When to start Mat leave?

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raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347
When to start Mat leave?

The way my company works is I have to choose a date. I can't just work until I give birth and that's it, I have all kinds of forms to fill out and it has to be done ahead of time. Also, since I will be gone a year, there are lots of loose ends I will need to clean up like returning my blackberry and laptop, cleaning up emails and any complex technical cases I'm working on. Although December is a slow month so I suspect I won't take anything new on in the last month. (I will also need to basically clean out my entire desk as well as our office is closing/moving while I will be on mat leave).

Full Term/37 weeks for me is January 2. This is when things at work start ramping up and getting back on track after the holidays. I was thinking 38 weeks? I could set it for 40 weeks but I'm scared that's too late and what if the baby comes early?

My manager sent me all the forms and documents for my company that I need to read and fill out. She said she doesn't need a date yet, but the sooner I give it the better as HR can take a while to process things. I work for one of the largest companies in Canada (one of the top 3 banks) and autumn is the busiest time of year.

Is 38 weeks a good idea?

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

38 weeks would probably make you feel better and by that time, most women feel done with work anyways either due to discomfort or excitement but it is really hard to plan for the date of the arrival. With my first, I worked until 39weeks and was 10 days late. With my second, I was hospitalized at 33 weeks with no previous indication. I had, a coworker who was 36 weeks at our summer BBQ and I thought is was a joke when I got an email notification that she'd had the baby the following morning.

indianajones's picture
Joined: 01/21/07
Posts: 1486

That is so hard! Like babies will arrive on your schedule, right?

Here's what I did and my rationale.

DD1- nonissue- wasn't working at the time- she arrived at 38w5d

DD2- started my leave at 39w (I, too, had to set a date for the paperwork). In theory I could have picked up hours in between starting leave and baby coming, but it just didn't work out. I tried to make my leave start as close to baby's probable arrival as possible, since I knew I would only get 8 weeks and wanted as much of that as possible to be after baby was here rather than sitting at home waiting. She wasn't born till 40w4d, so I still burned through almost 2 of my 8 weeks. On the other hand I didn't want to push it too late with the start of leave, since I work a pretty physically demanding job and wasn't sure what I'd be able to do at full-term and beyond.

You have an advantage in that you get a year off- at least that way you won't feel like you're "wasting" your leave if you start it at 38w and the baby isn't born till 41w, KWIM?

I'll probably set mine between 39 and 40 this time, and if I go early, they can just figure it out and cover my hours!

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

Ok, so 38 sounds good then. I will do 38+1 because that's a Friday - January 10. Weird to think it's only 5 more months of work really! Wow!!

Joined: 11/23/07
Posts: 870

38 sounds good to me!

my boss and i discussed it when i was prebnant with my first, and she agreed that after 39 weeks i'd be off. well.... DD came at 38 weeks on the dot and she had to scramble to fill in the schedule. all 3 shifts i had left LOL...

with #2 we agreed on 39 weeks again, i filled in a saturday shift after we agreed i'd be off, and he was born 2 days later.

this one... i have a much bigger work load in a new job now. so she has to plan ahead for while i'm gone. i will probably be off from 39 weeks on. unless i go into labor sooner. LOL. hope this one doesnt decide to go late...because I WILL NOT return to work until i get my full 6 weeks off, but i can't collect my AFLAC until baby is born.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541


I booked off for 38 weeks, when Robbie came at 36 weeks they just changed the paperwork. Do they do a top up at all? TD did 6 weeks which was nice, the government pays 92% then when you come back you have to pay your union dues and pension that you missed for the last year.

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

Yeah, I get a top up for the first 6 weeks, but I don't know if that counts before birth or not. I need to look into that. I know that the 6 weeks technically counts as short term disability to cover the recovery from birth. If for some reason my recovery takes longer, my doctor could make my top-up last longer. Beyond that though I'm stuck with the 55% EI/Mat coverage.

Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 672

I was going to work till 38 weeks with DS and ended up having him at 36.5 weeks. I was literally working, laptop still running at home, when I went in to get checked and sure enough my water had been leaking and I was induced that day. It was rather inconvenient. Nothing was really prepared, I hadn't taken the time to do freezer meals or anything. But I wanted to maximize time with the baby and not "waste" any of my leave before he arrived.

This time around, knowing that an early arrival is likely again, I will plan to take off around 36 weeks. That gives me lots of time to relax, enjoy one on one time with DS, and get things in order. Honestly, by the time my last month of mat leave rolled around I was ready to head back to work.

I guess you have to ask yourself if you need or want that extra week or two before baby arrives to relax and get things in order or if you prefer to maximize mat leave with baby. In the end, it`s so hard to plan Smile