Questions to Ask HR About Maternity Leave
Treat your initial meeting with Human Resources with them as a fact-finding mission. Take notes throughout the conversation, and send an email afterward confirming your understanding of the policy. This is especially important since few companies have a comprehensive policy in writing. (Scroll down for a printable list!)
How You Get Paid During Maternity Leave
- What is the maximum amount of time away, including extended unpaid time, that the company allows?
- Do I have flexibility in how I use that time? (Can I use some toward working part-time weeks when you return?)
- Can I reserve some of my leave for later?
- How much of my salary will I receive while I am out on leave?
- Does my equity continue to vest while I’m on parental leave? (This is especially important if your equity represents a large portion of your compensation.)
- If you are in a state that affords parental leave: Does that leave occur concurrently with any employer-sponsored leave, or is it sequential?
- If you have incentive-based compensation, how does that work?
- Am I still eligible for my full bonus, or is it a pro-rata share?
- How will commissions be paid out while I am on leave?
How Benefits Are Handled While on Maternity Leave
- How is my health insurance paid for while I’m on leave? (If your leave is unpaid, you may have to mail in a check for your portion of your health insurance.) What about contributions to flexible spending accounts?
- If you have life insurance or disability insurance through your company: How is my life insurance paid?
- Do I accrue benefits while out on leave? (Ask about retirement fund contributions, vacation days or sick days, time toward a sabbatical, and any other benefits your employer may offer.)
- What are the terms of my short-term disability coverage? What happens if I have medical complications and need to leave early?
- How much of my salary will I receive?
- Will this count as part of my maternity leave?
The Nitty Gritty Logistics of Maternity Leave
- What forms do I need to complete, and when?
- When is the FMLA form due?
- Is there a form for Short-Term Disability?
- When do I need to finalize my departure and return to work dates?
- How do I add my child to my health insurance and make other open enrollment changes (like flexible spending account elections)? What is the deadline for doing this?
- Do you offer a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account? How does that work?
- How do I add my child as a beneficiary on my retirement account and employer-provided life insurance?
Your Return to Work After Maternity Leave
- Does the company allow teleworking or flex-time?
- Are there mother’s rooms or other facilities for pumping moms? (Ask to see it; you can find a checklist of things to look for in the appendix.)
- Are there any other benefits for new parents that I should be aware of?