Falling pregnant doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your career and income, that’s not to say that there won’t be changes. Being equipped with knowledge will help reduce your stress during this time.
Whilst there are a few instances where women are able to continue their career seamlessly, for many the idea of maternity leave can bring many feelings of uncertainty.
Alongside the worry about career progression and how this gap in employment will impact that, there is the very real problem of income and that is what I want to give you some tips around today.
- Prepare early – I know this is easier said than done but this is probably the most impactful thing you can do. Even if you don’t plan to fall pregnant in the near future take some time to think about what you would do if it happened by accident. Often, it is women who did not expect to be pregnant that are impacted the most.
- Check your entitlements – Find out from both your employer and the government what entitlements you have when you do have a baby but also during your pregnancy. Remember you are probably going to need additional time to go to appointments and prepare for the birth. You will also want to find out when you can start maternity leave, how long you are able to be off work for and what payments you can access. Hopefully you have a smooth pregnancy and birth but you want to know exactly what you can receive if things are challenging.
- Be flexible – For many women they have a set idea of what will happen after the birth but it is worthwhile to keep an open mind. You may find you intend to return straight back to work and then find it’s the last thing you want to do. You may also decide you want to return earlier than you intended.
- Set some boundaries – Whilst on maternity leave what will be the expectations of your role, do you need to check in regularly, will other staff need to contact you and what will that look like? If you are self employed what commitment are you willing to make to your business and clients?
- Working alone – Additionally if you are self employed you want to consider the income you will need to cover while you are on leave. Remember to factor in the time at the end of your pregnancy when you may need to slow down on work and reduce your hours.
- Minimise your expenses – There are many expenses that you may not need when you are on maternity leave. Make a list of these early on and decide which you can cancel or put on pause for a time eg industry memberships, programme subscriptions.
- Plan your return – Whilst you need to remain flexible and be able to adjust to the needs of your new baby and yourself, it’s worthwhile putting some thought into how you would like your return to work to go. Do you want to come back full time, part time, working from home? What sort of transition plan do you want to put into place and how flexible is your employer or business able to be?
It is an exciting time having a baby and using these tips you can ensure that you are able to handle this transition in the least stressful way possible. By being prepared well in advance and preparing a plan unique to your needs, that still remains flexible will leave you in the best financial position possible.