Ah, Babies. What greater topic can evoke such an array of emotions from new parents and family & friends alike. In the business world however, babies and pregnancy are often met with a quiet sense of trepidation; just how will having a child affect an employee and their family? What does maternity or parental leave even mean?
As Jennifer mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we are blessed to be expecting a daughter of our own. This is an exciting time of change and discovery for us, as we start evaluating how having a child will affect both our personal lives as well as that of this business that we run, Tinking Turtle. A wide variety of opinions and ideas exist on how Silicon Valley tech-startups consider pregnancy and childbirth, however this culture significantly differs from the fiber-arts world. I figured I’d take a stab at documenting some of the items we are considering as we go throughout this process. This will be a journey of exciting new learning for all of us, so please join me as we work our way through the process of putting all of the pieces together to ensure we can have a warm and happy welcome for Little Turtle.
Under the defining legislation currently applied towards pregnancy and birth in the workplace, the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, business with less than 50 employees are exempt from any requirements to provide maternity or parental leave, either paid or unpaid. Just because it’s not required, however, doesn’t mean that there are not benefits both to the business as well as the new mother. In a small one or two person shop, this is a difficult decision to make; it would involve essentially cutting back or shutting down operations for a period of time. With a large majority of LYS’s and other related businesses being owned and staffed by women, this is a doubly difficult consideration given the potential amount of time away to be considered.
Here at Tinking Turtle, we’ve begun exploring just how to balance these two competing factors: providing the time through maternity leave to nurture and welcome a Little Turtle into the family, while still being cognizant of the business landscape and relationships to maintain.
Check out our next installment, where I’ll drill down into some of the specifics on how we hope to accomplish this, and our thought process behind some of these decisions.
~ Mr. Turtle