Want to see a new topic?
These guides make it easier to navigate difficult or complex topics in the workplace. If you would like to see other topics covered here, please submit your ideas.
Photo credit: Pixabay
The 17 Best Conferences for Women
Conferences can be expensive. And time-consuming. But when you attend just the right one, it is like magic: you feel inspired, make great new connections, and really learn something. Which ones are worth your time and money? Here are the ones we think are worth checking out: NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women - March The NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women recognizes corporations and nonprofit organizations that have moved women into top executive positions and created a culture that identifies, promotes and nurtures successful women. Catalyst Conference - March For 30 years, the Catalyst Award has recognized exceptional efforts that help advance women in business. Over the years, the Catalyst Awards Conference has brought together experts from around the world to share knowledge and shape the dialogue about inclusive leadership and other critical factors related to women and workplaces around the globe. Financial Women’s Association International Business Conference - April Join colleagues, industry leaders and partners in government and finance for engaging panel discussions and networking opportunities. WIN Summit - May WIN Summit hosts hundreds of professional women as they gather to learn, engage and grow through the negotiating skills and experiences of educators, executives, business leaders and glass ceiling breakers. Working Mother: Men as Allies - May Working Mother hosts an annual Men As Allies Summit that highlights success stories from pioneering gender equity programs from some of the biggest companies in the country. They will discuss what it took to bring more women into top leadership roles, and they will talk frankly about the challenges they had to overcome. There will also be special time allotted for white attendees to hear the perspective of women of color/multicultural women, and vice versa. The goal of this experiential part of the Summit is to deepen everyone’s understanding of what it takes for the other to lead, and to open more doors for all women. Attendees are required to register as male/female leadership pairs. Pairs should be aware that all discussions taking place during the summit will remain confidential. Attendees are urged to invite their senior leadership and C-suite executives to a post-event reception. DiversityInc - May Join more than 1,000 attendees for the opportunity to learn, network and build business relationships with key leaders of companies that have demonstrated leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Ellevate Network: Mobilizing the Power of Women - June This full-day conference will feature some of the brightest minds in business and in diversity and inclusion for inspirational discussions that will lead to clear take-aways about what you, as an individual, can do today in your career, your company and your life to create change. NAFE Women’s Leadership Summit - June How do you develop your confidence in difficult situations and make your mark in the world? The NAFE Women’s Leadership Summit is power-packed with practical opportunities to elevate the confidence of women within organizations and develop important tools to advance next-level career goals, exert influence and make a substantial impact. Forbes Women’s Summit - June The Forbes Women’s Summit will bring together 300 multigenerational innovators, entrepreneurs and influencers for a dynamic exchange around the most important issues of our time, with the mission of translating the ideas into action that will chart the course for the future. It will celebrate the doers and the doing-- a source of inspiration and support that connects and empowers women around the world, helping them to realize their potential and reach new heights. Network of Executive Women Leadership Summit - September The Network’s popular NEW Leadership Summit offers the in-depth learning, networking, inspiration, team-building and career advice for advancing your career, growing your organization's business and transforming the industry. Learning sessions are designed for emerging and mid-level leaders, senior executives and men who lead women. The NEW Summit features all-star keynoters, breakout sessions for leaders at every level, special events like our Celebrating Excellence Awards honoring our regional volunteers and networking with 1,200 consumer products and retail industry executives and emerging leaders. Texas Conference for Women - October The Texas Conference for Women is a nonprofit, nonpartisan leadership conference for women of all ages and backgrounds. The first annual conference was held in 2000 in Austin, Texas. Pennsylvania Conference for Women - October The Pennsylvania Conference for Women is a non-profit, non-partisan, one-day professional and personal development event for women that features dozens of renowned speakers sharing inspirational stories and leading seminars on the issues that matter most to women, including health, personal finance, executive leadership, small business and entrepreneurship, work/life balance, branding and social media marketing, and more. The Conference offers incredible opportunities for business networking, professional development, and personal growth. Grace Hopper - October The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the world's largest gathering of women technologists. Women in Construction - October This program features a full day of panel discussions, presentations and interactive breakout activities covering key issues. INC. Women’s Summit - November Join some of the world's most influential entrepreneurs at the Inc. Women's Summit, where you'll connect with other business owners, hear inspirational stories, and learn valuable tactics you can use in your own company. Bullish Conference - November This is a career conference for women who want to make the world and the workplace better. At the upcoming 5th annual BullCon, there is no reason you can't have a roundtable on sexism in the workplace followed by champagne. Literally none. GetBullish and the Bullish Conference have been bringing it since 2013. Working Mother Leadership Summit for Women in National Security Careers - December This full day of inspirational speakers, self-examination, group discussions and action planning is a unique opportunity for women in national security careers to come together to learn, grow and explore. You will hear presentations by multigenerational leaders of diverse identities who share how they achieve resilient leadership at every level. This highly interactive day offers time to network, partner and acquire new strategies and solutions to achieve career success. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!
Photo credit: Pixabay
10 Tips for Addressing a Hostile Work Environment
By Miriam Grobman A hostile work environment can be a complex situation to navigate. I spoke to Alex Umansky, a Labor and Employment lawyer from New York, who shared 10 tips for navigating such situations. Here's what he had to say: A hostile work environment is a form of discrimination and occurs when an employee is subjected to harassment based on a protected trait such as one’s race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or genetic information. This workplace harassment becomes illegal where the employee is able to demonstrate that the workplace was permeated with discriminatory harassment that is so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of the employee’s work environment. If you feel that you are being subjected to a hostile work environment, you should take the following steps: Object to the harassment directly to the harasser . Tell the harasser directly that you are offended and uncomfortable by the discriminatory harassment and politely ask them to immediately stop. Don’t make the same mistake as the harasser and say something that you will later regret. Act professional. Document all the harassment to which you’ve been subjected. Write down all the specific discriminatory comments that you have witnessed, including the date and time those comments were made. Print copies of all harassing emails and text messages. Make sure you also print all discriminatory emails and text messages so you don’t lose them in the event your phone dies or you lose it. Depending on the state you work in, try to record the harassment with your phone or recording device. The most important question in the recording context is whether you must get consent from one or all of the parties to a conversation before recording it. Many state statutes, including New York, permit recording if one party (including you) to the conversation consents (one-party consent). Other states require that all parties to the conversation consent. If you work in a one-party consent state, make sure you record as much of the harassment as possible. It is frequently your word against the harasser’s, so you want to accumulate as much objective evidence as you can. Remember, the harasser will deny it. Bring your notes, emails, texts, and recordings home with you . Don’t keep your evidence on your work computer or in your work desk, as your employer will have access to all of it. Talk to coworkers to see if anyone else has experienced similar harassment. If you are being harassed, it is likely that others were or still are being subjected to similar harassment. Talk to them to see if they would be interested in complaining with you. The more people that are telling the same story, the more believable the story is. Research your employer’s complaint procedure and complain about the harassment pursuant to that procedure. You have to give your employer a chance to fix the situation and put an end to the illegal harassment. Make sure you follow your employer’s complaint procedure, if there is one, and report the harassment to the correct person. It is always best to put your complaint in writing. If you’ve only complained verbally, make sure you follow up in writing confirming the fact that you complained and reiterating the subject of that verbal complaint. Furthermore, provide the person to whom you’re complaining with copies of all the evidence you’ve accumulated. Remember, the employer doesn’t have to fire the harasser or inform you of the results of any investigation. They only have to make the harassment stop. Continue to complain if the harassment continues . If the harasser continues to harass you after you’ve complained, don’t be afraid to complain again. In fact, it is prudent to complain in writing each and every time you are subjected to discriminatory harassment. Watch out for any retaliation . It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who complains of discriminatory harassment and/or raises their rights under anti-discrimination laws. If the harasser or anyone else retaliates against you in any way whatsoever, immediately complain about the retaliation in the same manner as you complained of the discriminatory harassment. Depending on the State you work in (See Section 4 above), you should record each and every complaint you make to upper management and/or the employer’s Human Resources Department. Meet with an attorney . Contact a reputable employment discrimination attorney to explore all of your legal rights. -- Alex Umansky, Esq. is a Partner at Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, P.C. He is certified to practice law in NY and NJ as well as on federal level. Alex is specialized in Labor and Employment, Discrimination and Sexual Harassment. For more info: http://mosheslaw.com/ Miriam Grobman Consulting works with organizations that want to advance more talented women into leadership roles by breaking cultural barriers and giving them the right skills to be successful. Their approach is data-driven, global and collaborative. Contact them here if you’d like to discuss the right strategy for your organization. You can follow them on Facebook page, Leadership and Women for inspiring stories about women leaders and practical career advice. Learn more at www.miriamgrobman.com and sign up for their newsletter. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Pixabay
Over 70 Companies That Have Set Gender Diversity Targets
