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How much maternity leave you will be entitled to depends on where you live. This can be drastically different, not only from country to country but from state to state. Working women need to know all of their options well in advance of the time they will take their maternity leave. In fact, as soon as you tell your employer you are pregnant you need to ask about maternity leave.
Don't feel as if you are being mercenary here, this is important. If you know you are definitely going back to work after maternity leave, whether for financial reasons or career reasons, you will need to be sure up front what the maternity leave policy is at your place of work. Taking maternity leave may feel like a world away when you first become pregnant, but as you watch your bump grow and the weeks go by you'll be faced with the question of how much time you can take, how much of that will be paid maternity leave and at what rate.
It often seems unfair that the maternity leave laws differ so much depending on your address and there's a good case for bringing these laws into line with countries like Sweden, where the maternity leave rights are excellent and paternity leave rights are just as good. Paternity leave is something which is just coming into its own and hopefully will improve drastically in the not too distant future.
Whatever your rights are concerning maternity leave, make sure you know them early on, so you can make informed decisions about you and your baby.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|