Friday, May 15 was my last day in the office before the baby arrives. I am officially on holiday/maternity leave and won't be reporting back to work until June 2, 2010!
Ontario law was only passed in 2000 for women to have one year of maternity leave. There is a catch - depending on where you work, you get a percentage of your salary and not the full salary. At my company, I get 17 weeks of pay at 100%. After that, I qualify for what amounts to as unemployment as well. It's not a bad trade off.
Growing up, I never considered how this would all work. I love my career and loved the idea of family some day, only I really couldn't reconcile how or when this would happen. In the US, you typically have to go back to work after 6 weeks! That's not enough time for your body to really heal. It's also not very convenient if you are breastfeeding.
Luckily for us, we moved to Canada! I receive a wonderful year off work to be with my child. I accrue vacation during this time and am considered a full-time employee. It's fantastic!
Leaving work was bittersweet on Friday. I will dearly miss everyone, even the baddies. But what I've realized is that work will always be there. I'm sure everyone will be fine and busy while I'm gone. In fact, the year will likely pass more quickly for them than for me!
My coworkers organized a little send off for me. We laughed and hung out for nearly 3 1/2 hours at the pub down from my house. Some folks I'll see next week for a coffee or lunch too. Very nice that my Canadian family is taking good care of me.
So the big question remains - what on earth am I going to do now? Well, I have a to do list a mile long of rainy day things that I have neglected for a long time. It's Spring, so I even have fun things like playing in the backyard and tending to garden, plants and yard. I have reading to do of my own, and my manuscript that I can start writing again. I'll just be keeping busy until my Bun arrives. With the due date less than two weeks away, I just can't wait!