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When to tell clients about maternity leave?

(4 Posts)
cyclingkaty Tue 18-Sep-12 11:32:42

Hi,

I'm a newbie to Mumsnet and a first time Mum to be! I'm 26+5 and baby is due in December, closer to Christmas than I'd like but hey ho!

I run my own web design business and have done for the last 6 years. I don't employ anyone and work from home, collaborating with other developers and designers when a project demands it.

I have a core set of clients that I work for regularly; I built their websites and I maintain them on an ad hoc send-updates-when-you-like basis. This works well for both parties. I've told some clients, whom I've worked with for years that I'm expecting in December but not all yet (but I intend to very soon!).

At what point did anyone else tell their clients? Were they understanding or did some leave?

I'm lucky this year has gone well and existing projects will be finished by the end of November, giving me a few weeks to rest and do final preparations for baby. I'm currently intending to be available for website maintenance work in December for existing clients as there won't be much and I can do it any time of the day.

I was intending to take this approach for existing clients in January/February/March when I'll be on maternity leave. Being self employed means I can't shut up shop for 6 months and turn off my phone and emails!!

I won't be working on new or large projects, only website updates. Does this sound crazy? My clients will leave me alone as much as possible, certainly for the first month or so.

Thanks, Katy

Mumofjz Tue 18-Sep-12 14:25:29

i would let them know in the next next month or so, give them chance to have a think if they needed anything changing/updating (which you wouldn't know about) and get back to you with it prior to you on "maternity" leave.

I think as long as they feel they would still have your support in place, they shouldn't have a need to feel they need to look elsewhere.

Good luck with the baby and make sure you do take some rest after the baby is born smile

FreelanceMama Thu 27-Sep-12 04:32:48

I told my clients by at least 3 months prior to my due date (and anyone else who normally contacted me re: work) so I could do what I could for them before my baby came. I stopped work about a week before the due date.

I told them I'd be unavailable for 2 months but had someone I could refer them to if they needed anything urgent during then. I also told them that the following two months I'd be available to do urgent work - using my ten keeping in touch days allowed while getting maternity allowance. You can do unpaid work as much as you like during the time you receive MA so I said I'd be online answering emails, etc. after 2 months. In practice only one client needed anything during those 4 months and also used my friend during that time. My out of office response said I'd be checking email intermittently until Xx date. Actually I checked loads on my phone while breastfeeding! But always better to under-promise and over-deliver!

Good luck. If you can - do try to give yourself a few weeks break
before being available and make it clear you are prepared to do urgent work while on leave because they are important clients however the more notice you have the more likely you'll be able to say yes. And consider having a backup person to do work for you.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 27-Sep-12 14:57:58

"self employed"
"maternity leave"
Sorry, does not compute.

I did my last bit of work before DS was born about three hours into labour.
I sold a house an hour before I went into hospital.
Came home the next afternoon and dealt with a tax return when he was 14 hours old.

Take the Scotty approach (as freelancemama says) - under promise and over deliver.
But there is nothing to stop you pootling along with work a bit each day - just date the bills after your MA finishes ....
And keep all communication on email as then you can respond when you feel like it.

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