Palmetto Parent September 2012 : Page 14

Oh, Baby! New rules Though maternity leave requirements vary, many employers are fi nding it worthwhile to be fl exible with new parents Story by Chris Worthy ] Photos by Sarah Hettich ara Ballard often works odd hours, scheduling work around nap times or after little ones have gone down for the night. She has successfully combined motherhood and working, even with the challenge of maternity leave thrown in the mix. Ballard is a Columbia resident and mother of Graham, 4, and Lillian, 3. When Graham was born, she worked for a national nonprofi t organization. “Th ey had a great maternity leave policy, plus I saved vacation time,” Ballard said. New parents who are in the workforce face the challenge of coordinating maternity leave, often without pay, but some employ-ers are going beyond what’s required of them to make sure valued members of their companies Sara Ballard has her home offi ce set up in the don’t have to choose same room as the playroom so her children Gra-between growing ham, 4, and Lillian, 3, can play while she works. their families and having jobs. Ballard was able to take 12 weeks off from work when her son was born. “I really didn’t check email or do any-Jennie Cluverius, an attorney with Nex-thing because I was on leave,” she said. “I re-sen Pruet, a Columbia law fi rm, said some ally didn’t work at all during that time. Th at South Carolina employers are off ering some was nice, especially with a fi rst child.” paid maternity leave, though it isn’t required. 14 Palmetto Parent www.palmettoparent.com S “In South Carolina, there’s really no requirement under state law that employers grant time off for expectant parents,” she said. Employers who fall under the Family and September 2012

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