“Helping everyone get smart on leave is our passion”

Q&A with the founders of List Your Leave

If you’ve been anywhere near a computer or smart phone this last week, you’ve like already read about the woman coining the phrase “meternity”  leave. {I know, eye roll.}

One thing all working moms can agree on is that maternity leave is hardly “me time.” Us mamas are bonded by the endless diaper changes, sore breasts and sleepless nights.

Yet the details surrounding our leave policies are as diverse as our babies themselves.

Enter List Your Leave, a new website that’s on a mission to get women – and men – smart about maternity leave policies before they even need them.

What is List Your Leave?

List Your Leave rel=”no follow” is a free database of maternity and paternity leave policies by company or organization in the U.S., created to be a resource for all working families. It provides policy information and anonymous reviews and company culture ratings so all working families can get smart on leave.

It sounds like working moms are behind the scenes.

We come from a variety of different industries and backgrounds. Most of us are moms and dads, but some of us are just interested in improving the balance between career and family for our friends, families and coworkers. So while we might have other gigs, List Your Leave and helping everyone get smart on leave is our passion project.

Which came first, the positive pregnancy test or the interest in maternity leave?

Most women {and men} are uninformed about their family leave policy before they need it. Which means of course that for most women, including the founders of List Your Leave, the positive pregnancy test comes before the interest in maternity leave policies – but in order to make career and family work, we should all be thinking about family leave well before we have a family.

What’s the number one question you’re asked?

The biggest question for List Your Leave is what is my maternity/paternity leave policy? Many think FMLA is paid leave, and many assume when co workers and friends take leave that its paid in some way. But in reality, even if you got a check during your maternity leave, you may not have gotten paid leave. We hope to answer all your maternity leave questions through our database and blog.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Specifically for List Your Leave, our biggest challenge was probably finding the time to start a project like this while working and managing families. Everyone knows that balance can be hard, but the founders of List Your Leave feel the cause of transparency around family leave policies is important enough to commit time and energy to. We have regular catch up calls, strategy calls and each devote specific time set aside for List Your Leave every week. In addition, we stay in touch through texts and chat, because every working mom knows how hard it is to find actual phone time! And the response to List Your Leave has been fantastic – thankfully it is not a challenge to get new parents to understand how much better prepared they would have been for a family leave if they had all the information, and now they can help out other new parents by leaving reviews of their own experience at their company or organization.

Finish this sentence. If I could go back and do it all again, I wish someone would have told me that…

I should have looked at the maternity leave policy for my company before I took the job. For many working mothers, maternity leave is their biggest professional challenge AND setback. Unpaid leave costs new mothers 25-30% of their annual salary. In addition, taking leave can keep women {and men} from receiving annual bonuses and promotions and permanently alter a career trajectory. Knowing a company’s policy before taking a job, or before negotiating your leave with your boss, can make a huge difference in your annual and future salary as well as where you go within your company and career.

What’s the best part about being a mom?

The smiles! Our kiddos are all so excited every time we walk through the door, whether it be to get them up in the morning or when each of us gets home from work, and it is so rewarding to see their faces light up just knowing we get to hang out together. Being a mom is a hard job, but it’s a fun job too. And working moms know time together with their little ones is precious, so we all try to enjoy it every chance we get.

It’s no secret that women are better together. How can moms on List Your Leave support each other?

List Your Leave is providing a platform to help all working moms share their experiences anonymously and help out other moms going through the same confusing process known as maternity leave. And make sure to add a review of your maternity leave experience on List Your Leave so you help other working moms out, and help companies understand we care about leave. Because if employees care about leave, companies will too!

What’s your best piece of advice for women in the workplace who are thinking about starting a family?

Get smart on leave! Do the research and then talk to your employer. List Your Leave can help you understand your benefits and the benefits of other companies in your industry, city or state. Use this as a starting point to talk to your company or in finding a company willing to help you balance a successful career with your family life.

Any tips for businesses?

When companies support their workers in creating both a successful career and a rewarding family life, both benefit tremendously. Data supports this, and List Your Leave believes the way to achieve this for all American workers is through transparency.

I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you all think you have it all?

Having it all is certainly different for everyone. We think we have it all because we have great jobs, great families, and an opportunity to help other working parents have the same. However, since having it all means something different to everyone we want to make sure your voice is included. Email us at hello@listyourleave.com to tell us what you want to see in a database designed to help you get smarter on the right company/career/path for you!

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

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