Like many new moms, you’d like to return to work part time after maternity leave.
At least for a while, right?
Since writing the first edition of Max Your Maternity Leave in 2003, I’ve helped thousands of working moms develop plans for more time off and a flexible schedule upon return.
Let me help you get the flexible work arrangement you want after your baby is born.
5 Ways to Go Part Time After Maternity Leave
Mix and match them to suit your needs, or use different ones at different times. But first, know your options, outlined below.
1. Gradual Return to Work
In the United States, intermittent leave and reduced leave schedule are little-known provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that may allow you to follow your maternity leave with a temporary part-time schedule.
Under FMLA, you may be able to take your initial six weeks of full-time-off maternity leave, then follow it with a temporary part-time schedule before you return to a full-time schedule. Dads can do this, too.
Not eligible for FMLA? Craft and propose a custom gradual return-to-work schedule for yourself.
If you get stuck figuring out how to pull this off, get yourself a copy of Max Your Maternity Leave. It’s free. Inside you’ll find two sections that focus on the transition phase of returning to work including the details and how-to steps for this option.
2. Reduced Work WEEK
A shorter work week of three or four days is a popular option among new moms. If it’s not too late, I recommend you propose this flexible work arrangement as part of your maternity leave plan. Specific language to use is found in Max Your Maternity Leave. Otherwise, you can negotiate a part time schedule after you return.
3. Reduced Work DAY
If you live close enough to home for this option to make sense, a shortened work day makes a huge difference in how you manage the strain of work-life conflict. Whether you request a part time schedule of 8 to noon, or 9 to 2, or even trimming the end of the day by two hours, a shorter work day makes life more manageable.
4. Job Sharing
Keep your career fully on track while working fewer than 40 hours a week. How? Job sharing allows your job position to remain full time (lowering the risk of it being marginalized) while you and your job partner split the job in creative ways. For example, split it by day, by week, or alternating weeks. Need specific ideas? Here are five job sharing schedule options.
5. Fridays Off
This is a specific variation of #2 above, but are you aware of the variety of ways to pull this one off? See my separate article, 5 Affordable Ways to Have Fridays Off. Enjoy!
The Fast Way to Get Approval of Flexible Work
If you’re too tired to even think of writing a flexible work proposal to present to your manager, you’ll be relieved to know I’ve already written it for you. It’s a fill-in-the-blank template that thousands of other new working mothers have used to get approval of their request. Pick and click a cover to learn more.