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  • Hey, everyone has the sound.

  • Okay.

  • Good.

  • Um, so I'm Wendy, in case any of you weren't sure, I'm gonna be talking about being the first person that you're started to have a baby.

  • So that's not the talk that you were expecting.

  • Feel free to escape.

  • Now, you won't hurt my feelings.

  • Um, but assuming that this is the talk that you are here to listen to, um, let me introduce myself first.

  • I'm Wendy.

  • I'm a senior software engineer, Aspiration, which is a fin tech startup in Los Angeles.

  • And so I wanted to start this talk by giving a disclaimer that this talk is based on my experience as someone who lives in the U.

  • S.

  • In California, with all of the cultural attitudes towards parents and policies that go along with that.

  • So I realized there really big difference is potentially, um, and cultures as well as differences in maternity and paternity leave.

  • So if there's anything a part of my experience that doesn't ring true for you, I would love to hear about your experiences after my talk on, and I'll be around to describe me.

  • So with that caviar, out of the way, let's get to why I decided to give this talk about parental leave.

  • So a little over three years ago, while I was working at a start up, I found out I was pregnant, and at first I was like this super excited.

  • But then that quickly turned to anxiety.

  • So you might be wondering, Why isn't having a baby a happy experience?

  • Well, the start up, like a lot of startups, had no formal family leave policy.

  • So that's not to say that there weren't any parents at the start up there were.

  • But as you all probably know, Tech, especially startups, tends to skew young and male.

  • So a lot of the parents that were at working at my start up left for two weeks for a vacation time and then went right back to work.

  • And obviously that wasn't gonna work for me.

  • And in the U.

  • S.

  • There's no law at the federal level that requires any paid family leave.

  • So it's up to individual states or companies to make up more generous leaves if they want to do so.

  • Um, for us we had an HR person, which also not a lot of startups have, but from everything that I heard.

  • Even people with H R representatives didn't really know what the correct maternity or paternity leave should be.

  • And so I knew I was gonna have to figure it out for myself.

  • Little did I know that was the first of many things I'd have to figure out.

  • And so it took a lot of work from being completely lost to feeling like I could have a degree in family leave policy.

  • So this is the talk that I wish someone had given me when I was newly pregnant, and hopefully I'll be able to share some tips that will help you figure out what your leave is and what you can expect and what steps you can take to make your life easier if you were the first person to have a baby at your startup.

  • So before you jump into things, I made a legend just to show what I'm, uh, a bit about what I wanted to do differently, what I would do again tips and hints and observations as well as things that I just found to be important.

  • So first up is spearing out your leave before you talked to anybody at your company, I'd highly suggest that you do your homework to figure out what leave you're entitled to.

  • No one cares about your leave more than you do.

  • So even if you have someone at your company like HR who should know, it's best to just assume that they have no idea that what you're entitled to and if you're wrong, that's great.

  • They can just confirm what you already figured out.

  • But if you're right, then you can educate your company and hopefully make it easier for the next person at your company who goes through this, Um, incidentally for me.

  • After I had my son, I found out that there was a California maternity leave Facebook group, and I joined a even though by that point I already knew what Levi was entitled to cause I was curious.

  • I wanted to see how much of it I got right and how much of it I got wrong.

  • And if you can see, there are three over 3000 members of the group and the moderators actually had to close down the group because they just don't have enough time.

  • Thio answer everybody's questions.

  • But the thing that you see, being in this group over and over again is that HR completely gets people's leave wrong over and over again.

  • So again, it's up to you to figure out what leave you're entitled to, because knowledge is power.

  • So how do you figure out what leave you're actually entitled to?

  • So the first thing that I did was, of course, Google everything.

  • Um, the 2nd 1 second way that I went about researching was that I talked to my friends and I cross checked what I found on Google with what my friends at bigger companies with bigger HR departments had figured out By checking what you've already researched with what bigger companies have said is the policy, you can be pretty sure if they match that.

  • That's actually the correct policy.

  • And then the third place that I found information which won't apply to anybody here.

  • But if you're in California is the California State Disability website, since that's where I actually had to go and file all of my paperwork.

