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Family leave -- did your partner take it and how much time?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

My DH started a job when I hit around 20wks pregnant with my second daughter. We were QUITE happy with that (oh yeah and now we can pay bills!) even though I'd almost be due by the time (now) that he'd share this info with the company he works for. We were told by MANY to wait until any probation periods are up (he's almost at 90 days) because of the sad reality-- the employer might not keep him on because of that and use the "at-will" employment as a reason for letting go, etc. angry.gif


We live in California, and I know it's pretty progressive in this state with family leave and we even have PAID family leaves and such. But it seems like these *laws* to protect us as families needing to bond with a new baby are really looked down upon for partners. I've met many moms who's partners have only taken DAYS off or a week or two. Then some who take 3 months off.


We couldn't afford more then 6 weeks unpaid but feel like that's the MINIMUM we'd like to take. He's going to let them know he wants 6 but will take 3. With 2 weeks being the minimum. And that is just not enough, but what can we do?


Please share your experience and any suggestions you might have for me to research our rights for this kind of leave. I find it very unfair that we have to worry so much about something so important-- the birth of a child. I wish it wasn't looked at negatively the way it is in the workplace. I talk with my friends and family about it and the first thing they say is "oh, well he doesn't want to lose his job!" like THAT is the most important thing?!?! It makes me feel like starting a family isn't looked at correctly, we are growing baby workers here, isn't that what HELPS the economy? *sigh* I could go on...

post #2 of 24
I'm confused, is your DH at the 90 day probationary period yet? And has he been paying into SDI? If so, as long as he has at least $300 in wages during the base period (calculated by the highest quarterly earnings in the past year, so probably just these past 90 days if he was unemployed prior to this job) AND works for an employer who employs 50 or more people, then he can take the full 6 weeks, paid, and his job will be protected.

My DH took the first week off starting the day I had our second baby. my parents were staying with us for the entire 6week postpartum period (I got to enjoy a full 42 day "laying in" period, which was awesome) so after that first week he went back to his full-time schedule. Now that my parents have left and I've recovered, he is taking one exyra day off each week and we are collecting PFL benefits for him for those days. That's the great thing about PFL in ÇA, you don't have to take the 6 weeks all in one chunk.

Good luck with what you decide.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Oh so his job is protected then?!?! This is great news, thank you so much for sharing! He's been paying into SDI and has made over $300. It's very confusing how these rules work. I'm still trying to figure out what we will get paid if he does qualify for PFL.

He's not quite reached the 90 days probation period-- he will be around Sept. 15th. but feels morally its wrong to wait until then (my edd is 9/29) to tell his employer since it would be like 2 weeks notice. Leaves are to be requested a month or more in advance from what his employee handbook says.

Sadly, my parents passed and his are not heavily involved with their grandkids so I have no one except DH to rely on. Plus-- he's the father and I'd rather him be there anyway-- just personal preference though. I was supposed to have my sister stay with us but now she can't.
post #4 of 24

Just to clarify--there are two laws/programs that should both apply to your husband. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will protect his job for up to 12 weeks of leave--provided his employer has at least 50 full-time employees--but provides no compensation. California's SDI covers the Paid Family Leave (PFL) which will cover up to 6 weeks--not necessarily consecutive--and pays 55% of the lost wages, according to the highest quarterly earnings in the base period. So PFL does NOT provide job protection or return-to-work rights, but FMLA does. Your husband will probably qualify for both.

post #5 of 24

The question of when to notify them is a tricky one! Too bad 2 weeks notice isn't sufficient or that would be perfect! But remember, you could have the baby up to 2 weeks after your EDD... so then maybe the timing would be perfect? I get wanting to put off telling them until he's out of probation. However, based on the FMLA I'm assuming they couldn't terminate him based on his request for leave. Of course, they could use some other excuse to terminate him during the probationary period, but I wonder if formally requesting the leave would actually provide him with job protection because it would possibly give him evidence against them in a wrongful termination suit, should they try to terminate him for requesting leave but claim it's for some other reason. Sorry, I'm rambling and NAK