Many employers talk about the importance of gender equality and gender diversity, but far fewer will set concrete goals for hitting diversity figures. Based on our research, these 70+ companies are employers have publicly set gender diversity targets. Please contact us if you know of an employer we've missed and we'll add them to this list! 37 Angels 500px Accenture * Adecco * Airbnb American Electric Power * AOL APCO Worldwide * Apptentive Arcadia Data Arimo AstraZeneca * Augur Bank of America * BASF Bloomberg * Box BrightBytes CAPTUREPROOF, Inc Cargill * change.org Clarifai Cloudability Coca-Cola Company * Color Genomics Conga Cylance DataSift Distil Networks Drilling Info DSC Logistics* Eastman * Edison International * Egon Zehnder EquityEats EY * ezCater, Inc. Farient Advisors* Frontier Communications * Gainsight GE GitHub GoDaddy GreatHorn, Inc. Grit Labs HealthHelp* HelpScout Hera Labs Hollar Huffington Post * Illuminate Education Intel Intrinsic Johnson & Johnson Just Born, Inc. Justworks KeyCorp * Linkage* LinkedIn * Liveoak Technologies, Inc. Lua Lyft MARi LLC MATH Venture Partners McKinsey & Co. * ManpowerGroup * Medium MetricStream* Monsanto * Moz ncino NeoGenomics Laboratories, Inc.* Nootrobox Newmont Mining Corporation * Nordstrom * Nutanix Pinterest Pluralsight POPVOX Queralt Inc Revolar SAP * Scholarium SAS ScienceVest SendGrid Showpad Simple Energy Skytap, Inc. Slyce Spencer Stuart * Spotify Springborad Growth Capital Sprinklr Inc Squord, Inc. Submittable T3.AM TaskRabbit TCGI TD Industries* TeamSnap Techstars Thrivous turnitin UnifyID Unitrends VF Corporation V School VMware Voya Financial Inc .* Xerox Willis Towers Watson * Yext YouRoom ZestFinance Zynga * Paradigm for Parity members have a mission to achieve gender parity in corporate leadership positions by 2030. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Pixabay
What To Do If You Think You’ve Been Sexually Harassed at Work
From SEZGIN KHOUSADIAN LLP Sometimes it starts with something that may seem as innocent as an introductory handshake perhaps a few seconds too long. Sometimes it’s his hand grazing her arm or shoulder while commending her on her hard work. Sometimes it’s a quick wink or what he claims is a friendly hug. Yet, at other times it could be something more aggressive, such as his nonstop demands to meet with her in his office, but for no real business purpose. It could be his request to have dinner, perhaps a quick drink just as friends. In the most extreme cases, it could be him physically exerting his will on her against every single one of her desires. Any of these situations sound familiar? Sexual harassment in the workplace exists, and it exists in many forms. And with victims often too frightened to speak up, the actual number of women subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace is even higher than we think. Although it is natural to fear termination or judgment, a victim should never be afraid to speak up and stand up for herself and other women in the workplace. Indeed, silence is not always golden. State and federal laws generally prohibit any form of sexual harassment in the workplace. The more common forms are known as quid pro quo and hostile work environment . As its name would seem to suggest, quid pro quo harassment consists of unwelcome demands for sexual favors in return for advancement or other benefits in the workplace. On the other hand, a hostile work environment consists of sexually motivated derogatory comments in the workplace. One is not exclusive of the other. And although many women often convince themselves, “It probably won’t happen again,” even a single act may amount to sexual harassment. What do I do if I believe I have been sexually harassed? Fortunately, the same laws that prohibit harassment also generally prohibit retaliation against those females who either reject unwelcome sexual advances in the workplace or those who complain about the sexually hostile work environment. This is true if the complaints are made directly to the actual harasser or some other individual in a managerial position or with the ability to take the necessary steps to end the harassment. Though it may be easier said than done, these laws should empower female employees to speak up. Although most employment is considered “at-will,” employers cannot subject an employee to an adverse employment action due to an unlawful reason or a legally protected activity. Indeed, although speaking up or rejecting unwelcome sexual advances could have negative consequences (e.g. a demotion, a cut in hours/pay, a negative evaluation, or even a termination), it does not mean that the employer has the right to subject an employee who has asserted her rights. Just a small reminder that both the victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can also be of the same sex. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual harassment or retaliation at the workplace, you should immediately consult with an attorney since time may be of the essence. Simply stated, state laws set certain deadlines for you to take action, and waiting too long may not only result in you being left without any legal recourse, but the possibility that the harasser may one day do worse to another . Remember, silence is not always golden. In fact, silence equals acceptance. It is important to stand up not only for yourself, but also to help make a difference in the world. Know your rights. -- Sezgin Khousadian LLP is a Plaintiff's Employment & Labor law firm located in Los Angeles, California. Founding partners Arthur Sezgin, Esq. and Alisa Khousadian, Esq. s pecialize in representing employees who have had their rights violated by their employers, with extensive experience in a wide range of employment matters, including harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, whistleblowing, wage and hour violations, and more. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Pixabay
Pumping At Work: Your Legal Rights and Protections
Do You Have The Legal Right To Pump Breastmilk At Work? It’s hard to believe, but the answer to this question is only “Maybe.” Under a provision called “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, a federal law popularly known as “Obamacare”, most hourly and certain nonexempt (read: salaried) employees working for an employer with at least 50 employees and who are covered by another U.S. law called the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA) are entitled to “reasonable” breaks to pump breastmilk in a private facility that is not a bathroom. In other words, it's not very straightforward to determine whether you’re protected by two separate, overlapping federal laws that apply to breastfeeding moms . To complicate things further, as of this writing, the Affordable Care Act is being debated by the U.S. Congress under the new Trump Presidential administration and may be repealed in whole or part. (This Change.org petition may interest some of you who want to ensure that moms are still entitled to the Reasonable Breaktime for Nursing Mothers provision.) Who Qualifies For Federal Protection? In general, if your employer is required to pay you overtime when you work more than 40 hours per week, then your right to pump breastmilk at work is protected by fedeeral law. This is true even if you never actually work part-time or are paid overtime. The definition is about what class of employees you fall under. If you’re a non-exempt employee, then you’re on your way to being covered under the federal breastfeeding law. However, if you work for a smaller employer with fewer than 50 employees they may be able to avoid allowing you to pump breastmilk at work if they can prove they would be subject to “undue hardship”. Finally, your job must be covered by the FLSA. That law covers you if you are employed by a hospital, school, government agency or business that provides medical or nursing care. Also, if your work involves “interstate commerce,” you are covered by the FLSA. Since it may be difficult to interpret these requirements, the United States Breastfeeding Committee provides some helpful examples of who’s covered and who’s not on their website . Examples of workers who are protected with the right to pump breast-milk at work include retail workers, factory workers, restaurant workers, call-center workers and agricultural workers. Women who are administrative professionals or executives are not covered, however. Just as there is no federally mandated paid maternity or paternity leave, and unpaid leave is only provided at the federal level to employees of firms that employ more than 50 people, there are many breastfeeding moms left without legal protections. Because federal legislation protects most hourly workers, it’s actually white collar workers who are left most unprotected. Are you wondering how this can be true when so many employers seem to have on-site lactation rooms and employ working moms? Well, many employers and companies are simply going above and beyond what’s legally required of them. Either they believe it’s the right thing to do or it makes good business sense to support their female employees who choose to nurse. What Does My Employer Have To Do? Even if you are covered and protected under the federal breastfeeding laws, you should be clear about what your employer must do. First, although you have the right to pump in a non-bathroom facility, that doesn't mean that any specific, permanent pumping facility needs to be set up. A temporary, private place is acceptable which means that employers can provide an empty offices or other room on-site into a lactation site. In terms of time, your employer must offer a "reasonable break time" to pump milk. This time also includes time for you to retrieve and set up your breast pump. However, this break time does not have to be paid, and this is especially true if other break-time offered to employees is unpaid. While the general guildelines seem clear, there are many cases that may seem to be borderline or fall into grey areas. For example, if your employer asks you to use a utility closet and employees have access to it, does this count as reasonable accommodation for pumping breastmilk? Practically speaking, if you are pumping in a facility without a locked door, you may have to create your own sign asking people to knock before use. Also, some women need more time than others to pump milk as their milk supply, flow and breasts respond differently to pumping. While some women can finish pumping in under 15 minutes, others may need over 30 minutes for set-up, pumping and cleaning. Also, some women may need to pump more frequently than every 3 hours. The variations on time and facilities for women who pump in the workplace can be wide ranging. The law will not specify all situations that are legal versus illegal so it's best to consider the spirit of the law and speak to your employer, manager or HR department if you feel that you are not getting adequate time or a sufficiently clean and private place to pump breastmilk. Other Laws That Protect Breastfeeding Moms If the federal law doesn’t cover you, some state laws also provide some additional protection. That is, unless you work in Kansas, Idaho, Georgia, North Carolina, or Alabama. The Department of Labor provides a helpful map of the states where additional protections may cover a new mother’s right to work. In some states the reach of the anti-discrimination statutes also may cover nursing mothers through cases decided in court. For example, some judges have found that an employer cannot grant a man a smoking break and not offer a woman a pumping break. However, these are indirect protections are not as easy to bring to your employer or HR department's attention since they require referring to case law. Since we're not attorneys, we urge you to contact either the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division for advice or seek out a local employment attorney if you suspect your right to pump breastmilk are being violated at work. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Pixabay
How To Create A Maternity Leave Plan
