11 answers

Not Returning to Work After Maternity Leave: Best Way to Handle It?

I do not plan to return to work at the end of my maternity leave (six weeks). I would like some pointers on the best way to handle telling them i won't be coming back and when I should notify them. I do need to wait until the last possible moment however since I carry the health insurance for the family and I am expecting my first any day now. I've heard some people call the day before they are supposed to go back, some people go back for a day. I'd like to avoid going back at all and just making a clean break so to speak but am willing to do what it takes to not burn bridges.

What can I do next?

More Answers


my suggestion, is to let them know as early as possible. You don't want to burn a bridge with your employer, you may need their reference someday...

EDIT NOTE: under COBRA i believe you can pay for the insurance for up to 18 months. though, be prepared for a big shocker. Also, are you going on your husband's policy? I guess i'm not understanding what you plan to do for insurance afterwards. Check with his HR dept to see what the requirements are - you'll likely need a evidence of insurability from your current insurance.

And then as far as how to handle it... well, I got laid off from my job when i was 5 mo. preg. with my 3rd. But I had planned to tell them, that I just dont make enough money to put 3 kids in daycare and maintain a cost effective budget for my family, which was the truth. I would suggest telling them the truth... when you plan to return to work, your new employer may call your old employer and ask some questions... they would be perfectly in line to ask your reason for leaving... if it doesn't match what you've told them, then you may lie your way out of a job. stick with the truth and you won't have to worry about being caught in a lie later on.

1 mom found this helpful


congratulations on the upcoming birth.

i think a lot has to do with your relationship with the company...

there are many fun fabulous things you can do from home...

Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions


I used to work in HR. I did benefits and compensation. Lots of experience with leaves of absences, insurance questions and my own experience with maternity leave, and requesting flexible work arrangements.

Feel free to contact me to talk more about your questions.

If you don't have it - get a copy of your company's leave of absence policy, maternity leaves, FMLA and your insurance info - do you have to pay for it while out on leave, do you pay at the beginning of the month for the whole month, does your job qualify for FMLA (your HR person would have to answer that and give you the necessary form to complete). Have you used all your accrued vacation time, do you have any flexibility to reduce your work schedule when you come back?

Just some planning before you go out on your leave.

Hope this helps,
Mom of two

I believe if you go back and work one day and then quit, you won't have to worry about insurance. I carried the insurance and had to go back for the one day in order to not be backcharged for everything they covered while I was out.

I think that giving the Company two weeks notice just as if you left for any other reason should be sufficient. I am not sure about insurance but if this does not affect your insurance that would be the responsible thing to do. I have lost employees twice after maternity leave and it was a burden when they didn't tell me until just before the leave was over.

This is my advice on how to handle the situation. I would definately give them plenty of notice. Many times it does come back to bite you later if you do not. Just be totally honest and upfront with them while you are on leave. Let them know you wish to not come back and are going to stay home with your baby, etc. I would also check with your insurance company. I just went through this situation myself. My insurance locks you in for a certain period of time and you have to have a qualifying event take place to drop it...with certain time frame to even do this. Just weigh all your options and I wish you the best of luck.

Hi Amy, do you have access to the guidelines for maternity leave, at your company, inusrance guidelines as well. If you do, determine what the requirements are? then you will be able to make a decision. Generally regarding the insurance, you will be able to continue under cobra for a few months. But that can be pretty expensive. But you can call some agents and ask hypothethicals for your family coverage! I have a friend who is an agent, who could probably give you some ideas

Hi Amy~
I'm sure not everyone will agree with me, but I'll share my past experience with you anyways. I was put on early medical leave due to pregnancy complications. So, my due date was March 8th, and I got put on leave (UNPAID!!!) on Dec. 12th. I was eligible to receive 12 weeks leave total due to FMLA, but that voided out my 6 week maternity leave coverage. I, myself waited until my 12 weeks was about to end. That way I was still receiving my insurance coverage thru that time. I had a girlfriend who decided not to return & told her company ahead of time and they cancelled her insurance on her last day of work. That was the primary reason I went the way I did. Like I said, I'm sure most people disagree with my actions, but for the sake of myself & my family, I waited until the end of my leave.
Good luck with everything & enjoy your new baby!!

I just checked into our leave, with my company. If you don't return to work they can make me pay back any health insurance premiums. Fortunately, I don't carry the insurance so it won't be a problem for me. But, I would make sure your company isn't the same way. You may end up paying back any insurance that you carry, for that 6 week period. Good luck to you!

check with your insurance company. my sister called work and quit the day she was supposed to go back to work and it totally backfired. they cancelled her insurance and filed a claim and she had to repay the insurance company all the money that they paid for her delivery and the baby. they claimed it was insurance fraud. needless to say, my sister was paying huge bills for many years! please don't do this to yourself. if it means you have to go back to work for a month or so in order to keep this from happening it would be worth it.

good luck!

Hi Amy,

As soon as I got pregnant, I knew that I would never go back to work after the baby was born! However, I was very, very concerned about my medical coverage and even the payout of my earned vacation pay and bonus. I let my employer know right away when I would return after maternity leave. And at 8:30am on my first day back I gave my two weeks notice!

Two weeks seems to be the accepted way to resign -- whether you are starting a new job with another company or leaving to stay home with children. You don't have to share any personal information about when you made the decision. You can simply tell them you decided it was in your New Baby's (and family's) best interest for you to stay home!

Congrats on the baby and best of luck!!!

PS...Most likely, you already know who you can count on for a work or personal reference. It doesn't have to be your immediate supervisor. It can be a previous supervisor, or even someone you haven't worked for but is at a higher level than you. So I wouldn't worry so much about burning bridges. When you are leaving (i.e. at the end of two weeks), you can say to these people, "Someday I'll have to re-enter the workplace. Could I contact you for a reference?" I'm sure the person will say yes!

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