Theresa Holland, BS, BSN, IBCLC, ICCE
Perinatal Education and Lactation Services Coordinator
Riverview Health Maternity Center
Are you thinking about starting a family? Are you pregnant now? Here are some key questions you should ask about maternity leave at your workplace.
First, know that maternity leave differs greatly among companies. Never assume that your maternity leave will be the same as a family member’s or neighbor’s leave. That’s why it is important to understand your company’s policy, since it’s usually crafted from a variety of benefits, including your vacation time, sick days and personal days, as well as:
- Short-term disability: Insurance coverage you may have that pays your salary or a part of it for a certain number of weeks because of a medical issue.
- Family and Medical Leave Act: A law that requires most companies to allow their employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave after the birth of a child.
To ensure your family doesn’t face unexpected financial issues, meet with your employer to get a full picture of your maternity benefits, with a list of questions like these:
- How much of my salary will I receive when I’m out on leave?
- How is my health insurance paid for while I’m on leave?
- Do I accrue benefits while out on leave?
- What happens if I have medical complications and need to leave early?
You’ll also want to ask about your breastfeeding options when you return to work, including when—and where—you’ll be able to pump and store your breastmilk during the work day.
Good news: Many insurances, as well as Medicaid, cover the purchase of your breast pump after your baby is born. At Riverview Health, maternity patients can streamline the process of obtaining a breast pump through our Riverview Women’s Boutique.
When it comes to maternity leave, there is a lot of planning, but by knowing the answers to key questions, you can worry less and put your focus on bonding with your baby—and on caring for yourself. Remember, your healthcare provider has experience, advice and resource information to share to make your maternity leave go more smoothly. Never hesitate to reach out for the support every new mom needs.