How To Support Your Employee Through Pregnancy, Maternity Leave and the Transition Back To Work

Vanesa Ortiz
4 min readAug 28, 2018

Today was my first day back to work at Sourcegraph after my 3 1/2 months* long maternity leave. I consider myself lucky to be working at a company that is family friendly and has made my journey to parenthood much easier than expected. I decided to share some of the points I believe Sourcegraph and others do right and I encourage companies to follow.

1. Have a parental leave policy ready and help your employee file the correct forms at the Employment Development Department. I was hired pregnant and despite having the first pregnancy in the company, Sourcegraph had it’s parental policy in place and I was supported throughout the entire process of filing for State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) claims. This turned out to be a blessing, as the application process was quite cumbersome and confusing.

2. Be supportive of your pregnant employees: Creating a baby is hard! The more the pregnancy progresses, the bigger toll it will take on your employee. Have a supportive environment in which your employee feels safe sharing their needs and struggles. Offer to adapt their workload/focus accordingly.

3. Get necessary props: There are numerous props that can make pregnancy way more comfortable for your employee and help them maintain productivity. E.g.: A standing desk with foot pad helps against back pain. An ergonomic mouse will prevent carpal tunnel (a common issue during pregnancy), etc.

4. Offer prenatal benefits: Prenatal yoga/aquatics class are often only offered around noon/early afternoon. Let your employee go to them and have benefits to pay for these classes. It’s a win-win: Your employee will have a healthier pregnancy, experience less issues, stay productive and motivated.

5. Your employee has the right to take up to 4 weeks pregnancy related disability leave before the due date in California. Make sure they feel safe enough to take this leave without worrying about their job/position/career development. The last pregnancy month is the hardest.

6. Respect your employee’s wish to work until they feel ready to take their leave. I was able and wanting to work up to 3 days before giving birth due to an “easy”…