You may be wondering what a maternity leave plan is. Simply put, it’s a document that includes what you will be doing before, during and after your maternity leave. It is not legally required and may not be something anyone at work tells you to do, but creating a maternity leave plan that you can share may be a smart career move. Why You Need a Maternity Leave Plan It may not be obvious why you need a plan, but if you consider the fact that you may be gone for a substantial amount of time from your employer, it makes sense to think about how to prepare your team, colleagues and employer for your departure and return from maternity leave. For those of you lucky enough to work at an employer where extended leave is part of the policy, you may be away from work for several months. A plan can help you in the following ways: 1. Help you organize yourself. First and foremost, your maternity leave plan is for yourself. You should look at your due date and when that falls relative to your work projects and deadlines. Whatever you can anticipate now will save you stress and unnecessary anxiety, particularly if you have an earlier-than-expected birth. When do you expect to start your leave? Who will cover for you, and how? How much do you plan on staying in touch with your team? These are the details to outline, and they are important for you to think through whether or not anyone asks you to share your plan. 2. Impress your managers and colleagues. One of the reasons that a maternity leave plan can be so impressive is that not everyone will create one. By listing the information everyone could possibly want to know surrounding your departure and return, you’ve saved yourself a lot of awkward questions and provided a single point of reference for anyone interested in how you plan on staying in touch (if at all) and who will be covering for the various aspects of your job. 3. Provide a list of tactical and practical information to those stepping in to cover for you. Put yourself in your boss’ and co-workers’ shoes. If one of them were to leave the company for 8-12 weeks, what would you want to know? If someone needs to contact you for emergencies, how should they reach you? Will you plan on regular phone conversations if you’re a manager? Do you plan on delegating all your work in advance to others, and if there is more than one person covering for you, who is responsible for what issues? Consider this document a navigational tool for others in your absence. 4. Set your colleagues' and boss’ expectations. Many times, managers and colleagues feel awkward asking how much you plan on accomplishing before your leave, and even how long you plan on being away. This is because nobody wants to make open assumptions about how long your leave will be or put pressure on you to do more than you can. One of the benefits of creating a plan is to set these expectations long before they become an issue. Part 1 of Your Maternity Leave Plan: Before Your Departure We suggest starting with your due date (and sharing it) in the document. To create the initial part of your maternity leave plan, plan on working backwards for roughly 2 months prior. Set a schedule of what projects and tasks you plan on accomplishing before you leave. Don’t be shy about bragging about the achievements you plan on making during the period before you leave. This document is, in many ways, proof that you’re not leaving anyone in the lurch. Part 2 of Your Maternity Leave Plan: The Time During Your Leave Create a list of all your ongoing responsibilities that cannot be completed prior to your leave. If you have direct reports, assign them some portion of your tasks. Notify them, and set up a time to talk about their additional duties and then detail your mutual understanding in your maternity leave plan. Get your manager’s approval, if necessary, and then explain that this is a way for you to assess your direct reports’ ability to grow into new areas. This should be something they consider a career opportunity. If there isn’t anyone who can cover for you, you may need to be explicit about that and ask for help from your manager or HR department with respect to hiring a temporary replacement. Your employer will appreciate that you were proactive in anticipating their needs rather than simply walking out and announcing that nobody is around who can do your job. If you give them time, they may be able to hire someone on a temporary or contract basis. You can even volunteer to help select that person by interviewing them and training them. State how long you plan to take for maternity leave. We understand that feelings and situations may change. Premature births happen, as do situations where moms feel like they need to return to work early due to exceptional circumstances at work. But if you don’t state your expected duration, you’re creating unnecessary uncertainty. Plans are not written in stone, and they are there to help everyone understand your intentions. Part of what you should anticipate is whether you will have to (or want to) do any work while you’re out on leave. If you’re a manager, you may want weekly email or phone check-ins with your team. Or maybe you want to keep in touch with your boss, but only after the first month you’re away or the two weeks before your return so you can catch up. Be clear with everyone what you want in terms of contact and when you want to be contacted. Whatever you say is fine, but the clarity will be much appreciated. Part 3 of Your Maternity Leave Plan: Your Return From Leave If you plan on phasing back your return from work as opposed to coming back on a full schedule, you should negotiate that and present this as part of plan separately with your manager. You may want to start by coming back “early” but working part-time or remotely initially just to get back into the swing of things. If you plan on asking for a different schedule after you have a baby, don’t try to sneak it into this document and simply hand this paper over to your boss. Have a conversation with your manager about that and make that the focal point of your discussion about your maternity leave plan. Addressing how you will do your work under a new schedule and presenting it in terms of a business case and your employer’s point of view are important. Negotiating for more job flexibility when you return from maternity leave is something to do quite carefully in order to maximize your chances of success. If you plan on working full-time but limiting or changing your travel plans upon your return, this is something to bring up before you take maternity leave. Also, you may want to think about whether you want to breastfeed, as this can require time during your day and impact your travel. It’s completely possible to travel and pump, but it requires some planning, and some employers even offer reimbursement or services that facilitate the shipping of breastmilk. In sum, a maternity leave document is something you should present to your manager in order to help both yourself as well as as your boss and colleagues. Once approved, your plan (or a condensed version of it) should be shared with relevant colleagues and co-workers so that they know what you’re planning on doing before, during and after your return. While this isn’t a plan that’s written in stone, it will help you get organized and impress your coworkers. This document may not make sense for everyone, but depending on your length of leave and type of job, it can help smooth the transition away from the office and provide tactical and logistical details that will make you and everyone else feel much better about your time away. Peace of mind during maternity leave is priceless, so it’s worth front-loading some thought and planning before your baby arrives! Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Pixabay
17 Ways to Stand Out During an Interview
If you’re like most people, you walk into an interview situation feeling slightly nervous but in an overall, hopeful mood. After all, you’ve made it past the initial resume screen and know you’ve written an effective cover letter. At this point, you probably realize that you meet the basic requirements to get the job. But now what? How do you make sure you’re at your best during an interview? While you should be true to yourself, here are 17 pointers to help you distinguish yourself from other prospective candidates during an interview: 1. Dress to blend in. This is one case where the advice “Dress to impress” may be overly simplistic. If you’re interviewing to work in a very traditional, conservative office environment, this is not the time to flaunt a flamboyant cocktail dress. Of course you have every right to where what makes you feel comfortable. However, one of the purposes of an interview is to establish culture fit -- and culture goes both ways. Your hiring manager and interviewer is trying to figure out whether you will fit in, and you are trying to convince them that you do. Looking the part is a powerful signalling device that you belong. This applies to your outfit as well as your grooming. In other words, if you dyed your hair purple for the summer but plan on going in for a serious, corporate job, you may want to consider dying it back. 2. Be punctual, if not a bit early. Being on time is always a good thing, but it is particularly important to be on time for an interview. It’s ok to be early; that shows that you are responsible and eager to meet your interviewer. Interview day should not be the day you experiment with a new commute, or transportation method. Be sure that you build in a cushion for inevitable mishaps like traffic jams or finding the right building and checking in at what might be a large office complex. 3. Have a strong handshake. First impressions can be hard to shake (pun intended). That’s why your outfit, but also your posture and the strength of your handshake makes a big difference. Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, goes as far to say that it’s important to assume a “power pose” (even if you don’t feel particularly powerful or confident). Her advice is that you should “fake it until you make it” when it comes to your body language. 4. Make eye contact. Eye contact is something you can’t take for granted these days. Even if your interviewer keeps fiddling with their phone or looks around the room while you talk, you should not follow suit. There is a lot of advice about the right kind of eye contact for different situations (e.g. eye contact while you are listening may be different than when you are the speaker). It can be too awkward and stressful to overthink eye contact, but simply be aware of your gaze. Looking at your shoes or the wall momentarily is fine, but no matter how badly you think it’s going, try to generally keep your eyes focused on the person you’re speaking to 5. Make body language work for you. It’s not just your mouth talking when it comes to an interview. Body language is a powerful tool for communication and tells the interviewer a lot (whether you’re conscious of it or not). Avoid closed body positions such as crossed arms, try to mimic the interviewer’s body language and try to adopt open body positions that convey trust, such as leaning towards the person you’re speaking to (rather than away from them). 6. Convey actual enthusiasm for the role. This is not the time to be smug, no matter how qualified you are. Being excited about a job goes a lot further than you may think. If you wer the hiring manager, between two equally qualified candidates, who would you want to hire? The fact that one person seems to want a job more than someone else matters. Unless you are genuinely not sure whether you want the job, or taking a purposefully cool stance for negotiation purposes, there’s generally no downside to being very enthusiastic about the job and the company where you’re trying to get a job. 7. Answer the questions you’re asked. Have you ever watched speeches or interviews on TV where the person being interviewed doesn't answer the question asked but instead talks about whatever he or she wants? As tempting as it may be to highlight the points you would like the interviewer to remember about you, you still need to try to answer the question. Of course there's nothing wrong with answering in a way that addresses other things you want to cover, but don't forget that there was a genuine question they were interested in. 8. Give specific examples whenever possible. It is far more impressive and important for you to say that you exceeded your sales target by 50% last year than to simply state, “I’m quite good at delivering sales results.” Being factual and detail oriented shows that you know how to make a case rather than just recite facts. This is something you should have done on your resume as well, but remember that your interviewer may not have even read your resume because sometimes the person screening isn’t the same person who you are sitting down in an interview with. 9. Be positive. People like to be around positive people. This is not to say that you have to be deceptive about the fact that you’re not always feeling like Little Miss Sunshine. However, an interview is not the place to focus on negative things such as past managers, or your career mistakes. There’s a positive way to frame most things -- even really difficult career experiences such as being laid off. If you’re asked about something that feels very negative, remember to stay positive and reframe your view of events. 