Bringing a child into the world is a huge responsibility. The last thing you want looming over your head during the birth of your child is your job and its security. For this reason, it is crucial to take the appropriate steps ahead of time. Every workplace has different guidelines and rules for maternity leave, so always prepare by doing your research.Even if your employer does not require it, most employers need time to prepare for a valuable employee to take time off. A poorly composed letter may give the impression that you do not care about the company’s needs. To get the approved time off you deserve and to demonstrate your worth to your employer as someone responsible and reliable, a well-written and timely maternity leave letter is important. Check out our own maternity leave letter templates for guidance throughout the process.
Maternity Leave Letter Template
Below is an example of a maternity leave letter written by May Wright, a project analyst at an accounting firm. May has already informed her supervisor, Ms. Smith, of her pregnancy and discussed the need for the allotted time off to prepare. In the letter below, May informs her boss of her decision about an appropriate starting date for her maternity leave in regards to how soon she is nearing her due date.
I am writing to you today to inform you that I will be taking my maternity leave, starting Monday, October 16th, 2017. As you are aware, I am now into my third trimester and will be needing the additional time to prepare leading up to my due date in January.
I appreciate how accommodating and understanding you have been throughout my pregnancy. I would like to offer any additional assistance in the Lowry project over these next couple of weeks. Additionally, if you would like me to train the new assistant who will be taking over or if you need any more input or details, I am happy to oblige. I will make myself available for questions and assistance as much as possible before my leave on the 16th.
Thank you again for the support. I will update you as soon as I know for sure when I will be returning and if I will need to take the additional time off for parental leave afterward. Please let me know how I can make the transition easier.
How To Write a Maternity Leave Letter
The purpose of this letter is to prepare your employer for your absence. Likewise, this should give you peace of mind that you can take off all the time you need. Remind your boss that getting this break from work is important for you to be working at your best when you return. Managing your responsibilities at work alongside the stress of childbirth is not easy. See how to handle it more easily with our maternity leave letter template.
Timing is important but does not need to be exact. You need to request your maternity leave, in writing, at least two weeks before you plan on taking the time off. Also make sure to include your expected due date. The miracle of childbirth can be unpredictable, but your effort to provide a timeframe proves your reliability. There are different regulations from company to company on the time allotted for maternity leave. For your own security, you are best off letting your superiors assume you will take off that entire time until you find out otherwise.
Keep your employer’s point of view in mind. As tempting as it may be to focus on your own excitement, do not forget you are a valuable employee. There is no need to embellish with exaggerated praise for your employer or to act unhappy about what is a huge moment for you, but acknowledge the difficulty any company must endure when a reliable employee takes a leave of absence. Assure your supervisor that you will do what you can beforehand to prepare your co-workers for your absence and offer to train whoever will be picking up your responsibilities if relevant.
What To Avoid in Your Maternity Leave Letter
Do not give a hard date for your return. It is unnecessary to mention the time you intend to return, or at the very least, to claim a date any earlier than the maximum allotted. It is a common mistake to include a date that you intend to return to ensure that you are able to go back to work when you want, but such timing cannot be reliable. You should be able to inform your employer if you want to return to work earlier with notice four weeks ahead of the first date you intend to return.
You do want to mention your anticipated due date in the letter, as well as your intended date to start your maternity leave. However, remember that the nature of this kind of leave is unpredictable, and make sure your employer understands that.
Do not be condescending. You want to make sure your employer understands your needs, but you do not want to be patronizing. Write under the assumption that your boss is on board and as understanding of your situation as you are.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Maternity Leave Letter
Particularly in this situation, it is always a good idea to discuss your maternity leave in person. It makes more sense to inform your boss of your pregnancy and impending maternity leave before you submit a letter requesting time off. This prepares your employer to anticipate your request and take steps to ensure everything runs smoothly at work. The discussion beforehand also makes the entire process as more personal instead of as a business transaction.
After you have sent the letter, a follow-up conversation with your boss on when you plan to return is highly advisable. Make sure that your supervisor understands the potential for unpredictability in your dates and ascertain what you must do to prepare for your absence.
Top 5 Maternity Leave Letter Writing Takeaways
1. Demonstrate your reliability
Show that, despite how excited you are, you understand how difficult it is for your employer to run a business with less staff. Do not apologize, but offer to help however you are able before your leave of absence.
2. Give what dates you can, but with disclaimers
Again, your anticipated due date and your planned starting date for maternity leave are important indicators that will help your employer plan ahead for your absence. Remember that nothing is guaranteed, though, and make sure your employer understands that as well.
3. Know your audience, and assume the best
Always go off the assumption that your boss is understanding and as happy for you as you are. Your letter should imply you expect to receive the required concessions for your situation, but in a tone that is not condescending or aggressive.
4. Keep it professional
Watch out for overly friendly or flowery language. This is an amazing personal experience and you expect your boss to be understanding and to honor your rights as you request time off, but do not forget that he or she is also your superior at work. If you are on a friendly basis with your boss, you can convey this in person-to-person interactions, but official letters should always carry a tone of professionalism.
5. Make sure it is clear and concise
This does not have to be a lengthy endeavor. Get your point across and provide all required information.