Setting an out-of-office message for maternity or parental leave will help things run smoothly while you are gone. Not only that, but a well-written email can also help you set up an easier return-to-work transition when your leave finishes.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Should You Include in an Out of Office Maternity Leave Message?
- Example Out of Office Messages for Maternity Leave
Up next is the what and why of leaving an out-of-office email. Afterward, you'll find some examples to get you started.
What Should You Include in an Out-of-Office Maternity Leave Message?
Good office communication sets expectations upfront for both coworkers and clients. Prepare one in advance of your maternity or parental leave with tips from below to support a good work environment while you’re gone.
Here are a few things to think about before you set your away message.
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What’s my return date?
Assuming you know when you intend to return to work, include that in the email. If you haven't precisely determined the date, then estimate your return within the beginning, middle, or end parameters of a specific month.
Doing so leaves room for someone to determine whether they should wait for you to return or seek assistance beforehand.
Will I be checking my emails?
Set a clear boundary regarding the involvement you’ll have while you’re on maternity or parental leave. That way, both clients and coworkers will have fair expectations. Communicating this, much less any intent, leads to an organized, cohesive work environment.
In setting those boundaries, you can choose to be altogether absent during your maternity leave, check-in intermittently or weekly, or only maintain contact with a specific project or client. Clarify the intent in your email to avoid confusion.
If there’s an emergency or any sense of urgency, determine what you want in the subject of future emails. Do you want it to read “important” or “critical”? Use the better of the two for you and your situation.
Do I tell people why I am gone?
Expressing the reason for your absence is entirely up to you. That means you could be specific and note that you’ll be out of the office for maternity or parental leave. Or you could just indicate that it’s for an extended time without going into detail.
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Who’s managing my responsibilities?
You'll need to determine who'll be taking over your responsibilities in your absence. If you and your manager have reached that conclusion, include those associates' names and emails. Otherwise, establish your manager as the best point of contact.
But before you include any names and emails, connect with each person to gain permission and prepare them for an additional influx of emails to hit their inbox.
Example Out of Office Messages for Maternity Leave
Below are various examples of out-of-office messages for maternity or parental leave, from short to funny, and more.
Short out of office maternity leave messages
Out-of-office messages can be as short as you like. Here, we'll offer some quick, to-the-point examples.
1. “Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, I will be out of the office until mid-March. Please forward any questions or concerns to my manager, [name], at [email address] or [phone].”
Here’s one that’s short and to the point. Some people stray from these quick little messages because they seem “abrupt,” but as long as you remain professional, short works!
2. "Hi there. I will be out of the office on maternity leave until the end of June. I will have limited access to my emails until then. Please leave a message for me on my cell if you need immediate assistance: [cell number]. I will return your phone call as soon as I can. Thank you."
Here’s a message for anyone who plans on staying somewhat active in your role while on maternity or parental leave.
3. “Thank you for contacting me. I will be out of the office from [date] to [date] on extended parental leave. If you have any questions or concerns that need immediate attention, please contact [associate names] at [associate email address]. They will be happy to assist you. Thanks!”
Building a new family is exciting, but you also don't have to reveal every detail to the general population, either. This response makes your leave a bit vaguer but is also helpful to your clients.
4. “Hello. I will be returning to the office on [date]. Until then, please direct any concerns to my team member [name], at [email address] or [phone].”
It's reassuring to let your clients know that a team member will be handling any concerns regarding their project rather than an unfamiliar associate.
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Funny out of office maternity leave messages
Know your audience before you send out funny out-of-office messages for maternity or parental leave.
5. “Friends and colleagues. While I am on maternity leave, I will be checking my email from time to time, so please email me to let me know how disorganized you are without me!”
Small teams depend on each other to keep the wheels turning but taking time off is necessary after birth. Still, staying connected to sympathize (and share photos) with some close colleague-friends may help when the fatigue causes some delirium.
6. “Hello. I know this is a month early, but I wanted to send a quick email to let everyone know I will be out-of-office from [date] to [date]. I miss you already!”
Hey, giving birth is no cakewalk. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy a full 12 weeks of leave.
7. “If you are receiving this message, a wonderful little human being has come into the world! If you’re wondering why I am not back at work after already, it’s because after 36 hours of labor, sleep deprivation with hourly bottle-feedings, this sweet baby needs me more than you.”