10. Be confident. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Sometimes it’s difficult for introverts or naturally shy people to project confidence. However, confidence is not necessarily about how much you smile or how loudly you speak. It is perfectly possible to convey confidence in your words and demeanor. What you think of yourself does rub off on other people, so your self-confidence matters a great deal. 11. Engage in some chit-chat. We are all human beings and sometimes it’s wise to try to break the ice with some casual conversation. You can talk about whether or local sports or recent events. However, don’t go overboard. Your goal is establish some sort of genuine human connection and if you can find something you have in common, that’s a great way to warm up and establish a friendly tone for the interview. Just be sure to bring it back to the job and the company. 12. Try to establish a genuine connection. One of the easiest ways to try to establish a genuine connection is to ask questions of your interviewer. How long has he or she worked there? What do they like about the company? Perhaps you can even discuss where they are from. Anything that you share in common will help you establish a genuine connection with that person. That will help make the interview feel less formal and more like a natural dialogue. 13. Don’t force yourself into an unnatural position. If you really hate what your hiring manager is saying about the role, or believe you will never get along with him / her, you shouldn’t prolong the interview or try to make it work out. You don’t have to walk out on the spot, but sometimes you have to know when it’s time to cut your losses and move on...in a polite and respectful way, of course. 14. Ask thoughtful questions. There are certain canned questions anyone can ask during an interview but a thoughtful question stands out because it demonstrates a genuine interest. A thoughtful question could be about how certain business trends have impacted a particular line of business, or they can be more personal and subjective. Really trying to understand the company and role in advance of the interview will make thoughtful questions come more naturally when you're on the spot. 15. Listen to the answers you receive. We’ve talked before about the importance of communication in an interview. Therefore, when you ask a question, be sure to really listen to the answer. Don’t just ask a question and then zone out. Use answers to formulate your next thoughtful question, if appropriate. 16. Give compliments whenever possible. Everyone wants to feel loved. You can compliment the company for it’s growth, ihe quality of its products and services, or its culture. Regardless of what you choose to focus on, dropping compliments in through the interview or at the beginning of a conversation sets a tone for the entire interview. Compliments make the other party feel good about themselves and also gives a foundation to your enthusiasm. 17. Follow up with a thank you. Even if you thanked your interviewer for their time in person (which you should do!), you should always follow up with a thank you note . Try to write the note within 24 hours of your interview while the memory of your meeting is still fresh in your mind. Even if you get no response, it is all part of continuing to convey enthusiasm for a role. It also shows you are organized and conscientious and still interested in the job (which you can also reiterate in this thank you note). To some extent, whether you get a job is out of your control. You don’t know who else is interviewing and whether you will get unlucky and have bad chemistry with your interviewer. However, if you incorporate some of these tips into your interview, you’ll be off to a running start. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Career Planning: When To Have Children, Childcare Costs and Whether to Take A Career Break
One of the most powerful and famous lines in Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “ Lean In ” was “Don’t leave before you leave.” What Sandberg was referring to is the notion that women start planning for their future work-life balance before it’s necessary. In the relevant excerpt , she writes: A few years ago, a young woman at facebook began asking me lots of questions about how I balance work and family. I inquired if she and her partner were considering having a child. She replied that she did not have a husband, then added with a little laugh, “Actually, I don’t even have a boyfriend.” While it may be true that women are socialized to think about the tradeoffs between family and work (and Sandberg cites a Princeton University survey where 62% of undergraduate women anticipated work/family conflict compared to 33% of undergraduate men), the real issue may not be that women are planning too far in advance. The real issue may simply be that men are not doing enough of this planning, so that by default, the social assumption is that in a heterosexual household, the burden of family will fall on the woman (who has been psychologically prepared to do this for quite some time). Of course, there’s no requirement or law that one has to plan their career or plan for a family (to the extent that that is even possible). However, for those of you who like to plan or think about your plans, it may be helpful to understand some basic facts around when women have children, the costs and options for childcare, and the impact of children on the careers of other women in a variety of different jobs and roles. When Women Have Children The average age of the first time mother in America is 26. This average age for first time motherhood has been rising steadily for the past 45 years and though there are multiple factors contributing to that age increase such as increased access to contraception and public health education, it also makes sense from a financial point of view. A typical 26 year old has worked for 4 years after college, and her earnings after taxes may not provide a comfortable cushion after childcare expenses are factored in. Many commentators have pointed to the fact that high child care costs in the United States may be leading many middle class, professional women to decide it’s simply not worth it to work. Indeed, the gender pay gap is exacerbated by motherhood. One study found that the women’s salaries tend to max out between the ages of 35 and 40 (compared to men whose salaries tend to rise until they are well into their 50’s) but that the widening of salaries between men and women happened when they became parents, with women seeing their salaries slip 4% for every child they had. Taken together, these facts suggest that while some women may delay childbirth for financial reasons (i.e. so they are in a more senior position with greater earning power before they have children), they nevertheless will start to see income declines around the time they have children. For most highly educated women, motherhood doesn’t start until the 30’s , according to a Pew Research poll. Among women who are in their 40’s and 50’s who hold at least a Master’s degree, the median age for their first child was age 30. Anecdotally, among professional women, many consciously choose to postpone childbirth until after medical school and residency, or after law school, and in some extreme cases even after they make “Managing Director” or Partner at their financial services firms or consulting companies. The public, however, is split on the best age for women to have children if they aspire to reach a “top executive position”. According to the same survey, approximately one-third of the American public believed that it would be more advantageous to have a child earlier in your career, 40% said it would be better to wait until a woman is well-established in her career, and 20% even said that it would be better for this woman not to have children at all. While the decision of when to have children is obviously personal, there are also implications for a woman who is thinking ahead to the childcare options she’ll have to use in order to be a working mom. How Much Does Childcare Cost? It’s no secret that child care is expensive. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies , the average cost of sending a child to daycare in America is close to $12,000 per year, per child. Compare this to the median household income of approximately $52,000 per year and you can see that having 2 children in daycare becomes a financial impossibility for many families. This issue of childcare has caused many families -- and may cause you -- to think hard about whether it makes financial sense to work. If one parent works at home to take care of the children and household, his or her work could save the family an average of $25,000. In other places, such as big cities, you would have to make far more in order to cover the costs of childcare. In New York City, for example, child care costs have been said to easily “ equal $25,000 to $30,000 per child .” After taxes, that means it only makes financial sense to work if you can clear that amount after taxes and your work-related expenses (e.g. commute and transportation costs, as well as incidental items that can add up such as lunches and work wardrobe). The labor costs and market dynamics for child care options can vary dramatically depending on local labor markets and other market conditions. Of course, there are more expensive options such as private nannies, as well as cheaper options (e.g. home-based daycare or shared and part-time nannies, as well as au pairs) depending on where you live. Some families may even be able to rely on the help of family members such as grandparents. There are pros and cons to each form of child care, which is beyond the scope of this piece, but suffice it to say that it is a big decision and one that may depend in part on when a woman decides to have children and may impact what kind of job options and career paths she pursues. Whether to Take a Career Break More millennial women are contemplating taking a career break than the generation of women before them. Young women are reportedly anticipating that they may have to “dial down” or “dial up” their careers at different times to adjust for their families. Indeed, it does appear that the labor force participation rate for women has plateaued in recent years, after rising for decades. In other words, women appear to be dropping out of the workforce . While there are many reasons for women “opting out” of the workforce , there is a high price to pay whenever a woman leaves the workforce entirely for a period of time. According to one calculator , the cost incurred by a 26-year old woman earning $50,000 a year who drops out of the workforce for 3 years to care for a child is not only foregoing $150,000 of lost wages, but additional foregone income growth which amounts to an additional $200,000 and $165,000 in lost benefits and retirement assets. In other words, her total potential income loss over her lifetime is over $500,000. Another view of what happens when women take career breaks is incredibly sobering for anyone who accepts the loss of earnings but believes they will simply go back to doing what they did before (or something similar). One study found that only 40% of women who took career breaks subsequently were able to return to full time work. Of those who re-entered the workforce, 25% took jobs with fewer management responsibilities or lower job titles —and the jobs paid, on average, about 16 percent less than their previous ones. This data is not meant to deter anyone from making a decision to take a career break or even leave the workforce completely. It is simply meant to help you make a decision with the data that’s currently available about the impact of your decision on your future finances and career prospects. As one alumnae of Harvard Business explains her thinking about career and life planning: “Just as we look at strategies of companies, a lot of H.B.S. people are putting together strategies for their life.” However, it’s not women who have attended Harvard Business School who are thinking about their strategies for their work and life! Finding the right employer, job and childcare options and thinking through when and why you may want to take a career break are all important pieces of planning and navigating (however imperfectly) through a multi-faceted life filled with the many rich and rewarding experiences most of us seek. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Pixabay
