Sometimes a girl’s gotta do a little reconnaissance work to dig up some of the crucial details about maternity leave before she’s ready to go public. (We’ve been there.)


Here are 5 ways to get the details on maternity leave at your company before you announce your baby news:

1. Ask a trusted mom friend at work.

Not sure what your company’s maternity leave policy entails? Ask a new-mom friend you can trust to spill all the details. She’ll know exactly how to help you maximize your days with baby—and how much she was able to negotiate beyond the “standard” days off. (Pro tip: Just because you’re granted eight weeks of leave, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate for another two months of work-from-home. You’ve got to ask.)

2. Check out List Your Leave.

The free maternity and paternity leave database is like Yelp for family leave policies. Anonymously find and share your company’s leave details, in turn helping other parents-to-be negotiate their leaves. And if your company’s policy involves unpaid leave, you can calculate the income you’ll lose so you can budget accordingly.

3. Search Fairygodboss.

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Find job openings and company reviews by women, focused on issues that matter to moms. The site crowdsources details on salaries and bonuses, and provides insight on benefits like childcare, health care, flextime and maternity leave. Where does your company fall?

4. March to HR.

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If your company is big enough to have a human resources department, it is the official resource for the organization’s maternity leave policies. And while it’s supposed to be confidential, we all know how Toby Flenderson handled things. ?

Also keep in mind HR’s approach is often very by-the-book, and your boss might be more (or less) willing to accommodate leave than the “official” policies outline. (If she seems less willing, that’s something to take up with HR.) Just be aware that if you head to HR that you’ll get the official word, as well as guidance on next steps to take.

5. Search your company’s website or internal resources.

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Sometimes companies list pesky details like HOW MANY WEEKS DO I GET WITH MY BABY on their intra-office websites. You might be able to avoid coming forward for a few more weeks if you can scope out details in advance.

Check your work handbooks—you’re having a baby!

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