Ariel Carpenter, a Los Angeles public-relations executive, didn’t give birth at her desk, but that might have been easier. She spent much of her three-month maternity leave handling projects from home and fielding up to five calls a day from her colleagues. “The phone never stopped ringing,” she says. “They even called me at the hospital the day after I delivered!”
Blame it on a slower economy and short-staffed offices: More moms are finding themselves in a similar situation, says Jodi Grant of the National Partnership for Women & Families. But under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have the right to a work-free leave, since you’re not being paid for your time. You’re legally protected from being penalized for refusing to work while you’re out.
Still, you may want to make yourself available for some requests, to stay in your boss’s good graces. Here are ways to keep the workload manageable, especially if the FMLA doesn’t apply to you if you’re on paid leave:
Check out the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list to see if your employer made the cut!