70+ Companies That Offer Mentoring or Sponsorship Programs
As almost everyone with a successful career can attest, having a mentor or sponsor can make a huge difference at work. For women, having a mentor or sponsor is particularly important since we have been shown to have weaker professional links and career networks [cite]. The problem, unfortunately is that there generally aren’t enough mentors or sponsors to go around for everyone who may want (or need) one. How can we disrupt this status quo? At an individual level, women can take certain matters into their own hands. If you’re a senior woman at your company, you can consciously carve out time out to mentor other women and amplify the contributions of other women around you. If you’re just starting out in your career or somewhere in the middle of it, you can also make it a point to try to develop authentic relationships over time with colleagues, managers and executives. Companies, too, can play a role. Many employers offer formal mentoring programs that involve companies creating pairings among employees. In 2013, a survey by the Society of Human Resource Management found that 20% of organizations offer their employees formal mentoring programs. In larger companies, these programs are more common, with the American Society for Training and Development finding that 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer formal mentorship programs. Though we were not able to find a comprehensive list, we discovered that the following 63 companies do offer some type of mentorship program*: Abbott AbbVie Accenture ADP Aetna Allstate Insurance Company Apple AT&T BASF Boeing Colgate-Palmolive Comcast Cox Communications Cummins Daimler Dell Deloitte Dow Jones EF Education First Eli Lilly and Company EY General Electric General Mills Google Hartford Insurance IBM Intel JCPenney Johnson & Johnson Kaiser Permanente KeyCorp KPMG Kraft Foods Group Marriott International Mars Mastercard Medtronic Merck & Co Monsanto New York Life Nielsen Northrop Grumman Novartis OnDeck Rockwell Collins Royal Bank of Canada Procter & Gamble Prudential Financia l PwC Salesforce Sodexo Square Target TD Bank The Coca-Cola Company TIAA-CREF Time Warner Time Warner Cable Toyota Motor North America Verizon Communications Walgreens Wells Fargo Wyndham Worldwide Zynga Mentorship pairings can be cross-departmental, can involve senior-employees assigned to more junior-level employees, or even peer mentor matching. Some companies take things to another level and offer official sponsorship programs for women or other minorities. Sponsorships are a highly specific type of mentorship that requires someone to make a bigger investment in a mentee. The idea is that a senior leader or person in a position of power at a company uses their influence and clout to advocate for another employee who is seen as having high potential. Information about corporate sponsorship programs was more scarce, but we discovered that the following 11 companies offer formal sponsorship programs. American Express AT&T Citi Credit Suisse Crowell & Moring Deloitte Deutsche Bank EY Genentech Intel Morgan Stanley While sponsorship is positioned as a key way to increase the number of women in leadership positions, ultimately, the devil seems to reside in the details. Mentorship and sponsorship initiatives seem to come in many shapes and sizes. Implementation, adoption (and probably efficacy) vary widely even among companies with formal programs in place. Over the long run, we also hope to highlight some of the best practices, learnings and success stories from these programs as well, so that all employers may benefit from the wisdom of the crowds. Please contact us if you would like to share details and success stories regarding your company’s sponsorship and mentorship programs! *Based on a range of publicly available information sources available on the internet. For any corrections or additions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
50 Great Career Resources for Women
There are many great resources online for women looking for community, support, education, events and other resources to advance their careers. The following 50 organizations have a lot to offer women in the workplace. Some are focused on women working in a particular industry, while others are focused on education, students or span across all industries. 100 Women in Hedge Funds is a global association of more than 10,000 professional women. Ada’s List is a global community for women in technology and around the internet to find support, community and advice, among other things. Birds on the Blog is a glossy online magazine for business women, written by business women. Bossed Up provides resources, expert training and community for women at work. Career Contessa is an online career development and mentorship platform. Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization with a mission to accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion. CEW is a global network of beauty professionals who create a forum for collaboration, idea exchange and growth. ChickTech is a nonprofit that creates hands-on tech events to empower women to stay in tech and encourage girls to join the industry. Classy Career Girl has a mission to help 2,000 women launch their dream careers and businesses by 2018. Committee of 200 tries to foster, celebrate and advance women’s leadership in business. Corporette provides fashion, lifestyle and career advice for “overachieving chicks”. Daily Worth provides financial advice and resources to women looking to better manage their money. Dreamers Doers is a membership community of entrepreneurial women providing resources, education and networking opportunities. Ellevate Network is a network and community of professional women who meet at events, network digitally and support each other. Formerly known as 85 Broads. Emerging Women provides resources and community for women looking to help women lead, start and grow their own businesses in a way that integrates core feminine values. Financial Women’s Association is a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate the leadership and success of women across the financial community in all industries by fostering alliances and offering educational programming and content. Girls Who Code offers free educational programs and after-school communities for teenage girls interested in learning how to code. Grace Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to providing tuition-free job training and placement services for economically disadvantaged women. HerAgenda is a digital media platform working to “bridge the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women”. iRelaunch is an advocate for professionals returning to the workplace after a career break providing content and education since 2007. I Want Her Job is an online community of women featuring career conversations for independent-thinking women. LadyBoss is a platform for professional growth, for women in creative industries. LeanIn is a nonprofit that supports women through community, education and circles of small groups that meet monthly. Momentum is a non-profit providing leadership, education and advocacy to support mothers in meeting today’s personal and professional challenges. Monarq has a mission to empower more females to start, fund and grow successful startup businesses. Ms. Career Girl aims to help ambitious young professional women find passion in their profession, or a profession out of their passions. Ms. JD is dedicated to the success of women in law, and provides resources for students as well as professionals. National Association of Women Lawyers has a mission to provide leadership and resources to advance women in the legal profession. Network of Executive Women is a learning and leadership community offering learning, events, best practices and reseach and leadership development programs to advance women. Penelope Trunk offers career and life advice on her blog which also features online coaching and courses. Pink Petro is a global membership community of women working in the energy industry. She Owns It celebrates, connects and supports women entrepreneurs. Show Me 50 is a nonprofit whose mission is to achieve 50% women in senior leadership in corporate America. Take the Lead Women is a nonprofit whose ambition is gender parity in leadership. The Boardlist is a platform for business leaders to connect with prospective women for director positions within tech companies. The Boss Network has a mission to promote and encourage the small business spirit and career development of women through event-based and online networking. The Broadsheet is a daily newsletter by Fortune that provides news and current events information about women leaders and women in the workplace. The Everygirl is on online resource to help “shape the creative, career-driven woman to experience her life better lived.” The Forte Foundation is a nonprofit consortium of business schools and companies who are working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers. The Girls’ Lounge is a “go to” destination at industry conferences for women to connect, inspire and collaborate on changes they want to see in the workplace. The Li.st is a “membership and visibility platform for professional women.” Watermark is a nonprofit whose mission is to increase the number of women in leadership. WebGrrls is an international membership network whose mission is to empower women through technology and to encourage them to learn about and use technology to propel their businesses and careers. Women@Forbes provides regular career advice, information about workplace trends and inspirational stories of women to help “every woman take her next step forward.” Women 2.0 is a community of women working in technology, providing career and startup advice and content. Women in the Boardroom gives its members education and connections to help women achieve corporate director roles. Women of Influence produces events across the country. Their programs serve to “fill the gap for women looking for mentors and like-minded individuals.” Women Who Code is a global nonprofit whose mission is to help women engineers build the careers they want. Working Mother is a “mentor, role model and advocate for the country’s more than 17 million moms who are devoted to their families and committed to their careers.” WorkMuse helps businesses and individuals find work-life balance through job-sharing opportunities. This is an evolving list that is in no way intended to be comprehensive. If you have any suggestions of career resources for women that we may have missed, please let us know at email@example.com and we'll do our best to add it. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Pregnancy, Maternity Leave, and Paternity Leave in Washington State
