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Women In Consulting

Technically I’m still on maternity leave and breastfeeding...the past two weeks I have been receiving calls discussing my plan of return to work. I was invited to a 5 hour workshop...

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I’m sorry you are dealing with this. I didn’t know you weren’t legally allowed to work while on FMLA, but makes sense. So that’s point #1. Beyond that, I’d set my boundaries and push back now. When I was on maternity leave with my kids, I had check-ins (at my request) since I was coming back to different roles each time I returned. But I’ve never heard of being asked to attend meetings and do actual work! It sounds like you are already looking at your next move, which sounds like a good idea, and as hard as it may be for us Type-As, I’d try to focus on being with your baby and de-prioritize the rest. Maternity leave is so short and all of the sudden your kids are in Kindergarten. People always said that to me while I was in the thick of night-feedings, etc, and it’s honestly true!! I wish I took more time than I did!! I’m also completely unapologetic about needing to attend to family stuff now.

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Gently OP you have to set boundaries and be firm. It’s normal to feel unsure about returning to work and feel pressure to demonstrate you’re the same as you were before. So people keep giving you opportunity and take your advancement seriously. But it’s not the same. I set a lot of boundaries about where and when I was willing to work. That wasn’t sustainable for my original practice (no hard feelings; but I wasn’t willing to travel and local business wasn’t strong) so I found a new group. It worked out. One thing that won’t work out is feeling the need to be extra accommodating to reprove yourself since you had a kid. If anything having a kid makes you less able to be accommodating. Apologies if I’m projecting a bunch of stuff. I just want to see moms go in strong

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No girl, you need to set boundaries and let these rude colleagues know it’s not ok. Decline the invitation, gently let them know you’re still on leave and will reach out when you return. Or you could just ignore it since you’re on leave and not checking emails/phone calls.

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Discussing your return plans would be professional and polite. Doing work especially a workshop on leave is not acceptable.

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I was sold a similar story in terms of a "workshop” and deliverables while on mat leave. I ended up coming back eight weeks early and forfeited the rest of my leave for a boss and client that ended up not appreciating my sacrifice in any way. Three years later, it remains a huge regret in my life. My advice: stay firm, don’t give up your time with your child and don’t fall for the internal sales move of “the perfect project”. We sell to our clients for a living, don’t consider yourself exempt from a sales pitch as well. 🤨

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This breaks my heart for you EY2. Happy to hear you’re stronger from it.

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Ummm don’t respond? You should have an OOO message up.

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Set boundaries and enjoy this time away. Not only do you need it to bond with your child but also to adjust to this new lifestyle

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I think you cannot legally work while on FMLA. Check me on that, but if so, I would push back with that (“sorry guys, I’m still on maternity leave. Due to federal regulations I’m not allowed to work on FMLA. Can’t wait to catch up when I’m back!)

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It is actually illegal and considered insurance fraud. With FMLA/any type of short term leave, your salary is paid for by an insurance company to “compensate” the firm for a “loss” of an employee for a specific period. If they audit your computer/suspect fraud & see communication, you (but more likely the firm) can get into huge trouble.

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With tasks and responsibilities. First of all, how do I manage to sneak out to pump during the workshop?? Second of all, why don’t people just leave their female employees alone on mat leave??

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OP, you need to call your partner and say, Partner although I very much look forward getting back and appreciate the opportunity to jump right in, I am still on maternity leave and will not be able to support anything until I return. I would appreciate it if you let the team members know as they have been calling me and sending emails expecting a response. On you second question about pumping, you let the ep know that you need to pump every x hours and will need to step out for x mins to do that during the workshop. Say I appreciate your i understanding but you don’t ask, you tell. Good luck!

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Thanks for your reply! I will lay out my requirements in advance and stick to them. In addition, I will block my calendar for 45 minutes to an hour during the day for the next few months...I had female coworkers being called out as they had to take lactation breaks and ended up exiting client facing engagements...:(It is quite frustrating that against the backdrop of all the metoo movements, male dominant industries still have the inertia of failing to understand how much empathy it takes to retain a working mother. KPMG’s working mother mentorship program is outsourced to a professional third party career coaching company. I was joking to my partner that maybe there are no sufficient working mothers at the firm...:/

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EY1 - you are correct. I was on medical LOA and was on the receiving end of that speech from our HR team

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This isn’t right - you shouldn’t be bothered on leave beyond discussing plan to return (if that).

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First of all, your company cannot legally require you to work while on maternity leave. Second of all, you should report this to HR and attach the emails as evidence. This type of behavior is unfair to you and your new child. America has the least amount of maternity leave of any industrialized nation- the LEAST we could do is respect the tiny amount of maternity leave offered. Third of all, as PP as said, set your boundaries now. Let them know you are lactating and will need pumping breaks every X hours for X length of time. This is insane that you have to go through this!

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If you're in the US they legally have to give you pumping breaks.

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Wow

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What do you mean by “technically?”

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You use FMLA leave while on a firm's parental leave for up to 12 weeks. Even though FMLA is unpaid, it still offers other protections, like making sure they don't fire you while on leave, even though your firm is electing to pay.

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You’re on leave. Don’t respond

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