  • And so I know most of the audience here is from South Korea's, so I'm not gonna talk too much about what California leave was but I just wanted to give you this image that help me figure out what California leave was.

  • So at the top, we have a whole set of policies that protect your job with no pay.

  • It's a mix of federal and state policies, and at the bottom we also have a mix of federal and state policies.

  • But these are the policies that will actually pay you some amount of money.

  • And so it's totally confusing.

  • If you didn't know that there were state level policies, you would think that the federal level policies which don't pay you anything and only give you job protection are the only things that exists there also a bunch of requirements that if they aren't meant you're entitled to anything and so just it's a big mess and you really again should figure out what your leave is.

  • And so with that, I did a little bit of Googling about South Korean policy.

  • Um, I'm by no means an expert, but this is what I was able to find out.

  • So pregnant women are eligible for 90 days of leave.

  • The 1st 60 are fully paid on the last 30 days are partially paid, and at least 45 of those have to be taken after the birth of the baby.

  • Fathers are entitled to five days of paternity leave, and pregnant workers have rights to work two hours less per day without a wage cut.

  • No overtime, nighttime or holiday work.

  • Um, and you also get medical exams during work without any any additional pay cuts.

  • Um, the government also provides monetary assistance to expectant couples, such as vouchers for pregnancy checkups, which is pretty awesome because the U.

  • S doesn't do anything like that.

  • The government also provides monthly allowances two parents for the first year after the child is born, for other related expenses as well.

  • And then parents of Children less than three years old can request up to one year of full time or part time childcare leave with a 30 day notice period, which is super awesome, cause that also is not available in the U.

  • S.

  • And the best part of this, I thought, was the free public day care that's available.

  • So there is the wait time, typically of 1 to 2 years.

  • But if both parents work, kids get to the jump to the front of the wait list.

  • There is a time, more stuff, but these were just the highlights of what I was able to find doing my research for this talk.

  • So make sure that again, you figure out what you're entitled to, and this leads me to my next point, which is taken much leave as you can afford to whether you're the pregnant woman or their partner, but especially if you're the partner.

  • And I'm not saying this because of the cliches around.

  • You'll never get this time back, even though it's true.

  • I'm saying it because taking care of kids is really hard, and having two people there makes it way easier.

  • There are a lot of articles that talk about this, but my favorite one was titled After Men in Spain got paternity leave, they wanted your kids, and the best quote out of here was far in Gonzales Think that spending more time with their Children or the prospect of having to do so may have made men more acutely aware of the effort and cost associated with child rearing and, as the researchers put it, shifted their preferences from child quantity to quality.

  • So I realized not everyone can afford to take time off.

  • But if you can afford to, you won't regret taking that time off.

  • Your child relationship will be so much less stressful because of it.

  • So moving on to talking to your work again.

  • When I got to this part, I was really nervous, and I didn't really understand why.

  • Um, you know, again, shouldn't this be a happy thing?

  • But again, the problem is that people start making assumptions as soon as they hear that you're pregnant.

  • So, for example, this article shows that Children hurt women's earnings but not men's.

  • Even in Scandinavia, which is one of the most progressive countries out there, there could be a lot of reasons for this people my s tomb, that you're going to just end up staying at home or that you're not as motivated or that you don't want to take on as challenging assignments, which you know usually is not the case on.

  • And so all of this is just to say that it's totally normal to be nervous about telling your company that you're expecting a baby.

  • Um and so it wasn't until after I talked to my friends that I realized why this was something that I was feeling so nervous about and like.

  • I also want to take this chance to talk to any managers out in the audience, which is that if you're on the receiving end of this news, you should be just super excited.

  • That should be you.

  • And then once the dust has settled, just go back to treating the person who told you normally the greatest gift that my manager and co workers gave me up the time after I told them was treating the fact that I was pregnant as no bigger deal than the fact that I have brown eyes.

  • It just didn't matter to them.

  • The only thing that they did do was they stopped offering me beer when we had to lunch and dinner.

  • So with that said, there's no harder fast rules for when and how you should tell your company.