Maternity and paternity leave for employees working in Washington state is a right under federal and state law, for certain eligible employees. In addition, birth mothers may be entitled to take additional time off under a state anti-discrimination law. How Much Maternity Leave Am I Entitled To Take? Under the federal law, FMLA , eligible employees are allowed to take at least 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12 month period. Under Washington State’s Family Leave Act (FLA), eligible employees are also allowed to take 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12 month period following the birth or adoption of a child. FMLA and FLA run concurrently if you qualify for both, so that means a total of 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. In addition, under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination, you may qualify for pregnancy disability leave if you are eligible and this is certified by your health care provider. Typically this is between 6-8 weeks depending on the type of birth you have. If you qualify for both FLA and pregnancy disability, you will typically be entitled to 6+12=18 weeks of maternity leave. What About Paternity Leave ? FLA and FMLA are gender-neutral so applies to both fathers and mothers. However, FLA is available for registered domestic partners whereas FMLA is not. Pregnancy disability is obviously only available to the pregnant parent. Am I Eligible for FMLA, FLA, or Pregnancy Disability Leave? The eligibility requirements for FMLA and FLA are nearly identical. To qualify, you must have worked for your employer at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period preceding your requested leave. Your employer also must have employed at least 50 employees for 20 workweeks (in the current or prior calendar year) within 75 miles of your worksite in order to be covered under the laws. To qualify for pregnancy disability leave, you must work for a company with at least 8 employees if pregnancy-related conditions disable you from working. The law technically treats pregnancy and childbirth recovery as any other short-term disability and requires that employers must treat these “disabilities” the same as any other short-term disability. In other words, your employer cannot require special notice, or benefit changes unless they do so as a matter of policy for all other employees who may encounter a short-term disability. What If I Qualify for FMLA, FLA and/or Pregnancy Disability Leave? FLA and FMLA run concurrently, meaning that if you qualify for both, then the maximum time period for your leave is 12 weeks. Pregnancy disability, however, runs before FLA kicks in so if you qualify for both FLA and pregnancy disability, you will probably at least 18 weeks of unpaid leave because FLA and pregnancy disability do not run concurrently. Do I Get Paid During My Maternity or Paternity Leave? Some employers may offer paid maternity or paternity leave but this is a voluntary benefit and not required under either federal nor state law. In 2007, Washington state passed a Family Leave Insurance program but it has not yet been implemented due to no appropriations to fund the bill. In the meantime, you can elect to take out private short-term disability insurance to cover lost wages during your pregnancy (though you typically have to do this before you become pregnant). You cannot unfortunately collect unemployment benefits during your leave. Read our piece on tips for how to survive an unpaid maternity leave . What If I Have Other Questions? We are not attorneys and have only attempted to summarize publicly available information regarding your maternity leave and pregnancy rights. You may consult Washington State’s Family Leave Act Q&A and the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for further information about FMLA . If you believe your FLA rights have been violated, you may also file a complaint . Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Pregnancy and Maternity Leave for Louisiana Employees
If you’re pregnant and work in the state of Louisiana, you may have a right to maternity leav e under federal and Louisiana state laws. FMLA and The Louisiana Fair Employment Practices Act FMLA is a federal law that applies to certain employers and employees. If you’ve worked for a company for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to when your leave begins, you are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. This applies to both mothers and fathers. One of the most common reasons FMLA does not apply to workers is that you may be employed by a smaller company because FMLA only applies to employees who work for an employer with at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of your work site. If your employer is smaller than this, they are not obligated under law to provide any leave for you after the birth of your child. In this situation, however, if you work in Louisiana, you may be entitled to time off under the Louisiana Fair Employment Practices Act (FEP). The FEP requires that employers give pregnant women having babies at least 6 weeks of unpaid leave (and up to 4 months if you experience medical complications that require it, e.g. bed rest during your pregnancy or postpartum medical issues). Technically. the law is requiring that employers treat pregnancy and childbirth as a “disability” for which employers are also required to give employees time off. However, pregnant employees are treated as a separate category and must be given leave even if similar leaves are not given to other employees with temporary disabilities. Am I Eligible for Leave under FEP? To be eligible for leave under FEP, you must work for an employer that has employed more than 25 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or prior calendar year. However, since this is based on pregnancy, only mothers (and not fathers, nor adoptive parents) are eligible for this type of leave. In other words, if you don't qualify for FMLA, there is no paternity leave for employees working in Louisiana. Will I Receive Any Pay During My Leave? Unfortunately, unless your employer offers paid benefits on a voluntary basis, they are under no legal obligation to pay you any part of your salary during your maternity leave. The U.S. is one of two industrialized countries in the world that do not offer any paid leave, and Louisiana is not one of the few states that offer any wage coverage during maternity leave, either. You can take out a short-term disability insurance policy to cover your lost wages during pregnancy and post-partum recovery but to qualify, you typically must do so before you become pregnant. For tips on how to survive an unpaid maternity leave, please read our suggestions here. In some cases, your employer may require that you use other forms of paid leave (e.g. sick days, vacation days or other banks of paid-time-off) during your maternity leave. Under the law, you are required to exhaust these paid days before your unpaid leave begins. What Notice and Forms Do I Need to Fill Out? Assuming you do not give birth early on an emergency or unpredictable basis, you should endeavor to give our employer 30 days notice in written form. If you cannot do this for emergency reasons, you should tell your supervisor as soon as possible. If you have a normal pregnancy and birth, you do not need to provide a doctor’s certification for your leave. If, however, you require a longer than 6 weeks leave due to medical complications, you will need to provide a medical certification to your employer documenting this need. What If I Qualify for Leave under FEP and FMLA? Your two leave periods run concurrently; in other words, you only receive a maximum of 12 weeks under FMLA and a maximum of 4 months if you experience medical complications. if you have a normal pregnancy and birth, then your maximum leave period if you qualify for both FMLA and leave under FEP is 12 weeks. What If I Have Further Complaints or Issues? We are not attorneys and have merely tried to summarize publicly available information regarding this sometimes confusing topic to help women in the workplace. You can consult Louisiana’s Division of Administration’s Office of Human Resources for further information (including their latest document here ) for further information. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Maternity and Paternity Leave for Maryland Employees
If you’re pregnant and interested in learning about your maternity leave rights in Maryland, we’ve tried to summarize the high-level things you should know about how much leave you can take and whether you have any other related maternity leave rights. Please note that we are not attorneys and created this resource to help women in the workplace; for further information please consult Maryland’s Department of Labor website. Do I Receive Maternity Leave and for How Long? Employers always may voluntarily provide you with maternity leave and you must check with your HR department if you’re unsure of your company’s policies. However, companies are under no legal obligation to offer any paid leave. Two laws may provide you with the right to unpaid leave, however: (1) FMLA is a federal law providing up to 12 job-protected unpaid weeks of leave to certain eligible employers, and (2) Maryland’s Parental Leave Act which provides the right to 6 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. What Is the Maryland Parental Leave Act (PLA)? Since October 2014, employers in Maryland with between 15 employees must provide their employees up to six weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. How Do I Find Out Whether I’m Eligible for FMLA or PLA? To qualify for FMLA, you and your employer must meet certain eligibility criteria. You must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to leave for an employer who employees at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite. If your employer has fewer than this number of employees, then you may still qualify for PLA. To qualify for PLA, you must have worked at least 1,250 hours prior to the start of your leave for the prior 12 months and you must be employed at a work location in Maryland in which at least 15 employees work within a 75 mile radius. Why Do I Not Receive Pay During My Leave? The U.S. is unfortunately one of only 2 industrialized nations that does not offer any pay coverage during maternity leave. While some employers voluntarily provide this benefit, and you may take out private short-term disability insurance if you are worried about how to survive an unpaid maternity leave, the truth is that approximately only 12% of women in American receive any access to pay during their maternity leave. For tips on how to manage your finances during an unpaid maternity leave, please read our suggestions here . Under PLA, you are allowed to use your accrued vacation, sick and paid time off days during your leave. In fact, your employer may require that you do this. However, if your employer offers more than one type of paid time off (e.g. sick days and personal days), you can choose to only use one type of leave for your paid time off (as opposed to all your accrued paid time off days). Does PLA Cover Mothers and Fathers? Yes, PLA and FMLA are both gender neutral laws so it covers maternity as well as paternity leave . What If I Qualify for Both FMLA and PLA? You may qualify for both FMLA and PLA, in which case you will receive a maximum of 12 weeks of paid time off. In other words, your right to job leave under both laws runs concurrently (not consecutively). What Do I Need to Do In Order to Take Leave We’ve written about the FMLA rules and processes here. Under PLA, you are not required to give your employer documentation for your leave, though they may request it and you may want to provide it. However, you are required to give your employer at least 30 days notice if possible. In the case of an emergency or premature birth, this 30 day rule does not apply. What Happens to My Benefits While I’m On Leave? Under both FMLA and PLA, your employer must continue to maintain your health plan coverage while you are on leave. If you do not return to work after your leave, your employer may recover the premiums they paid on your behalf, however. What Are My Other Rights? You are entitled to return to the same or equivalent position when your leave period is over. If you believe your rights have been violated, you may file a claim with the state of Maryland’s Department of Labor . Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Maternity and Paternity Leave in Maine
