Three Ways to Educate Yourself about Workplace Maternity Policies

Carli Lloyd encourages women to thrive in careers and motherhood simultaneously

Our conversation with Carli Lloyd was about navigating pregnancy as a professional athlete. As a seasoned professional volleyball player, Carli’s now very public story began when she was in Italy training for her 10th professional season and then found out she was pregnant. What unfolded over the mere hours after she took that pregnancy test is hard to fathom. Carli and her partner didn’t even get a chance to process this news personally, before it was thrust into the public view and her contract was swiftly cancelled. Dramatic as it was, Carli’s story is not unusual. She joined us to reflect on women’s rights in professional athletics and the culture shifts being seen across some sports to begin to mandate pregnancy policies and protect maternity leave for mothers. While most of us are not professional athletes, our conversation with Carli inspired us to compile a list of ways to educate yourself about maternity policies at your own place of work.

  1. Common policies around maternity leave – On average around the world, over 120 countries offer some form of paid maternity leave, mandated by law, to new working mothers. The United States is included in this list, however they offer the bare minimum of 12 weeks paid maternity leave, whereas other countries like the Czech Republic offer 28 weeks. 
  2. Know your rights It’s important to know your company’s policy about paid maternity leave. It is also crucial to know your state and/or country’s laws in order to ensure you are being treated fairly and paid accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions and to make sure you are getting what you need from your employer in order to make informed decisions.
  3. Ask direct questions when preparing to start a family:
    • Do you pay for maternity leave, and for how long?
    • How do you handle shuffling responsibilities when team members step out on maternity leave? 
    • Can I expect to have my same role and responsibilities when I return from maternity leave?
    • Will retirement contributions and other benefits continue while I am away on maternity leave?
    • How do I add my child to my insurance policy through work?

Carli’s own story as well as her advocacy with non-profit organization And Mother encourages women to not accept the barriers many place before them simply because they are starting or growing their family. To learn more about the work Carli and others are doing to support this movement, visit

Carli on Breaking Glass