  • So I just wanted to give a few tips that worked for me.

  • So for me, I would definitely repeat telling them as soon as I was comfortable.

  • Um, there may or may not be a minimal notice period for you.

  • Uh, they're definitely isn't the U.

  • S.

  • Of course, if you're the person who's pregnant, you're probably gonna tell your company way more than the 30 day minimum requirement in the U.

  • S.

  • Um, but even if you're the partner, it's a lot easier to explain why you're suddenly needing to take all of these mornings off to Goto appointments and everything.

  • People wonder if something suddenly wrong with you if you're like I need to be going to doctor's appointments regularly.

  • If they don't know that you're going because you're seeing the doctor for your future baby, I would also repeat talking to your HR.

  • I'm not sure how widespread HR people are in South Korea, but if you have someone who manages these kind of things, definitely talkto them along with your manager.

  • I had a really supportive manager, so I actually told him before we talk to HR, and this was also a really good time to figure out if my company would be willing to pay anything while I was gone.

  • And as luck would have it, they ended up supplementing my income for 12 weeks.

  • So I had full salary for 12 weeks, which is not the case for a lot of people in the U.

  • S.

  • Or even California also keep copies of all correspondence regarding your leave and job performance.

  • Um, while you're out of maternity leave or paternity leave, you don't want to suddenly be let go of your job without any sort of evidence that this was actually something that your company said was okay and approved up.

  • You're not necessarily gonna have access to your email anymore.

  • So whether it's printing out emails, affording it to yourself just, um, you know, have something to show that this was approved before and for me, about it for talking to your company.

  • So we're gonna move on to gearing up for your baby.

  • This is gonna be a little different than most of the list that you see out there related to getting ready for baby, which are usually things that you should and shouldn't buy.

  • You can totally google all of that.

  • So that's not what this is gonna be.

  • Mostly a list of things that I observed about being pregnant in which someone had told me about.

  • So first up, if you're the person who's pregnant, you're gonna be more tired than you've ever been in your first trimester, you might not realize just how tire that is for me.

  • I worked two blocks from the beach when I was pregnant, and I seriously considered for about a month straight, walking to the beach during lunch time, taking a nap and then heading back to work.

  • That's how tired I was.

  • So again, another thing I didn't realize was normal.

  • But it totally is.

  • So just be ready.

  • Also, you're gonna outgrow every piece of clothing you have towards the end, even your maternity clothes.

  • This really depressed me.

  • No one warned me about this.

  • It's normal.

  • Just goto your local thrift shop and buy some really big pieces of clothing to tide you over for the last month and you'll be good.

  • This was me a week before my son came.

  • I don't know if you can tell, but that fabric is not holding together very well.

  • Also, now is the time to start talking to your employer about setting up a mother's room if you plan to breastfeed.

  • So where I worked like a law startups, they had an open floor plan.

  • The only rooms that were available were conference rooms that had glass walls so clearly that wouldn't work as a mother's room.

  • Um, and so it's good to give your company some lead time to make changes so that you can have an appropriate mother's room if that's what you need.

  • So I want to also take this time to talk about South Korea's breastfeeding rate, so there's only 18.3% as of 2016 Respite friend Excuse me breast fed exclusively until six months, while the global averages 41% even though 95% of mothers breastfeed immediately after birth in an earlier months.

  • And the biggest reasons that that rate was so low were that there was either no more milk or that they didn't think it was any necessary any longer or work conditions.

  • So the fact that we're conditions is along the top Three reasons for why women stop breastfeeding is why it's really important to talk to your company about getting a mother's room, if that is important to you.

  • So with that said, this is my realistic mother's room, obviously gonna start up.

  • You're always strapped for cash, so I can't just give you my pie in the sky.

  • Dream Mother's room.

  • But for me, how the minimum that you would want to have a good mother's room is a lock that only the pumping moms have access to, because I had to kick out people so many times that I got super tired of it, um, curtains and blinds over the windows and any glass walls that sort of obvious, but something that needs to be said comfy chairs, because you're going to be sitting in there for a long time every day.

