“Congratulations Anoma!” My colleagues said with whoops of joy. My boss took it pretty well but asked me who would handle the new client account. Thereafter, pretty much everything was a blur. At work I had to re-double my efforts and constantly deal with bouts of morning sickness!
What Is Maternity Leave?
This is a time when a working women in Sri Lanka takes paid leave from work for the birth of the child.
How And When Should Leave Be Requested?
Typically, working women in Sri Lanka would wait for the first trimester to inform the place of work. Giving prior notice to the employer can iron out a lot of work related insecurities.
When To Start Leave
Some women start when they are 7 – 8 months pregnant and others work until the delivery date. Check with your obstetrician the exact date of delivery so that you know the exact time to start your maternity leave.
Plan Your Work
Draw up a work plan with the mutual agreement of your employer. Request the temporary aid to come in a month or a couple of weeks before your confinement so that there is smooth transition of duties and your still around to answer any questions. Prepare a handover note with a copy to the employer; it will be helpful once you return to work.
What Is The Employer Thinking?
The Employer may see maternity leave as a payment of an extra salary, the business taking a big hit and the uncertainty of returning to work.
Fathers rarely take parental leave for more than just a few days. However, the Thatha can use a bit of flexibility with their work and share in those special moments and help the new Amma with simple tasks and psychological support.
Laws On Maternity Leave
The Maternity Benefits Ordinance – http://www.employers.lk/maternity-benefits-ordinance-i (MBO) grants maternity leave in Sri Lanka, for women in the public sector as follows,
- Full pay for 84 days, and
- a further 84 days on half pay, and
- 84 without pay.
There is no restriction on the number of children.
Under Shop and Office Employees Act maternity leave in Sri Lanka are as follows, based on full pay,
- 84 days for the first two live births
- 42 days for the third and subsequent births
Women in the plantation sector are encouraged to return to work early as they are benefitted with childcare.
Advantages Of Maternity Leave
- Watch your baby thrive and grow
- Bond, teach and have fun with your baby
- No childcare expenses
- Negotiate longer paid leave
Disadvantages Of Maternity Leave
- Career can take a nose dive
- Change of attitude in staff and employer
- Returning to work is daunting
- Feeling lonely
These are some of the pros and cons I experienced during my maternity leave. It is normal for a mother to experience mixed emotions when returning to work again. I would never change a moment I have spent with my child.