post #6 of 24

Oh shoot--I just remembered that in order to qualify for FMLA coverage the employee has to have been with the company for a certain amount of time, though I forget what that is. Hopefully it's also 90 days! But that is somethign to look into. Because if he doesn't qualify for FMLA then it's totally up to the discretion of his employer as to whether or not they are going to give him the time off, and how long they'll give. My DH's employer actually just squeeked by not being covered by FMLA (because they only employ like 45 full-timers) so he has had to negotiate for the time off, which is why we only had him take one full week off followed by a number of weeks with one or 2 extra days off. SDI/PFL covers the payment for the days off that his employer grants him, but it's up to them how long they're going to give him and how.


It is a lot of info to sift through, Good Luck!

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
It's A TON of info and can be really confusing. I had this issue last pregnancy with my first. She was born near Xmas. I ended up owing SDI because of a loophole with holiday pay that I misunderstood. I felt really beaten down and upset over it and they are telling me to pay back nearly ALL the money I received. So I don't trust these programs and am wary of them entirely. They are supposed to protect me and my husband-- they only hurt us financially. I don't think I'll even apply for SDI though I've paid into it since I was 15! Ugh. But this is off topic.

My main concern is DH. We aren't expecting any assistance from the state thought it would help tremendously. He just let me know that they took it very well and told him "family first-- take as much time as you need" and this is FANTASTIC news. I just hope there are no bumps in the road. We really need to figure out what he's entitled to because him losing this job would be devastating for us-- but so would me being on my own with a new babe and almost-4 year old!

Reading through the state websites is just painful and I've avoided it this entire pregnancy. I wish I had someone or a better resource to look at my specific situation and explain my options.

And kitteh-- totally agree that him telling them with plenty of notice could only help. His supervisor was very relieved he didn't wait till 2wks and told her early. She has kids so, is understanding. smile.gif
post #8 of 24
Did you mean for this thread to be in the pregnancy loss section or pregnancy?
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ooops. Yeah just the main pregnancy thread-- sorry about that.

post #10 of 24
My husband had a month of paid leave to take, and we chose for my DH to go back to work part time at 3 weeks and now he's back full time but working from home a bit.

If you have an option to save some of those 6wks for later, I would take it. As I've heard it from other moms, you may want to save those days for a rougher time down the road.

I know this depends A LOT on how you heal from birth and how breastfeeding and sleeping is going for your baby, but by 3 wks I felt pretty comfy taking care of myself and my baby and kind of wanted some space. But I am an introvert too, so that probably affects things.
post #11 of 24
DP is taking 9 months at 93%.
I'm self employed I will take 3 months at 55%.
I'm so excited he's going to take leave with the new baby, let me keep working (I consult and can work from home) and spend nice quiet relaxed time with the other kids...

I'm grateful to live in a country that recognizes family bonding time! All of that being said this isn't my first baby rodeo. My first I was blessed my aunt came to baby nurse. They should give all first time parents 2 months.
post #12 of 24

We live in CA too, and my wife took 6 weeks off.  She took vacation time the first week so she still has one week left that she can use within the year.  I believe she needed to have been at her employer at least a year to qualify.  I have the feeling that many fathers/partners do not take full advantage of this benefit.  The people who work for the state seem to be confused about how it works.  DW got a lot of wrong information about how to apply for it.

CA has paid family leave but we also have an FMLA type law that provides job protection for longer than 12 weeks. That is for the birthing mom, I don't know how that law applies to partners. 

post #13 of 24
Originally Posted by kitteh View Post

Oh shoot--I just remembered that in order to qualify for FMLA coverage the employee has to have been with the company for a certain amount of time, though I forget what that is. Hopefully it's also 90 days!

For FMLA you must have worked for your employer at least one year AND have worked at least 1,250 hours in that year (holiday, vacation time, and leaves during that year do not count towards your total 1,250).

