Writing a Maternity Leave Letter [with Sample]

Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life. There is much preparation that must be taken into consideration.

From the nursery to the doctor’s appointments and all of the hustle and bustle, preparing for a little one can be quite overwhelming.

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One of the best times during this time is when a lady is coming to the end of her pregnancy; she gets to go on maternity leave. Maternity leave is a period of time that usually occurs weeks to months before and after the babies’ arrival.

Typically, a woman may take up to 6 weeks. However, if the lady has time saved from vacation and person days, she may be able to take longer.

Troubled Pregnancy

If it is a troubled pregnancy, the lady may take additional time under the Family Medical Leave Act. When a pregnancy is in danger and the mother must be put on bed rest, this type of arrangement may need to be considered.

Though an employee can tell their employer when they are about to go on leave, it is best to put it in writing also in a maternity leave letter.

Having documentation can prove beneficial in proving dates absent and can be a source of protection should the company become disgruntled at the extended period of absence. 

If a doctor is ordering a woman to take time off earlier than what was anticipated, then have this information in writing. 

Ask the doctor to put some information down in a letter for the employer. Employers usually know the laws regarding this type of leave and making sure that a person falls within compliance is important.

Draft A Letter

To draft a letter to the company, make sure it is done in formal format. A person doesn’t know when and if this letter will be used in the future to protect or verify dates or information. The letter should clearly state the day that the maternity leave will start and when it will end.

If it is unknown when the employee can return to work, then it needs to state that. Employers want to be kept in on the loop.

Don’t try to hide information that may be bad for fear of losing a job. There are laws to protect a pregnant woman and hiding from the truth is never a wise step.

Oftentimes, women feel afraid or even a bit embarrassed to talk to their employees about these matters. That is why a letter to the employer is always a good option.

Specifying dates

After specifying the dates, be sure to give the employer any other pertinent information. How detailed a person gets in the letter is really up to them.

There is nothing that says a person has to bare their burdens to their boss, but just give them enough to let them know when and if a return is expected.

Address the letter formally and start it as any other business correspondence. If the relationship with the boss if relaxed, it is proper to address them by name rather than a proper Mr. or Ms.

Just tell them the dates, the reasons if the time is extended or early and leave the door open to discuss it further. Remember, it only has to get as personal as a person wants to.

There is no obligation to tell intimate details of a pregnancy. Nor is it proper for an employer to ask questions that are too personal. Here is a sample maternity leave letter.

Sample Maternity Leave Letter

Global World Transactions
9080 Old Church Way
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068

Attn: Harold Cartier

Dear Harry,

As you well know, I am approaching the end of my pregnancy. My due date is November 1st, 2020. Because this is my third child, they are expecting the child to come 1-2 weeks early.

My original goal was to work until the time I had the baby, however it is becoming more difficult for me to work each day with my increased levels of exhaustion. I am requesting to start my maternity leave the week of October 14th, 2020. 

I wanted to give you at least a two weeks’ notice to be able to adequately prepare. I know you were expecting this, but it is a couple weeks earlier than anticipated.

Here is the report from my doctor that states where I stand with this pregnancy and the anticipation of an early delivery due to the size of the baby.

If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to discuss this matter further with you. I can be reached during work hours or after hours on my cell phone at 770-987-3490.


Laura Sherbet

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is a Maternity Leave Letter?

Answer: A Maternity Leave Letter is a formal document written by an expectant mother to her employer, requesting time off from work for the purpose of maternity leave. It serves as a written notification and provides important information regarding the expected duration of the leave, return-to-work plans, and any relevant details or requirements.

Q: Why is a Maternity Leave Letter important?

Answer: A Maternity Leave Letter is important because it ensures clear communication between the employee and the employer regarding the intention to take maternity leave. It helps the employer plan for the absence, make necessary arrangements for work coverage, and understand the employee’s rights and entitlements during the leave period.

Q: When should I write a Maternity Leave Letter?

Answer: It is recommended to write a Maternity Leave Letter well in advance of your intended leave start date. Ideally, you should inform your employer about your pregnancy and intention to take maternity leave as soon as you feel comfortable sharing the news. It is advisable to submit the letter at least a few weeks before you plan to begin your leave.

Q: What information should be included in a Maternity Leave Letter?

Answer: A Maternity Leave Letter should include essential details such as the expected start date of your leave, the anticipated duration of the leave, your intended return-to-work date, and any relevant medical appointments or procedures related to your pregnancy. It is also important to mention any necessary documentation you will provide, such as medical certificates or birth certificates.

Q: How long should a maternity leave be?

Answer: The length of maternity leave can vary depending on the country, state, or company policies. In many countries, maternity leave can range from several weeks to several months. It is important to research and understand your legal rights and your company’s specific policies regarding the duration of maternity leave.

Q: Can I extend my maternity leave beyond the initially planned duration?

Answer: Yes, it is possible to extend your maternity leave beyond the initially planned duration. However, this may require further discussion and negotiation with your employer. 

It is advisable to communicate your intention to extend your leave as early as possible, preferably before your original return-to-work date, to allow your employer enough time to plan for your extended absence.

Q: Do I need to provide any supporting documentation with my Maternity Leave Letter?

Answer: Depending on your company’s policies and local regulations, you may be required to provide supporting documentation along with your Maternity Leave Letter. 

This can include medical certificates or letters from your healthcare provider confirming your pregnancy and the expected due date. Check with your HR department or review your employee handbook to understand the specific documentation requirements.

Q: Can my employer deny my request for maternity leave?

Answer: In most jurisdictions, employers are legally obligated to provide maternity leave to eligible employees. However, it is important to be aware of the specific laws and regulations in your country or state. 

If you meet the eligibility criteria and follow the proper procedures for requesting maternity leave, your employer generally cannot deny your request outright. If you encounter any issues, it is advisable to consult your local labor laws or seek legal advice.

Q: Should I discuss my maternity leave plans with my supervisor before writing the Maternity Leave Letter?

Answer: While it is not mandatory to discuss your maternity leave plans with your supervisor before writing the Maternity Leave Letter, it can be beneficial to have a preliminary conversation. 

This allows you to gauge your supervisor’s initial reaction, address any immediate concerns, and ensure that they are aware of your intentions. The Maternity Leave Letter serves as a formal written notification after this initial discussion.