  • And office chairs just aren't comfortable a fridge to store, pump milk and pump parts because people get a little weird when you store your pumped milk with their lunch, for whatever reason, even though it's both food.

  • Also, if there are multiple women pumping, it would be really nice to have lockers to people can store all of their pump stuff in there without having to lug it all around.

  • And if privacy partitions or cubicles, if you only have one room available and if you only have one room available and can't do anything about it, then at least have the calendar for scheduling the room.

  • And then finally, bonus points first think cause you might have to wash some of your pump stuff, and people get really weird about you washing again your pump stuff in the same sink where they're washing other really gross things.

  • But they don't think it's as gross is your your breast milk.

  • So I think is really nice, too.

  • So moving on something that I would do totally differently is not keeping on top of my employer once I filed for disability.

  • So this is a little California specific.

  • I'm not sure if there's paperwork that your employer needs to sign when you're going to go out on maternity or paternity leave.

  • But for California there is.

  • And I didn't pay attention to the mail I was getting.

  • And it turns out that my claim was tonight and we had 21 days to repeal it, and I didn't realize it until I was about 14 days in.

  • So I was holding my two equaled on hold for hours at a time, multiple times a day, trying to talk to a real person, so definitely don't recommend it.

  • If there's paperwork that your employer, or really anyone need signed, just make sure that you keep track of that before the baby's born.

  • Another thing that I would not do again is that I didn't get on the day care Wait list, uh, early enough.

  • So when I went to my first day care visit, that was four months pregnant.

  • I thought that was plenty of time.

  • And then the woman who was doing the tour asked me So are you pregnant yet?

  • And I thought that she was kidding until I found out that the weightless was 15 months long.

  • And as I pointed out earlier, the weightless for daycares in South Korea can run up to one or two years.

  • So if you can do anything ahead of time, make sure that you get on that list as soon as possible.

  • And this isn't to say that there's not going to be a spot in a daycare somewhere, but all of the top rated ones are always filled up way in advance.

  • And so those are the ones that I'm really talking about.

  • Something that I would do again is joining my local Facebook Baby gear Resell group.

  • I don't know if Facebook is used as widely here, but if you have any sort of social media or groups where people share have shared interest.

  • Oh, definitely look for shared groups because people would stall these big guard bitch bags of baby clothes for $25 because they wanted to get rid of it and get something for that saved me and my husband a ton of money.

  • So definitely look into that you're having a baby soon.

  • Also, this was something that was totally out of left field for me.

  • But if you want newborn photos, schedule it now for the sleepy two week period in the 1st 2 weeks, baby, sleep through everything.

  • I think a car could like explode, and they would still stay asleep.

  • This is the best time for them to take pictures.

  • But it's also the time when photographers are super full, because that's when the best pictures come out.

  • So if this is something you want to do, make sure that you find a photographer that you like and book them now.

  • So the last thing that I wouldn't do is starting a big remodeling project.

  • When my due date was less than two months away, so you might laugh and wonder who would decide to do a big renovation when they're pregnant, And the answer is a lot of people, including me, him, a husband.

  • This is what our master bathroom look like 50 days from when I was d'oh.

  • And there's something about knowing that a baby's coming and that wanting to make sure that your space is a good space for them to grow up in, as well as knowing how much harder is going to be to remodel once the baby's here.

  • That makes a lot of people decide to suddenly do big construction projects right before the baby's due.

  • You know, at least two other people who do that around the same time as me and none of them, including ours, finished on time because babies are generally on time, whereas construction projects generally aren't.

  • And as much as you might think, you need to upgrade your kitchen, your bathroom.

  • Now it just adds a bunch of struts that you really don't need, so don't do it.

  • So, uh, the last section is baby's here, her, eh?

  • The first few days in the hospital were such a blur for me that I was really grateful that I got to stay in the hospital for four days because they're the nurses.

  • Do everything for you.

  • And then I remember when we were leaving the hospital thinking, Are they seriously letting me person doesn't know anything.

  • Just take this helpless tiny little thing home.

  • Yep, they are.

  • Congratulations, Your apparent.

  • Don't panic.

  • Just kidding.