Fact Checked

How do I Write a Maternity Leave Letter?

Anna T.
Anna T.

You should begin your maternity leave letter with your name and address typed in the upper right hand corner of the page. Underneath that, you should address the person for whom the letter is intended, such as your boss or supervisor. Below your letter recipient's name, you should type the current date. The body of the letter goes next, and in this area you should explain that you are pregnant and reveal at what point in time you will begin taking your maternity leave. You should also be sure to mention on what date specifically you expect to return from maternity leave as well as any other important details before closing your maternity leave letter with a few words of appreciation to your superior for taking the time to read the letter and your name.

Before you write your maternity leave letter, you might want to take some time to research your company's policies on maternity leave. It's a good idea to know in advance if you qualify for paid maternity leave or if you will not be paid during your absence because these factors may affect the duration of your maternity leave. Additionally, you should find out how long your company allows for maternity leave. Different companies have different rules in place regarding how long you can be absent from work, but the majority of companies do allow two months at a minimum. In some areas of the world, it is not uncommon for women to be able to take an entire year of paid maternity leave.

A pregnant woman.
A pregnant woman.

The most important basic information that your maternity leave letter should contain are the start and ending dates of your planned maternity leave. There are a few other important details you might also consider adding, such as how you would prefer to be contacted while you are on leave. Some women may prefer to be contacted through email, while others might prefer phone calls. Additionally, some women do not want to be contacted at all unless it is a dire emergency work situation, and you should specify this in your letter if this is how you feel. You might also consider including specific information about work projects that you won't be able to complete while you are gone, and you could give your supervisor suggestions as to who may be able to complete the work in your absence.

You might also want to mention to your boss in your maternity leave letter that you are open to discussion and negotiation regarding your plans for maternity leave. If you and your boss come to an agreement concerning your absence that does not reflect what you have written in your letter, you should be sure to adjust your letter accordingly. Once the details of your leave are set and have been agreed upon by your boss, you should ask your boss to sign and date your letter. After the letter is signed and dated, see to it that both you and your boss have a copy in the event that a discrepancy regarding your leave arises in the future.

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Discussion Comments


I'd also say a signed copy of a maternity leave letter should also be left with the office HR or personnel department, just for good measure. But maybe I'm just paranoid.

If I worked for a big company, I might also consider having an employment attorney take a look at my letter to make sure it met all guidelines and that the boss couldn't dispute its contents. But like I said -- I'm a little paranoid. I have a friend whose boss tried to reneg on her maternity leave, and really treated her like she had a terminal disease, not a pregnancy.


One thing to mention about a maternity leave letter is that a woman should tell her boss as soon as possible that she is pregnant. Some women have started to show a belly before they tell their bosses, and this can create a lot of bad feelings.

As soon as the first trimester is past (assuming the mom to be doesn't have severe morning sickness that has caused her to miss work), and she is telling friends and family, she needs to tell her boss. She should give her supervisor an idea about her due date before she ever writes the letter. This will allow her supervisor to make arrangements to hire a temporary worker, if necessary.

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    • A pregnant woman.
      By: tan4ikk
      A pregnant woman.