Parental Leave Tips

Here is a handy reference guide for handling your parental leave, summarized from the Parental Leave Guide for Parents.

Download this guide as a PDF.

Tips for Before You Go

  • Write up a delegation/coverage plan
    • Who will handle communications, 
    • What is your anticipated schedule, and 
    • Who are your delegates, if applicable?
  • Finalize your plan at least one month before you expect to leave (two is better),
  • Share your plan with everyone (manager, reports, peers, business partners),
  • Draft your e-mail auto-response early and include a link to your Parental Leave Plan,
  • Draft your announcement e-mail if you plan on sending one so that you only have to fill in details and/or photos later, and
  • Establish your support network: folks you can lean on if things are tough later.

Tips for When Your Leave Starts

  • Let your manager (and HR, if applicable) know that your leave is beginning!
  • If you wanted to send out an announcement e-mail, send that now.
  • Turn on your e-mail auto-responder, and consider disabling e-mail notifications.
  • Consider uninstalling work messaging from your phone and computer; you have other, more important things and people to focus on for a while!

Tips for Before You Return

  • Reach out to your manager to chat, sharing any questions ahead of time so they have the opportunity to get answers before your meeting,
  • Try to live in the present and enjoy the remaining extended time you have left with your family,
  • If you’re experiencing anxiety of things to come, talk to someone: your partner, your friends, your parents group at work, or strangers on the internet. Lean on the support network you previously established!
  • Think about what your return schedule will look like and discuss it with your boss. Plan on experimenting until it feels right.

Tips for Returning

  • Make an onboarding plan. Share it with your boss to avoid surprises,
  • Talk with your support network as often as you need to; every day is a fine cadence,
  • Find the smallest ways to feel useful and rebuild your confidence if you need to.