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The US is one of the last developed nations that does not have a national maternity pay program. If you are self-employed, the government will not subsidize taking time off from your business. In order to effectively prepare for pregnancy and childcare without letting your business suffer, consider some of the following:
· Four states (California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island) offer disability insurance. Their programs only cover around 60% of salary and last 6 weeks or less. If you live in one of these states you can pay a small amount from your paycheck to qualify for benefits when you have to take time off.
· If you do not live in one of these states, you can purchase short-term disability insurance from a private insurance provider. Make sure you know how long you must pay premiums before you can collect benefits. This should provide you with income similar to what you earned before you had your child.
· Hire someone to help run your business while you are gone. While you work from home, this person can meet with clients and take care of day-to-day business operations. This small expense can help prevent a dip in sales or loss of clients.
· If you want to maintain a more active role in your business, ask family members to help care for your child while you are gone. Be sure to do this while you are pregnant so you are prepared if you need to continue working after you have the baby.
· Make sure not to add to your workload. Avoid extra stress during this time by putting off any large-scale business changes and try to say no to new clients for the time being.