Any advice? I’m just a few weeks pregnant, due in June. I’m supposed to start a faculty position (tt - great fit) at a research intensive R1 school. Our plan had been to move back to the US in December.

If I start the position in January, I’d have probably about 4 weeks of paid leave.

On my current fellowship in Canada, I have a full year. (Could start the 1 yr in June) But I’m scared I’d lose my position.

Anyone have any thoughts? I’m also concerned about moving back to the US mid-COVID super pregnant.

  • Why would the benefits of paid leave be the same in USA as in Canada/
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 18:11
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    Do clarify exactly what the paid leave plans are. The US is a hellscape for employees, and often parental leave kicks in after 6 months. So you may be better off starting six months before you need it. A TT position is a big deal to give up, so I strongly second Raghu's answer to talk to your dept! Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 18:50
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    The timeline and options you are discussing here are confusing to me. Maybe take another read of it to clarify. I also have asked questions about pregnancy here and you can take a look. Finally, you should figure out the maternity policies of the R1- you won’t be eligible for FMLA but they might have something you could use for a semester or leave and stop the clock.
    – Dawn
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 19:51
  • Quite separate from leave issues, be aware that when you return to the US and start your new job in the US university, you will likely have health insurance coverage from your university. Many employer-provided health insurance plans explicitly exclude coverage of pregnancy for the first nine months after the start of employment; or at least they did fifteen years ago; I don't know if the minimum ACA requirements (which all group plans must adhere to also) treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition that must be covered by the plan. Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 22:01
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    There’s nothing wrong with asking to defer the start date. This is fairly common and good departments managed by sensible people are usually flexible about such things, assuming they don’t have some very urgent teaching-related need, which they rarely do. Just talk to them soon, don’t leave the department scrambling to find instructors to replace you at the last minute.
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 0:21

1 Answer 1


You should chat with your future department, starting with the department chair. (The views of random people on the internet, by the way, should count for very little!) Based on past experience, asking to defer one's start was not uncommon even pre-Covid. Keep in mind that (i) your department wants you to succeed, and making a case that you're more likely to succeed given x, y, and z is a good thing to do; (ii) it's possible that there are external constraints on the department, like a need for someone, perhaps you, to teach certain courses. Still, it's important to realize that (aside from rare, dysfunctional departments) the department is on your side.

Less important, I will note that personally I would think it better to start sooner, in January, rather than when you're due. Having a new baby is exhausting for the first few months at least, and starting a faculty position at the same time sounds very challenging! (I have two kids, one born before, one after, and zero at the start of my professorship!)

  • Thanks guys. I am submitting a grant with my new department chair next week and a grant on my own the following week. I think I will talk to her after those are in and I have shown that I am serious about getting started on the right foot. It does seem that ACA means that baby and I have to be covered, but we’ll see if ACA still existes then... Even if I don’t get any leave, it might make sense to start in January anyway as this year won’t count toward tenure anyway, next year won’t either cause of baby. I have a 3 yr teaching pause, so if all I’m doing is grant writing anyway... Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 22:31

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