• Community, Advocacy

Why freelance parents must create their own action plans for parental leave

This week, the New York Times published a helpful guide on how freelancers can create their own parental and maternity leave. Freelancers Union’s Executive Director Caitlin Pearce was among the five contributors, who outlined where the laws help, where more work is needed, and how independent workers can carve out leave in the meantime.

While accessing leave is tough even for full-timers, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act does not cover freelancers. Certain states — including New York and California — do offer their own programs, but investigating those options, devising a financial plan, and coming up with a transition strategy is rife with challenges for new freelance parents.

Among the hurdles is that intermittent or unpredictable incomes can make saving prior to taking leave difficult to impossible, and that federal anti-discrimination laws, like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, also don’t extend to freelancers.

That said, there are strategies that freelancers can use. On managing cash flow and client expectations, Caitlin advised keeping the lines of communication open: "Communicate that that plan may be subject to change, but that you are planning to come back to work if that’s the case and that this is how you expect to navigate your leave,” she said.

Read more here.