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Taking maternity leave early... how does this work?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have heard on MDC of women taking maternity leave start 'x' date. Like 38 weeks or what have you. At my work, it seems that everyone takes off only when labor begins.

Is this something you have to plan with your Dr, or can you make the decision to take off early on your own without medical reason?
post #2 of 20
At my last job, no one had given birth for like 20 years, so I just told them when I would be going on mat leave. It was six days before my due date, eight days before DD was born, and a convenient Friday. I think it is common for women to want to save as much leave as possible for when baby arrives. For me, I worked as long as I reasonably could without overly stressing myself.

I think at 38/39 weeks, most ladies are uncomfortable enough that a care provider would write you a note if your job required one. I know you've had some difficulty with your job. Are they giving you crap about this too, or are you just looking to be prepared for an argument?

Wish it wasn't difficult for you!
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I haven't brought it up with them yet. i'm just... overwhelmed, and trying to figure out my options.
post #4 of 20
I think most employers will require a doctor/care provider's note/order to let you go on leave before baby comes.

FMLA starts the day you go out on leave, whether baby arrives that day or weeks later, so it can impact the time you get to spend at home with your newborn.

I went out on bedrest almost 2 weeks before DS1 was born, and as a result had to return to work when he was 10 weeks old instead of 12.
post #5 of 20
If you are covered by FMLA, you can trigger it early with a doctor's note. Usually however this will shorten your FMLA-covered leave period. (But depending on work policy you may be able to take more. FMLA is paid at my firm but you can take extra unpaid time off if you want. They fire you and then agree to rehire you.)

If you are covered by sick time, you can use that in some places. Or just call out sick a fair amount in the last few weeks.
post #6 of 20
For DD2 I called in for the time before baby was born, about two weeks, then went on FMLA starting on her birthday. It actually was stressful because she was late, so i ran out of days and had to take more unpaid than I had planned.

With DD1 I worked up until labor day, but in retrospect wish I hadn't because they take all your personal/sick time as part of the leave, and only pay 6 weeks regardless. So I should have taken my leave when I was big and miserable. That's why I took off earlier with DD2. I couldn't afford the full 12 weeks FMLA off work anyway, so that wasn't part of my decision.
post #7 of 20

I took off at 38 weeks and ended up being off for 4 weeks before baby was born.  This was under FMLA (and I needed a doctors note), but when my baby was born the FMLA restarted and I got 3 months starting on her birthday.  They explained to me that the FMLA before is separate from the FMLA for maternity leave.

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartwren View Post

I took off at 38 weeks and ended up being off for 4 weeks before baby was born.  This was under FMLA (and I needed a doctors note), but when my baby was born the FMLA restarted and I got 3 months starting on her birthday.  They explained to me that the FMLA before is separate from the FMLA for maternity leave.



Oh wow! I don't think this is the case at my work. I'm lucky if they'll not deduct fmla from my son's birth for my daughter!

 

My understanding is that this *is* how std works, however.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartwren View Post

They explained to me that the FMLA before is separate from the FMLA for maternity leave.


This was not the case for me. I think I was OK working right up until Labor. My first child was about a week "late" and my second was a week "early." I did use sick/vacation time in my last 2 weeks before my due date so I was only working about 3 days/week. That worked out well for me. I think I could have just told them when I wanted to start FMLA without getting a doctors note.
 

post #10 of 20

I think FMLA is 12 weeks per year, officially.  Each company adds their own quirks and requirements within the legal requirement.

 

With my first child, I wanted to work until the last possible moment, because I wanted to maximize time with him.

 

With my 2nd, I went out a week or two early, because I wanted some time with #1 before #2 arrived.

 

It was 12 weeks, regardless of how the birth date fell within that time.

post #11 of 20

For my job, had I gone out earlier than my daughter's birth WITHOUT a doctor's note stating that it was necessary, it would unpaid leave, I wouldn't be able to use my sick or vacation time.  Then once the baby was born, I could start using that paid time-out (which would also include STD).

 

So for me, because I didn't have any medical issues requiring my doctor to write me a note and because it would have shortened the amount of time I had at home with my daughter, I worked until the day I went into labor.

post #12 of 20

Check your state disability laws too.  I'm in the state of California and Pregnancy is considered a 'disabling condition' from 38 weeks until 6 weeks after delivery for a vaginal birth or 8 weeks after delivery for a c-section.  With DD I went out at 38 weeks, and delivered at almost 41 weeks, but still got the 6 weeks after of disability, THEN I claimed the FMLA and was able to take more time off after that.  Check with HR if your company has one.  They are required to disclose all of that information to you.  

