One Less Thing to Think About: 3 Email Templates for Your Maternity Leave

With my first child, my water broke early and I didn’t have a hospital bag packed in advance. The result: My well-intentioned husband packed me three pairs of too small leggings and one tank top. (Why, yes, I did end up borrowing generously from the sweats he’d packed for himself!)

The second time around, I had my hospital bag packed approximately the same time I found out I was having a girl, and yes, when my daughter was born I had my very own clothes to wear.

I know you’re thinking this will be a bit of reach, but my out of office messages followed the same pattern. Pregnancy one: I typed out a frantic “I’m headed to the hospital and won’t be checking emails” note to my supervisor—and had to log on within days of giving birth to write something actually useful. Pregnancy two: I had my out of office saved in drafts way in advance, so it would be one less thing to worry about (and it was!).

Whether your maternity leave will be a few weeks or a few months, your auto-responder’s the best way to remind people that you’re not only unavailable, but that you’re also a professional who thought of everything (OK, almost everything) in advance.

Here’s how to craft one that’ll work for everyone:

Address the Key Points

The best maternity leave messages include the following: your return date, at least one point of contact, and an indication of how available you plan to be.

Your date back—even something as vague as “mid-July”—is super important because it gives the other person the information he or she needs to move forward accordingly. If they’re hoping the next stage of the project will be complete by then, they’ll know to reach out to one of the people you listed. But if they send you an email right around when you’re due to return, they’ll see that you’ll be back shortly.

Multiple points of contact are ideal, because people reach out for different reasons. To make their lives—as well as those of the people covering for you—even easier, list out a few options. Think: “For assistance with [specific project], contact Steve at [email]. All other inquiries, please contact Jennifer at [email]”. (Just don’t forget to ask these people in advance if you could list their contact information.)

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that not everyone completely ignores their inbox while they’re gone. Some women, either to stay somewhat in the loop, or if there’s one project or client they want to remain connected to, mention that they’ll be available in limited capacity. If that’s the case for you, you’ll want to provide some clarity around what “slower to respond” means. Remember, you’re allowed to set the boundaries here, so don’t be scared to be honest.

Now, with those three points in mind, here are three templates. Feel free to copy and paste directly (filling in the blanks, of course). Or to mix and match. Only you know what makes sense for your role at your company.

For the Mom Who Plans to Fully Disconnect

Hello,

I’ll be on maternity leave until [date].

For general inquiries about [department/role], please email [contact email]. If you need immediate assistance or are submitting [part of an ongoing project], please contact [contact name name] at [contact email].

If this isn’t time sensitive, feel free to resend this email in [month] once I’m regularly checking emails again.

All the best,
[Your name]

For the Mom Who Plans to Stay Somewhat Connected

Hello,

I’ll be out the office until [return date].

I’ll be checking my email [once a week/a few times a month/sporadically]. Please, resend any messages that you’d like me to review with the subject “URGENT:[Original Subject]” and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

If your message requires immediate attention in the meantime, please reach out to [contact name] at [contact email] with any questions.

All the best,
[Your name]

For the Mom Who Wants to Have a Little Fun With It

Hi,

In disappointing news for you and very exciting news for my family, I’ll be on maternity leave until [date].

For general inquiries about [department/role], please email [contact name]. If you need immediate assistance or are submitting [part of an ongoing project], please contact [contact name name] at [contact email].

If this isn’t time sensitive, feel free to resend this email in [month] once I’m regularly checking emails again.

In the meantime, please enjoy these adorable photos of my baby [@InstagramHandle]. I might be biased, but I think they’re the best thing on the internet right now.

All the best,
[Your name]

It may seem silly to write this before you actually go on maternity leave, but when the time comes, the last thing you want to focus on is spell-checking an out-of-office message. It’ll save you (and your co-workers) lots of stress if this is ready to go the second you’re ready to leave.

Photo of woman typing courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.

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About Alyse Kalish

Alyse Kalish
As an Associate Editor for The SalesJobInfo, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.

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