Author Topic: Maternity Leave  (Read 1706 times)

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Maternity Leave
« on: Feb 24, 2016, 06:59 pm »
I have found some threads about the regulations and union perspective on this topic, but I am just looking for some mom advice at this point.
I am currently 10 weeks pregnant, and starting to think about how this will affect my work situation at the beginning of our next season. (I am a resident stage manager, non-union, and generally full time but on an annual contract.)
I would love to hear from some other women (and men I suppose) about their experiences with maternity leave while working as stage managers.
How did you decide how long to take? What was the ultimate decision? How was the transition going back to work? Who did you leave your little one with and how early?
Any general advice would be great.

Thanks!  :)


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Re: Maternity Leave
« Reply #1 on: Feb 25, 2016, 01:19 am »

When I had my baby I was also a resident SM, with a season-long contract and not covered by the union. I worked in ballet, and had my own office and wasn't in rehearsal all the time.

For myself, I planned my little one for the off season. My last day of work was May 11, he was born on June 8 and I returned to work on August 20. As far as "maternity leave" - I was unemployed, but collecting disability, per California state law. Not sure how that would have worked with my company, if I had him during the season. Our dancers are permitted 1 year of unpaid leave with a guarantee to return to the company after that year. There is no language about staff maternity leave in our staff handbook.

I was able to bring him with me 2-3 days a week (we only work 5 days a week). Two days he was with a nanny at our home and sometimes my husband would stay home on Fridays. Family stayed with us during performances, and eventually around the 9 month mark, it got too hard to keep my son at the office. Thankfully it was near the end of the season and we worked something out (I can't remember what).

So, as far as what made me decide how long to take - it was when my contract started up. I was extremely dedicated to that company and just made it work. In hindsight, I probably should've taken more time. You are going to be the only person to decide what is best for you, and you probably aren't going to know until you've had the baby. Trust your instincts and your body - and enjoy the little one while you can. I can't believe mine is almost 4!


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Re: Maternity Leave
« Reply #2 on: Feb 26, 2016, 01:00 pm »
I'm 5 1/2 months pregnant and am weighing the same issues.  I'm a union stage manager who doesn't have an annual contract, so in my situation, I don't have a contract looming over me that I have to fulfill.  That being said, with the baby due in late June, I'm planning to stay home through Christmas (as long as my sanity holds up) and will hopefully be back to work in January 2017.  I'm keeping in close contact with the theatres I work for regularly and updating them on my availability for next year.  The hope is that I'll work at some of the smaller theatres that rehearse mostly at night and on weekends so my husband doesn't have to take too much time off work and we can save on child care.

Like BayAreaSM said, only you can determine what's best for you.  If, while on maternity leave, you realize that you need more time than your contract allows, you have every right to go to your employer and work something out, like hiring a temporary replacement for one or two shows until you're ready to go back.  Any reasonable company will try to accommodate you.

The main thing I've noticed with my friends who have small children in theatre is that they try to set realistic expectations with their employers about time commitment and breast pumping, while also compromising on if/when baby can come to work.  Open communication works best.

Tags: Maternity leave 

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