR Person's Name], Can you please share the documentation related to our maternity leave policy? Thank you, [Your Name]
Telling Your Clients You're Pregnant
When to send: Typically end of second trimester or early third
Subject: Personal News
Body: Hi [Client's Name], I wanted to share with you that I'm pregnant, and am due in [month of due date]. I am planning to take maternity leave for [x weeks/months] from [date] to [date], but the beginning date may vary based on baby's arrival. Until then, I will continue working with you, and will also be preparing my colleagues to work with you in my absence. I know we have a lot of work to do between now and then, so I wanted to put this on your radar sooner rather than later. Once we get closer to the due date, I will be happy to discuss specific logistics around coverage during my maternity leave. Thank you, [Your Name]
Maternity Leave Request to HR
When to send: Typically by end of second trimester, but at least 30 days before the due date if your company is subject to FMLA
Subject: Maternity Leave Request
Body: Hi [HR Person's Name], I am pregnant and would like to take maternity leave. My due date is [date], and I plan to continue working until [date]. As per our leave policy, I plan to take [x weeks/months] of maternity leave, and then I anticipate resuming my current position. While I'm on leave, [colleague's name] will be the point of contact for my duties. I have already worked out the details with [colleague] and [Manager's Name]. I can be contacted via [personal email address] or [cell phone number] while I'm on leave if necessary. Please let me know if there is any additional information you need from me before then, or any documentation you may need after the baby is born. I appreciate your support during my transition to maternity leave and for my eventual return to work. If anything changes, I will be sure to let you know. Thank you, [Your Name]
Maternity Leave Out of Office
When to send: Your first day of leave (if it's before you go into labor), otherwise once you're home from the hospital and have a minute to log in and set it
Subject: Out of Office
Body: Thank you for your email. I am out of the office on maternity leave until [MM/DD/YY]. For any questions related to [subject matter], please contact [colleague's email address]. Thank you, [Your Name]
Leave of Absence Request (Extend Maternity Leave)
When to send: If you don't think you'll be ready to return to work after maternity leave, you may be able to ask for a leave of absence. Asking as soon as you think you may need more time will give you the best chance for a smooth transition form maternity leave to a LOA. We recommend researching leaves of absence a bit yourself before sending this email!
Subject: Leave of Absence Request
Body: Hi [HR Person's Name], I am currently on maternity leave, and it is scheduled to end [MM/DD/YY]. I was wondering if it is possible to take a leave of absence so that I can continue taking care of my infant. If so, can you please share the details or documentation of our leave of absence policy? Thank you, [Your Name]
Returning from Maternity Leave
When to send: Once you return to work from maternity leave, make sure to confirm it with HR so that you can start being paid again and have benefits reinstated, if applicable. It may make the transition a bit easier if you let people know slowly. Tell the people who need to know first (HR, your manager, any direct reports, etc.), and use the next few weeks to inform others. If you moved or made any (other) major life changes while you were on leave., this is a good time to update HR as well.
Subject: Returning from Maternity Leave
Body: Hi [HR Person's Name], I have returned from maternity leave as of [date]. Please let me know if you need anything from me to be reinstated as a full time employee. Thank you, [Your Name]