Good Luck!

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bella99 View Post

For my job, had I gone out earlier than my daughter's birth WITHOUT a doctor's note stating that it was necessary, it would unpaid leave, I wouldn't be able to use my sick or vacation time.  Then once the baby was born, I could start using that paid time-out (which would also include STD).

 

So for me, because I didn't have any medical issues requiring my doctor to write me a note and because it would have shortened the amount of time I had at home with my daughter, I worked until the day I went into labor.



this is what it seems like for me as well. Basically, I need a note, and the ob won't write one for just being 'uncomfortable'. Meanwhile, I can barely walk around the lab some days. It's gonna be a long 9 weeks.

post #14 of 20

The way it was explained to me is that short term disability can be used before and after (say you had to go on bedrest before the baby came), you'll still get the 6 or 8 weeks after the birth.  FMLA is just the protected time off and it's 12 weeks total.  So if you use up time before the birth, you won't have much time afterwards, unless of course your company's policies allow for additional time off without any penalties.

I also worked up until I went into labor. 

post #15 of 20

I'll be taking off a week before my EDD, because I was going to take my vacation then anyway and have a volunteer commitment that week. I'll be going back to work when baby is 6 weeks, so my leave will be somewhere between 7-9 weeks, assuming DS arrives after my due date. If he comes early, I'll go back earlier. Unless I get the full time position I'm bucking for, I won't have any disability or sick time (and even if I do, I won't have much sick time), so I'll have a little over a week's worth of paid vacation and personal time, and the rest will be unpaid.

post #16 of 20

I didn't take leave until the day before I was scheduled to be induced (dd was 2 weeks late) because I wanted to spend as much of my leave as possible with my baby.  I could have taken it earlier because they didn't have requirements for proof, I was obviously very pregnant so that may have been all the proof they needed.  I wound up quitting my job to stay home with my dd anyways so it wasn't a big deal.  I think you should ask them what they will need from you when you take leave so you know if taking off early is going to be a plan that works. 

post #17 of 20

Since you are having trouble walking, you might MAYBE be able to convince your OB to give a more specific diagnosis than just "uncomfortable" that would at least entitle you to some temporary ADA accommodations. Especially remind your OB that yours is a walking job, not a desk job. You might be able to get a desk chair on wheels or something like that to roll around the lab instead.

post #18 of 20

Hi im not sure what to do, my maternity starts on the 6th December but i was in hospital this weekend and was in over night as was having Cramping/ tightenings contractions how ever you like to refer to them. I have gone into work on my next work day and explained what had happened and informed work that I will require to go on early mat leave as don't feel I should and can carry on at work. They have informed me that i should normally give 8 weeks notice if i wanted to go on earlie mat leave. Where do i stand and what can I do as feel I really need to be relaxing as much as I can. Please help. x

post #19 of 20

I was planning to leave my job at the end of my maternity leave, so starting it a bit early was not a big deal (it was a combo of STD/FMLA)- I talked to my midwife and explained the situation. Mainly, it was the end of the summer in Chicago, it was over 100F every day and I felt like I was going to pass out waiting for the bus to go to work. She took pity on me and wrote my note early, and I got to spend my last two weeks pregnant in front of the A/C! Can you have a heart to heart with the OB and stress that it's more than uncomfortable? 

post #20 of 20

I worked until labor for both kids and preferred it that way. However, I worked reduced hours from about 1 week before my due date until they were born, 11 days and 12 days late. When my first child was born, I really think I would have went insane if I had not had work to go to. I was very tired at the end but since we had arranged coverage stating that week, it worked out fine. I am very lucky because I effectively manage myself. I manage my division: schedule and delegation of tasks. I covered the specific hours we needed staffing there with other personnel and I worked when I wanted to. I had certain projects and tasks to work on and it didn't matter when I did it. I think in the last 3 weeks, I averaged 20 hours per week. I had 12 weeks to take of no matter what, so those 20 hours per week that I took off came out of my time with my son afterwards.

 

The second birth, I felt great and worked full-time until my daughter was born even though I had set up the same arrangement. 

 

Finally, a great deal of my time off was unpaid and I feel I am still in a financial hole from it. I took as much time as I could because I wanted to be with my kids and I used up all of my savings to pay for it.

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