In addition to any maternity or paternity leave benefits your employer may offer, the Maine Family Medical Leave Act (MFLMA) and federal law also offer pregnant and new parents some rights and protections when it comes to taking time off after the birth of a child or adoption. However, only certain employees qualify so it’s important to understand your rights. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about maternity leave in the state of Maine. Am I Eligible for Leave Under FMLA or MFLMA? We’ve written elsewhere about the requirements to qualify for FMLA but in Maine, the MFLA is more inclusive of those who work at smaller companies. If you’ve worked for at least 1 year for a private employer with more than 15 employees; a state agency; or a city, town or municipal agency with 25 or more employers. Are Mothers and Fathers Both Eligible for Leave? Yes, under both FMLA and MFLMA, both parents of newborn children, regardless of children are eligible to take leave so long as they meet the other requirements. How Much Leave Will I Receive? If you meet the eligibility requirements, you are allowed to take up to 10 weeks of unpaid leave in any 2 year period. That leave must be continuous for parental leave reasons; you cannot take 2 weeks and then come back to work for 4 weeks and then take an additional 8 weeks, unless, of course, your employer agrees. How Much Do I Get Paid During My Leave? Unless you have taken out short-term disability insurance or your employer offers paid leave, unfortunately you have no legal rights to pay during your maternity or paternity leave. You may use any accrued paid time off, vacation or sick days during your 10 week parental leave. What Happens to My Benefits During Leave? Under FMLA, your employer must continue to pay for your group healthcare benefits as they previously did (though you may still be responsible for certain premiums). Similarly, under MFMLA, your benefits must continue as if you were not on leave. However, this applies to not just healthcare but other benefits, as well. What Kind of Notice Requirements and Other Rules Should I Know About? Your employer must reinstate you when you return to the same or “equivalent” job. You must tell your employer at least 30 days before you take your leave, if possible and not an emergency. If for some reason, your newborn or spouse is ill, you or your spouse may receive up to 40 hours of paid leave under another law in Maine, the Maine Family Care Act. If this happens during your parental leave, the two leave periods run concurrently (meaning you can take a total of 10 weeks, not 11 weeks) and one of the 10 weeks will be the paid week under the Maine Family Care Act. What If I Have Further Questions or Believe My Rights Have Been Violated? You may contact the Maine Department of Labor to file a complaint if you believe your rights have been violated. Please note that while we are not attorneys, we've summarized what we could find from publicly available sources regarding your leave rights as a Hawaii employee. You may also file a complaint with Hawaii’s Civil Rights Commission within 180 days if you believe you have been discriminated based on your pregnancy. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Maternity Leave and Short Term Disability in Hawaii: An Overview of What You Should Know
Most American women do not receive any rights to paid family leave but if you’re a pregnant woman working in the State of Hawaii, or you are expecting your spouse to have a child, you are in luck. The state of Hawaii provides three different laws that provide for paid maternity and paternity leave for qualifying individuals. On top of that, you also have access to federally protected unpaid leave if you qualify under FMLA. The three different state regulations are: The Hawaii Family Leave Law (or HFLL), the Hawaii State Disability Program and Hawaii Statute 383-7.6 which expands the definition of what it means to be eligible for unemployment benefits. Let’s look at each of these three laws: How Much Leave Will I Receive Under Hawaii’s Disability Program? Mothers (not fathers) are entitled to receive pay during the time that she cannot work due to the physical disability of being pregnant and/or postpartum recovery. Typically, for postpartum recovery, medical providers will certify your “disability” for up to 6 weeks for a vaginal birth and up to 8 weeks for a C-section birth. Employers may or may not request medical verification from a medical care provider of your inability to work due to pregnancy or childbirth. To qualify for disability benefits, you must have worked for at least 20 hours per week for 14 weeks in Hawaii and earned at least $400 in the year prior to the day you first claim disability benefits. The 14 weeks of work you are required to become eligible may have occurred at different employers. That is because TDI is actually an insurance program that the state of Hawaii requires every employer in Hawaii to take out on behalf of their employees. How Much Pay Do I Receive Under Hawaii’s Temporary Disability Insurance Program? Your employer’s plan (which must have been approved by the state) may differ from other employers’ plans but generally, the minimum benefits are that you must receive 58% of your average weekly wages, rounded up to the nearest dollar, with a maximum weekly benefit of $570 in 2016. Every year, the maximum will change. The waiting period for your first payment is 7 consecutive days (meaning you will be paid on the 8th day of your disability). You cannot take more than a maximum of 26 weeks of benefit payments per year. How Do I Apply for Temporarily Disability Insurance? You must file a claim on Form TDI-45 which you may obtain either by contacting Hawaii’s Department of Labor or your own employer. The claim must be filed within 90 days of the date you were disabled or you may lose part of your benefit unless you can show good reason for the filing delay. Answers to frequently asked questions about Hawaii’s short term disability insurance program may be found here . What Rights Do I Have Under HFLL? If you have worked for at least 6 months at a company (with no minimum number of hours required) with at least 100 part-time, temporary or intermittent employees located in the state of Hawaii for at least 20 weeks, then you are entitled to 4 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. Both mothers and fathers may take this leave and do not have to share the 4 week allotment if they work for the same employer. In addition, you also have the right to use up to 10 days of accrued sick days to care for a newly born infant or recently adopted child. This paid leave can also be used to care for a spouse with a pregnancy-related disability or for a spouse recovering from childbirth. However, some important caveats apply to taking paid sick leave for your maternity leave period. If your employer does not offer paid sick days off, or offers less than 10 days of sick days or doesn’t have a sick leave policy at all, then HFLL does not require that employer to create one for you or expand their policy to cover your situation. In other words, mothers and fathers have the right to use up to 10 days of accrued paid sick leave for parental leave if they had that right and benefit to paid sick time off in the first place. Am I Really Eligible to Collect Unemployment While I’m Out on Maternity or Paternity Leave? Yes, if you become “separated” from your employer. In other words, if you end your employment during your parental leave period, you may start collecting unemployment benefits. What Rights Do I Have Under FMLA? We have previously written about FMLA extensively and you may consult the benefits you can receive and qualifications for eligibility in our summary of FMLA here . What If I Qualify for FMLA and HFLL and Pregnancy Disability Leave? The leave periods run concurrently so that you may want to take your disability leave which provides [some/complete??] wage coverage and then any accrued sick leave (e.g. up to 10 days paid) followed by whatever remaining number of weeks you may still have under FMLA. To use an example, if you are out on pregnancy disability for 6 weeks, and then qualify to use your accrued sick leave of 10 days, you have taken 8 weeks of leave and still have another 4 weeks remaining under FMLA. What If I Have Other Questions? You may consult Hawaii’s Labor Department for frequently asked questions about family leave in Hawaii or Hawaii’s Civil Rights Commission’s Pregnancy Discrimination Fact Sheet . Please note that while we are not attorneys, we've summarized what we could find from publicly available sources regarding your leave rights as a Hawaii employee. You may also file a complaint with Hawaii’s Civil Rights Commission within 180 days if you believe you have been discriminated based on your pregnancy. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Massachusetts Maternity Leave: Your Rights and Overview
The Masachusetts Maternity Leave Act (or MMLA ) gives qualifying women and men up to 8 weeks of job-protected leave for the birth or adoption of a child under the age of 18. How Do I Qualify for Maternity Leave Under MMLA? If you have worked at a company with at least 6 employees for at least three consecutive months as a full-time employee or exceeded your probationary period (if such a period exists at your employer) which can be less but cannot be longer than three months, you are eligible for MMLA. Do Both My Spouse / Partner and I Receive Leave Under MMLA? Recent amendments (in 2015) to MMLA make fathers and non-birth parents eligible for parental leave. However, if you work for the same employer as the other parent of the child, then the maximum amount of leave (i.e. 8 weeks) must be shared by both employees. What Are the Notice Requirements for MMLA? You must tell your employer at least 2 seeks in advance of your intended leave start date and intended date of return. If you cannot for some reason do this, e.g. due to an emergency and unforeseen early birth, you can simply tell your employer as soon as practical. What If I Qualify for FMLA and MMLA? FMLA is a federal law requiring that eligible employees are provided with up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to bond and care for a new baby or adopted child. However, approximately 40% of employees do not qualify for FMLA due to working for a small employer or otherwise not meeting tenure requirements (e.g. you must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the 12 months prior to your leave). However, just because you don’t qualify for FMLA does not mean you cannot take advantage of MMLA. Some employees will find they qualify for both FMLA and MMLA. If that describes your situation, you may use FMLA in lieu of MMLA, as both run concurrently. What Rights Do I Have When I’m On Parental Leave Under MMLA? You have the right to be restored to your previous (or similar) position with the same pay, benefits, advancement, benefits or other rights you previously had. The seniority and benefits you would have received had you not taken parental leave must not be affected simply because you have taken parental leave. Moreover, if your employer voluntarily grants you additional leave (beyond the 8 weeks), then they must also follow the same benefits and job-restoration rules had you simply taken the 8 weeks you were entitled to. Please note that while we are not attorneys, we've summarized what we could find from publicly available sources regarding your leave rights as a Vermont employee. Special Provisions for Boston City Employees and Other Public Sector Employees The City of Boston, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts Treasurer’s office have all offered paid leave to their employees who have become parents. In Boston, city employees will receive up to to 6 weeks of paid leave during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. The pay they receive is based on a sliding scale of how much time they get off and is pegged to their salary. Employees are paid at their full salary for the first two weeks of their leave, followed by 75% for the third and fourth weeks of their leave and 50% of their salary for the final two weeks of their 6 week leave period. To be eligible, city employees must have worked for Boston for at least one year. At the Treasurer’s Office, you will receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a birth, adoption or care of a foster child. You will also get up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. To qualify, you must have worked for at least 6 months. At the Attorney General’s office, you will receive 30 days of full paid leave within the first 12 months of a child’s birth, adoption or placement in your care of a foster child. You must have worked at least 3 months for the Attorney General in order to qualify. In both offices, men and women both qualify. If you work for the state of Massachusetts (other than the Attorney General’s Office of Treasurer’s Office), then you will use MMLA. What If I Have Other Questions? Please review the Massachusetts State Maternity Leave Guidelines and note that while we are not attorneys, we've summarized what we could find from publicly available sources regarding your leave rights as a Massachusetts employee. