Congratulations! You have made the decision, or may be in the process of making the decision, to stay at home with your soon to be newborn or with your already born kids! Until then, you’re working full time (or part time). Here are 4 rules for telling your employer you will be ceasing to work full time to be a SAHM.
We are thankful that I get the opportunity to stay at home with our son when he is born this fall. But right now I have a full time job. I had to think through how to go about telling my current employer that news.
1. Be honest
Being honest will not burn bridges that have formed between you and your employer. If you give the impression that you’ll be back after maternity leave, while you know you for sure will not be returning, and then you drop the bomb your first day back to work, bridges may be burned. You may need letters of recommendation later on or need to partner with your previous employer for something else, so you want to leave on good terms!
That also means no slacking just because you’re leaving. Only decrease work based on pregnancy conditions, if needed. I had to stop carrying heavy equipment.
To my knowledge, your employer cannot fire you or do anything with your job just because you are pregnant. That would be discrimination. *Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, so do not take it as such. Figure out what is true in your specific situation.
Figure out what would be the best in your situation. My place of work is smaller and more family friendly than I assume some places are. If you work at a huge corporation, maybe it is looked down upon to leave work to stay at home. In that case figure out if it would be beneficial to give your resignation announcement before or after maternity leave.
In the 4th and 5th months of my pregnancy, there were a lot of changes in my department at work. Since my company is small, I have a pretty good relationship with my boss, and I trusted him to not do anything mean, I told my boss my plans to cease working full time pretty early in my pregnancy. I wanted to allow him to plan in advance especially during multiple departmental changes. He voiced that he really appreciated me letting him know. He has even helped me in the maternity leave process, and there may be another employment opportunity (work at home) coming for me because he knew about my decision so early on!
2. Understand the maternity leave guidelines
It’s important to understand the maternity leave guidelines because you’ll want to factor those into decisions, like what day your last day will be and how your current benefits will work during the leave.
I talked with HR in the 4th or 5th month of my pregnancy to just go over the general maternity guidelines. I did not mention then that I was planning on leaving. I just got general information.
Also, you need to know how insurance through your employer, if you have benefits, works during maternity leave if you decide to take maternity leave and then have your technical last day. You’ve been paying into your insurance so you should be able to use it during the birth and month afterward.
Because of how maternity leave guidelines worked, I am choosing to work up until the birth, God willing, and then take maternity leave. However, I have already put my date of resignation in for two months after my due date. HR said we can move it up if needed, depending on when my leave starts and ends. I thankfully get my health insurance through my date of resignation, even though the last few weeks will be maternity leave.
This might be a whole lot less complicated if you don’t have insurance through your employer! You would just decide to work until the birth and take maternity leave for your pay that you’ll get if maternity leave has pay or you have vacation days to use up. You won’t know the specifics unless you understand all of the maternity leave guidelines at your place of work!
3. Only tell the people who need to know
News spreads like a flame around my office. It is pretty ridiculous. And my boss knows it. The HR people know it.
This is your business, when to take off and the decision to stay at home. If you don’t think the news will be taken well by your coworkers, then wait until they find out from your boss.
At some point or another, the news will get out. But if you tell too many people up front about your decisions, that may be much sooner then you want it to be.
HR even told me to not tell many people until it’s official. I only told my boss and HR my for sure decision.
4. Have your mind set to your non-negotiables but be open to any alternatives given
If you have your mind set to quit working full time (or part time) to stay at home with your newborn, then stick to it! Don’t let people persuade you into staying, no matter how bad they make you feel or how bad they want you to stay working for them.
Choose what is best for your family and let that be the most important factor.
You may get some snide remarks about people having to do your job while you’re out or having to learn to work with someone else. Be understanding, but also don’t let those comments get to you. They’ll survive without you just fine. It may take some adjusting for them, but you have to do what is best for your family.
Although you should have your mind set to what you want to do, be open to any alternatives that your boss or HR give to you. There may be a way you could work from home for a few hours a week if you wanted to! If that is something you’d be interested in, ask your boss about possibilities. The non-negotiable in that situation would be working from home, not from the office, fewer hours a week.
My husband and I, thankfully, both wanted me to stay home with our child. That was non-negotiable. I want to be HOME. Yes, I got some negative remarks, but I have also been blessed with praise for taking the step to give up my full time job and stay home to care for my child.
Since my non-negotiable was to be at home, I asked my boss if there would be any opportunity to work part time from home. Initially, he didn’t have any options I liked at the beginning of our discussion period. Since then, he has come up with another employment option that I am looking into, working from home still but some work hours.
If I hadn’t been open to still working with them in one way or another, then I would have never asked my boss about the possibility and he would have never thought about it and come up with an option. So if working from home part time is something you’re interested in, just ask!
What are your non-negotiables in this process? How is this going? I’d love to talk through this with you! Comment below!
I hope the transition goes smoothly and that staying at home is a blessing.