it takes a village

Make Work Suck Less

New this week from the home office

Hey Reader,

We spent this weekend with family...and holy sh*t it's nice to have extra sets of eyes on the wild one.

It takes a village, and I'm not even just talking about when your kid arrives (though that is so freakin true).

You need that village to get you out the door of your office and off on your parental leave.

Policies deciphered. Correct forms submitted. Leave approved. Timeline agreed upon.

Much like chasing after a 2-year old. It's exhausting and for some reason when they ask for a banana, they throw that sucker back at you because it wasn't peeled correctly.

You get it.

beyond the HR handbook: building your parental leave village

Ever feel like you're the first-ever employee to go on parental leave at your workplace? You're not alone.

It seems like no matter how big an organization is, or how long they’ve been around, it seems like every pregnant employee and parental leave is the first one they’ve managed. HR is already overworked trying to juggle about 100 glass balls in the air and may not have the time to dedicate to walking you through the process or understand your specific needs. They also may never have gone through it themselves and so don’t fully grasp the amount of uncertainty and upheaval you’re going through.

This is where the power of community steps in - a resource that can be a game-changer for expecting parents.

this shouldn’t be so hard

Why is the information So Hard To Find?!

Navigating parental leave (let alone pregnancy) is rarely straightforward, and while HR is an essential starting point, they’re often overwhelmed keeping the business afloat, and that can leave little room for the personal touch your unique situation requires.

  • Where to find the right paperwork for your doctor to fill out?
  • What’s the difference between FMLA, short-term disability, and company benefits?
  • Who needs to approve your pre-partum accomodations?
  • Will the company support your remote work request to breastfeed after you return?

From elusive policy specifics to the challenge of getting clear, direct answers, it can be frustrating AF. That's why finding your village within the organization is not just helpful, it’s essential.

enter, community

Enter the world of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and internal parent networks. These groups can be a goldmine of information, offering insights into the labyrinth of policies and procedures. Whether it's deciphering the legalize policies or understanding the nuances of leave applications, the collective wisdom of these groups is invaluable. They're the compass you need in a landscape where clear directions seem scarce.

build your own, if necessary

What if your workplace doesn’t have an existing parent support group? This might be your cue to create one.

Starting a parent support group can be a fulfilling way to foster community and offer mutual support. Begin by reaching out to colleagues who might be interested, and use company communication channels to invite others. Organize an initial meeting to gauge interests and needs, and set a regular schedule for future gatherings, whether virtual or in-person. A support group like this can become a crucial resource, offering everything from parental advice to insights into balancing work and family life. Remember, the group you create today will continue to support and inspire future parents in your organization.

Pro tip: Find an executive sponsor who can help drive change within your organization. When (not if) you discover a common administrative paper cut, they can advocate for a common-sense update to policy and process.

learn from those who’ve been there, done that

What does this look like in real life?

  1. Mentorship: Imagine having a guide who's already journeyed through the same path – that's the role of a mentor in your parental leave planning. They can offer personalized advice, share their experiences, and even help you strategize your transition in and out of parental leave. This connection can be your lifeline in times of uncertainty, providing practical tips and emotional support.
  2. Power in shared experiences: You'll find people who've successfully made it through their own parental leaves, armed with the exact wording and strategies that worked for them. Whether it's advocating for remote work post-leave to accommodate breastfeeding, knowing exactly which forms are necessary and which are outdated, or understanding your rights, these insights are incredibly empowering.
  3. Extended network outside the office: This community could also become part of your very IRL support system. You may find a parent or group in your neighborhood that can share tips, trade baby supplies, or partner for early morning walks when you really need another adult human to talk to.

As you plan for your parental leave, remember you don’t need to do it alone. Build and lean on your community to make this particular career transition suck less. This village doesn't just support you through parental leave, it’s a sense of belonging that could last well beyond the newborn phase.

cool people doing cool shit

Speaking of villages...

The U.S. is one of only seven global countries that do not guarantee paid parental leave.

Only 27% of private industry workers have access to paid family leave.

It's mindblowing.

And leads to bullsh*t situations like the woman at KyteBaby who was terminated for requesting to work remote from the NICU with her newborn.

Anyway, our friends at Bobbie are pushing for federal paid parental leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act would give 12 weeks paid leave, job protection, and guarantee a minimum monthly benefit of $580.

They're sponsoring $580 grants for 50 families across the U.S. who need parental leave support but cannot access it anywhere else. They received applications from 10,000 families, and so they've asked for brands to help.

Here's where we come in. I've reached out to Bobbie to sponsor 1 grant. If you'd like to contribute to someone else's village, please reply to let me know.

It’s not a solution, but it’s a start.

next week in MWSL

Next week is all about making a plan to stay connected (or not) without compromising your precious parental leave. Tips, tools, and real-life strategies coming soon!

Oh, and if you tried downloading my Stop, Start, Continue Turnover template last week and got that 404 bad! This one works, promise!

You got this.


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Hi! I'm Cassandra Babilya.

I’m a mom, certified career coach, ex-spy, and corporate culture leader. I'm driven to make work suck less by helping women break the burnout cycle, pivot with purpose, and thrive in their careers. I believe everyone deserves to wake up excited and energized for the day. Together, let's find the perspective you need to work, create, and build from a place of joy, not dread. #makeworksuckless

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