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Vermont Parental Leave: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Vermont Pregnancy, Maternity and Paternity FAQs In all of our research about state and federal laws applying to maternity leave, one of the clearest and most concise explanations we’ve seen exists on the State of Vermont’s website here . Please note that while we are not attorneys, we've summarized what we could find from publicly available sources regarding your leave rights as a Vermont employee. Federal Law Providing Parental Leave We’ve already written about federal parental leave laws under FMLA , but to quickly summarize the rules, parents of newborn children or newly adopted children are eligible for up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave so long as you have worked for a qualified employer for at least 1,250 hours in the year prior to you taking leave. A qualified employer is one who employs at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your work site. Vermont Law on Maternity and Paternity Leave In Vermont, there is not a “ maternity leave ” law, per se. Parental Leave covers both mothers and fathers. Parental leave allows pregnant women to take unpaid time off during their pregnancies, as well as providing that both male and female employees who adopt a child under the age of 16, or have a newborn child may take unpaid leave. How Much Leave Can I Take Under Vermont’s Parental Leave Law? If you qualify, you are allowed to take 12 weeks of leave under either (or both) FMLA and Vermont’s state law. You may still receive welfare benefits if you are on parental leave, but you may not collect unemployment insurance. To help those of you struggling with the financial burden of unpaid parental leave, we have provided some tips here. How Do I Know If I Qualify for Vermont Parental Leave? We’ve already discussed the eligibility requirements for FMLA, but in Vermont, the rules cover workers who are employed by smaller companies as well. So long as your employer employs at least 10 employees who work an average of 30 hours per week per year that employer must provide parental leave to qualifying employees. To qualify as an employee, you must have been employed for at least 12 months prior to maternity or paternity leave, and worked an average of 30 hours per week during that time. What If I Qualify for Both FMLA and Vermont Parental Leave? You will only get a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave in total because both leave periods run concurrently within the first 12 months following the birth or adoption of your child. Am I Paid During My Parental Leave in Vermont? Unfortunately, not unless your employer voluntarily provides paid parental leave benefits or you have privately taken out a short-term disability policy to cover your prenatal and postpartum time away from work. You may request that your employer allow you to use any paid time off you have accrued (e.g. vacation days, sick days, or personal days) for up to 6 of the 12 weeks you are entitled to parental leave. However, your employer cannot force you to do so. If you choose to keep your paid days off for a separate use, that is your prerogative. If you're struggling financially, you may want to consider our ten tips for surviving an unpaid maternity leave . Do I Have to Take My Maternity Leave All At One Time? Under FMLA, generally yes, unless there is a medical reason for you not to. Under Vermont law, you may take your 12 weeks of parental leave in an intermittent way so long as it is used within 12 months following the birth or adoption of a child. What Happens to My Benefits While I’m Out on Leave? It depends on whether you qualify for FMLA or Vermont parental leave. If you qualify for FMLA, your employer must continue to provide health care benefits and pay the same share of your premiums as if you were not on leave. Vermont’s parental leave law is more generous and requires that your employer continue to pay the same benefits (including health but also things like seniority, vacation, sick leave and any other benefits) you would have received if you were not on parental leave. However, if you decide not to return to work after leave for reasons other than having a serious illness, you will have to pay your employer back for the benefits you were given whir you were out on parental leave. What Are The Rules Regarding Giving Notice About My Leave? If you qualify for Vermont parental leave, you must provide reasonable written notice before you plan to take leave and estimate how long you will be taking (e.g. based on your expected due date). You are not required to give your employer a doctor or health care provider’s note in order to take parental leave. What If I Believe My Rights Were Violated? You may file a complaint with the Office of the Vermont Attorney General or the Vermont Human Rights Commission (if you work for a state agency). Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Wisconsin Maternity Leave Rights and Laws
If you’re a pregnant employee in Wisconsin looking to find out whether you qualify for maternity leave, you’re better off than most American women. Wisconsin state law provides unpaid parental leave protections in case you do not qualify for the federal leave law, FMLA . Wisconsin Laws on Maternity Leave Wisconsin’s Family and Medical Leave Act covers both public and private employees and guarantees both mothers and fathers up to six weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year for the birth or adoption of a child within the first 16 weeks of that child’s life (or adoption), and up to two weeks of leave in a calendar year for the care of a child, spouse, parent or domestic partner. Employees may also take up to two weeks per year for their own serious health conditions. However, during a 12 month period, employees cannot take more than 8 weeks in a year for their leaves. If your pregnancy and postpartum recovery creates a medical condition which renders you incapable of working, you are also entitled to disability leave if your employer offers it. Though not required under Wisconsin law, your employer must offer this leave to you for pregnancy disability on the same terms as your employer offers to any other employee who is experiencing a physical disability. To be clear, the six week leave period for bonding and child-rearing is a separate leave period and required under law. How Do I Qualify for FMLA and Wisconsin’s Family Leave Act? For FMLA, you must meet eligibility requirements including that you have worked for your employer for 12 months prior a total of at least 1,250 hours and they must employ 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. To qualify for Wisconsin’s Family Leave Act, you must work for an employer who employes 50 or more permanent employees and have worked with them for at least 1,000 hours for the year prior to taking leave. How Much Pay Will I Receive During My Leave? Unfortunately, there’s no requirement under either federal or state law that you receive compensation for any lost wages while you are out on leave. If your employer does not voluntarily provide maternity leave benefits to you, and you have not taken out a short term disability policy covering your pregnancy and postpartum period, you will have to shoulder the financial burden of an unpaid maternity leave . What If I Qualify for Both Wisconsin Parental Leave and FMLA? The two periods run concurrently and you would receive a maximum of 12 weeks off if you qualified for Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave law. One difference between FMLA and Wisconsin state law is that FMLA leave must be shared by two parents if they work for the same employer, meaning they are eligible for a total of 12 weeks of leave as a couple. However, under Wisconsin law, the two parents are both individually eligible for their own parental leaves. What Happens to My Benefits While I’m On Leave? Under FMLA and Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave Act, your employer must retain your healthcare benefits during your leave and during any pregnancy disability leave, you must also receive the same benefits as provided to any other employee on disability leave. What about Paternity Leave? FMLA and parental leave under Wisconsin’s Family and Medical Leave Act are both gender neutral and may be taken by fathers who want to take paternity leave . What If I have Other Questions or Believe My Employer Is Violating My Rights? More detail can be found on this fact sheet provided by the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development. To file a complaint with the state’s Equal Rights Division within 30 days of the violation. You can find a link to the form here . Please note: we are not attorneys and the above summary of frequently asked questions and answers are meant to be a helpful summary but is no substitute for consulting a lawyer if you believe you need to. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
Tennesee and Federal Laws on Maternity Leave and Pregnancy
Employees and employers in Tennessee are subject to federal law when it comes to maternity and paternity leave under the Family Medical leave Act, or FMLA . If for some reason you don’t qualify for FMLA, you may also take advantage of Tennessee’s state parental leave law called the Tennesee Family Leave Act which applies to employees of companies or public sector employers with more than 100 employees at a single work site. FMLA guarantees eligibile employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Tennessee’s Family Leave Act, on the other hand, guarantees four months of job-protected unpaid leave to cover women who are taking time off for their pregnancy, adoption, childbirth and nursing of an infant. How Much Do I Get Paid During My Maternity Leave? Unfortunately, there is no legal requirement that you receive any pay during your maternity leave. Your employer may voluntarily offer this benefit or you may have elected to take out private short term disabilty insurance with an insurance company, but otherwise, you must shoulder the financial burden of an unpaid maternity leave , which may impact how long you decide to take time off. How Do I Qualify for FMLA and Tennessee’s Family Leave Act? For FMLA, you must meet eligibility requirements including that you have worked for your employer for 12 months prior a total of at least 1,250 hours and they must employ 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. To qualify for Tennessee’s Family Leave Act, you must be a woman who works for an even larger employer (with 100 employees). You must also provide your employer 3 months notice (unless there is a medical emergency that was unforeseeable) and you must have worked for the prior year as a full-time employee. What If I Qualify for Both Tennessee Parental Leave and FMLA? The two periods run concurrently and you would receive a maximum of 4 months off if you qualified for Tennessee Parental Leave. That law covers adoptions, pregnancy nursing and childbirth. If you qualify for FMLA on other grounds in the first year after your child’s birth (e.g. to care for them if they come down with a serious illness), you can still take FMLA leave. What Happens to My Benefits While I’m On Leave? Under FMLA, your employer must retain your healthcare benefits, but under Tennessee’s Family Leave Act, no such requirement exists. Therefore, be careful if you plan on taking four months under Tennessee’s Family Leave Act and make sure to consult with your employer since you may have to shoulder the burden of paying your own full healthcare premium after your FMLA leave period runs out. What about Men and Paternity Leave ? FMLA is gender neutral and may be taken by fathers. However, in Tennessee, the Family Leave Act does not apply to men though if an employer offers paid or unpaid time off specifically for bonding with a new child, that benefit must be offered to both women and men, equally. What If I have Other Questions or Believe My Employer Is Violating My Rights? You may consult Tennessee Human Rights Commissions Pregnancy FAQs or file a complaint with them . Please note: we are not attorneys and the summary we've provided of frequently asked questions and answers is no substitute for consulting a lawyer if you believe you need to. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!