Edited to add: My DW is a professor and has just started at a new college this semester so she does not have enough time there to qualify for FMLA. There is no such thing as vacation time or sick time in her profession so she will not have much time off with us unfortunately. It is a great job with a lot of perks so I'm not complaining, but I would like to see a system develop in the USA where there was more opportunity for all, regardless of profession. Basically as a prof if she is sick she has to cancel class (very frowned on) or find a sub (still pretty frowned on and requires the department chair's approval of the sub). She has subs lined up and approved for when I do go into labor, but she really shouldn't use them for more than one class session each unless there is a complication, so that maybe gets her a couple days but not a full week. She is crossing her fingers that I go into labor either on her prep day (no classes) or on a weekend so that she can get a few days with us at home right after we are discharged from the hospital. I hate that she has to think about that.
Edited by Sphinxy - 9/3/13 at 8:43am
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Wow that's rough sphinxy! I hope you go into labor on a weekend too.

I ended up having this babe early and my waters broke on a Sunday might. DH called in and supposedly got 3 weeks leave as he asked for.

Well they had him come in today for a meeting telling him he was laid off. Yay at-will employment! Cut-throat, discriminatory employers like DHs make me sick. How heartless to do something like this!

So we are reeling from that now but are happy about it too. At least this way he gets to be with his new baby. It's just terrible how it came about. This country really needs to be more understanding of fathers/partners taking time off for a child! It's ridiculous.

I think we may be talking to a lawyer. We will see if that's even worth the effort.
post #15 of 24
Wow, I'm so sorry that happened to your DH, tillymonster! How horrible.

Congrats on the little one!
post #16 of 24

my husband is taking 2 weeks off. i wish he would just take the rest of the semester off (he has been teaching high school for 12 years and has a ton of accrued sick days and vacation days)... but he claims that he would still have to make lesson plans for the subs and it would be just like teaching just not being there. Anyone know if this is true?? I think that it would be so much better if he could take off 2 weeks paid, then my mom could come for a month, and then he could take off another 2 weeks which would bring us right to winter break and I would never be at home alone all day with the baby when she's so young ~ i really don't think I can handle that in the beginning- i can barely handle him being gone from sunrise to 5pm monday through friday (i'm not currently working and school doesnt start for awhile and there's only so many housewifely duties/gym sessions/yoga classes I can do before I get bored and feel useless). 


Does the FMLA say that he gets PAID time off? or just CAN take time off and won't lose his job? because we couldn't do unpaid time off at all.... it has to all be covered.

post #17 of 24
FMLA is unpaid, it just provides job security and continuation of non-related benefits (health insurance, mostly.) He would have to be paid some other way, like through CA's Paid Family Leave program, or his employer's vacation pay, or something like that.
post #18 of 24
Originally Posted by kitteh View Post

FMLA is unpaid, it just provides job security and continuation of non-related benefits (health insurance, mostly.) He would have to be paid some other way, like through CA's Paid Family Leave program, or his employer's vacation pay, or something like that.

This, and, though most FMLA leave can be taken non-consecutively, employers are not required to provide that option when the leave is for the birth of a child. At my employer, for example, the sceanrio proposed by yoginimomma would not be allowed.

The lessons plans issue is an interesting one. If it is truly an approved FMLA leave and not just some other type of time off then I don't think they can require him to do any work at all, but I'm not positive.

And, about the pay during FMLA, it's up to the employer to decide whether or not you are allowed to use vacation or sick days to essentially "pay yourself" during that leave, so you would want to consult your employer's FMLA policy to see how they handle compensation during that time.

The best place to start with FMLA questions is typically your Human Resources office. (Assuming you don't have a shady employer like tillymonster's husband did... So sorry to hear that awful story!)
post #19 of 24

About teachers and lesson plans when they're on leave ..... no idea what the legalities are, but it is my experience that all teachers will *want* to do it. It's the only way that their expectations about the class can be met by the time they come back, and that they can finish the whole year on track.

post #20 of 24

So sorry to hear that update! It makes you wonder if that was the plan all along...if so, I think that is really low of his boss to act family friendly and then lay him off. Hope you find something better very soon. Congrats on your baby!

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