Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Parental Leave Checklist, Part III: Just Before and After

If you missed, them, here are:
Part I of the Parental Leave Checklist
Part II of the Parental Leave Checklist

Just like the previous set of tasks, these are hard to plan in advance since you don't know *exactly* when your baby will arrive.  I like to do as much as I can beforehand (remember The List?) but there are a few items that can *only* be done once the baby is born.

Just Before or Just After Parental or Maternity Leave Begins:

  • Post the note on your office door saying you’re on leave  - If you work from home before your due date, you can post this on your last day in the office.  Or ask a coworker to do this for you once your leave starts.  Some people think it invites theft, so decide if that's an issue for your workplace before doing this.

  • Turn on your voicemail extended absence greeting and email OOF message - If you prepared these ahead of time, actually turning them on should be quick and painless.  If you're planning to take some time off before your due date, you can obviously turn these on when you're no longer working.

  • Contact HR with the baby’s birthdate to start the official leave process - The information you'll need to provide depends on your company.  You may need to wait until the baby has an official birth certificate or Social Security Number.

  • Enroll new baby in health insurance plan - Same as above - you may need specific info before the baby can be added to your plan.  Read over the docs carefully and make sure you've made the appropriate changes for your baby.  You usually have a limited amount of time to add a new baby, so make sure you're within the correct timeframe.

  • Sign up for childcare flexible spending account (FSA) - if your company offers this, and you'll need childcare within the year, it's a good idea to set aside money in your dependent care FSA account.  The max in 2012 is $5000 per year per family which doesn't even begin to cover infant care for a year here, but it's tax free so we do take advantage of it.

  • Send email to your team announcing the baby’s arrival - this is the fun part!  Send a cute photo, but maybe not one where you're looking all disheveled in your hospital gown (personal preference).  

this was the photo I sent out when BabyM was born

I'll post the next section in a few weeks, which is Things to Do While You're On Leave.  I created a handy downloadable checklist with the whole thing, for the impatient folks out there.  It's my first experiment with Google Drive for shared downloads.  Let me know if you have trouble accessing the files.

Parental Leave Checklist Downloads:
Download the Word version (.doc)
Download the PDF version (.pdf)

If you find this helpful, please contribute to my Starbucks chai fund :)
Thanks in advance!

I'd love to know if I've missed anything.  Let me know and good luck with your leave preparations!


  1. Okay, I've got nothing to add to this, but I just took a peak at Part I and saw you mention 20 weeks of leave. 20 weeks??? Lucky, lucky, lucky woman! :)

  2. Yes, 20 weeks is pretty great for the US but I think we should do better :-) I'd love 9mo or a year.


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