The Maternity-Leave Conflict

How women can get the time they need-without alienating their boss.
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A mother holding her child

Deborah, who co-founded BettyConfidential in 2008, said she’s dealt with the issue by giving employees the ability to set their own schedules. That approach works, she says, because she hires entrepreneurial types with strong self-management skills.

“We work very hard, but we listen and treat people with respect,” she said to the Times. “If someone goes to a parent-teacher conference, a sporting event or a play group, it’s fine if the work gets done.

Read Postcards From Mommywood: I’m Losing the Parenthood Race!

Experts also suggest that owners and employees communicate openly about the possibility of taking maternity leave. According to the Times, the two sides should focus not on whether a hand-off of work is necessary, but exactly how it will be done, and who will do it.

But more than anything else, said Deborah, what will make these open-ended policies work is the relationship between the manager and the worker. “It’s based,” she says, “on trust.”

Tell us: What have your experiences with maternity leave been like? Do we need to change our policies as a nation?

Jane Farell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.

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0 thoughts on “The Maternity-Leave Conflict

  1. I understand the problem for small businesses, but you know what? Too bad. That’s the price of doing business. So yes I think smaller companies should be required to offer paid maternity leave, and the United States really needs to get with the program!

  2. We need a societal solution to this problem. There are countries much poorer than us who give women paid vacations. And don’t tell me that’s why they are poorer. We spend a lot of money on things that we shouldn’t – like futile wars.

  3. Why do women always have to bear the burden? Many single moms are owed child support, but don’t get it. Women should get together about these issues!

  4. But if you say anything like that, weetziebat, people “accuse” you of being a feminist. Yes, I think we need a broad-based solution, and yes, I am a feminist. American society still treats women as second-class citizens.

  5. Time off and flexible schedules should really be the norm. But that isn’t enough. Employers need to give their employees access to affordable, reliable health care as well – or do they not realize that the most productive employees are the healthy ones?

  6. What the hell is wrong with being a Feminist?? Someone please explain that to me? Just because I don’t have a penis, shouldn’t make me worth less in the workplace or before the law.

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