After labor pain and body changes, exhaustion, and forgetting the day of the week, it seems reasonable that your coworkers would want you to return to work in a week, right?
8. "Hi there! As you know, I am out on maternity leave. I won't be checking my emails or listening to my phone messages while I am away. But please feel free to send or leave as many messages as you like."
Here's a message for those coworkers that rarely read through notes in their entirety. Hopefully, they'll fill up your voicemail quickly! "This mailbox is full!"
Last day before maternity leave email to send to coworkers
Here, we'll introduce more specific examples for staying connected or disconnecting entirely during your maternity leave.
9. “Friend and Colleagues,
This message is to let you know that I will be going on maternity leave starting tomorrow until [date].
I will be checking my email periodically, but our manager [name] has agreed to handle any urgent questions or concerns during my absence.
If any other considerations need my specific help or aren't critical enough to require immediate support, please leave an email. I will respond as soon as I can.
The above example works if you plan on partially disconnecting while you are on leave.
10. “Friends and Colleagues,
I wanted to send a reminder that my maternity leave begins tomorrow. I will be out-of-office until the end of [month].
If you need assistance on the [name] project, please contact [name] at [email]. They will be assuming my role for the interim. I look forward to seeing you all when I return.
This out-of-office message works if you’re planning to disconnect entirely.
11. “Friends and Team Members,
Even though I begin my maternity leave tomorrow, I wanted to assure everyone that I'll be available as much as possible throughout the time I'm away. If ever there’s an emergency, please contact [name] at [email].
Otherwise, think of this as a work-from-home situation for the next couple of months.
Thank you all for your hard work, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Use this message if you’d like to stay well-connected during your leave.
Last day before maternity leave email to send to clients
Choose the level of connection you’d like to have while you are away on maternity leave—it’s up to you.
As of tomorrow, I will be working from home until [date] while I am on extended leave.
If you require support, please resend this email and type “CRITICAL” in the subject line. And I will respond to you shortly.
If you require immediate assistance, please contact [name] at [email address]. They are well-informed regarding our ongoing projects.
Thank you and kind regards,”
This message works if you’ll remain connected to projects with your clientele while you’re away.
13. “Hi there,
I will be out of the office tomorrow until [date] while I am on maternity leave.
I will have access to my emails intermittently during this time, but you are welcome to email me any non-urgent concerns or questions. I will respond to them as soon as possible.
Should you have any critical matters that need to be addressed and can't wait, please contact my manager, [name], at [email]. They will be able to assist you no matter the concern at hand, and quickly.
Thank you and kind regards,”
Here’s a message for staying only partially connected during your maternity or parental leave.
Beginning tomorrow, I will be on extended leave until [date].
While I am away, if you need help with [concern 1], please contact [name] at [email address].
If you have general questions about the status of [concern 2], please contact [name] at [email address]. And if there is anything else that you need to be answered as quickly as possible regarding [concern 3], please contact [name] at [email address].
I appreciate your patience and understanding,
Thank you and kind regards,”
This last one works if you plan on disconnecting entirely during your parental or maternity leave.
Other Kinds of Family Leave
Bringing a new life into the world is one reason to ask for extended leave from work. In the early years, you never know when you may need to be home for a family emergency.
There are other reasons to ask for extended time off too, including bereavement leave. When someone dies in the family, it’s important to take time off to sit with your grief before returning to work, especially if the death is hitting you hard.
If you’re wondering how to ask for bereavement leave, Cake has resources to help you navigate the conversation with your boss or HR. Balancing work and life-events can be tricky, but grief takes many forms and it can be hard to determine how long to take work off after a death.
Cake is here to help. Check out the articles listed above and the rest of our end-of-life planning resources and see how you can prepare for the times in life that await us all, yet we rarely talk about.
- Future of Working, The Leadership and Career Blog. “7 Great Maternity Leave Out of Office Message Sample.” 14 January 2017, www.futureofworking.com/7-great-maternity-leave-out-of-office-message-sample
- Indeed Career Guide. “How to Write a Maternity Out-of-Office Email.” Indeed Career Guide., Indeed. Future of Working, 12 November 2020, www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/maternity-leave-out-of-office