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My long rant about my maternity leave and incompetent boss/slacking bene dept

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
btw this would probably have made more sense posted on the WOHM's message board, if we had one... since we do not yet I put it here

Bleh I really hate it when I find out things on the weekend when I can't do anything about it!

My former boss, who actually resigned (for some unknown reason) on Feb 11th grrr! told me I could have my medical provider put me on maternity leave anytime up to 4 weeks prior to my due date. I asked, at the time, if there were some policies I could read over in regards to maternity and he said, "no, this is just the standard here and maternity is considered short term disability and falls under FMLA" So I figured, alright. He asked me when I might plan to go off then about a 6 weeks prior to my due date so that he had some idea of when to call in for coverage. I told him that 38 weeks seemed good to me. So that was the plan.

I called the benefits department and got the paper work and they informed me to make sure I didn't fill it out and date it until they took me off work, so that I did. I waited until 2/12/03 to send it in.

Well, today I am called by my partner and told that she got an email yesterday!!!! Why not call me yesterday?!?!?!?! Or better yet, why not freaking call me at home instead of sending email to my place of work, where I am obviously not at?! from the benefits department saying that because no medical complication was stated that my leave is not in effect yet since I have not delivered the baby. And I must make other arrangements! Meaning use my vacation or 1 personal day (only 8 hours btw) I get annually.

I am also pretty annoyed that I am only hearing about this 10 days after I took off work! WTF??! If this stuff wasn't in proper order why wait this long to inform me?

Ok I am pissed now. I was misinformed by my boss and was given no policy to read. Now he isn't even there for me to at least yell at for misguiding me!

It makes me more angry when I think about how wrong all this is in the first place. My friend's sister lives in Calgary and she was going to stop working a month prior to her due date, but decided to take off earlier! Earlier?!?! And now she is off for 6 months after her baby was born plus she is being paid 60% salary the entire time!

Some would say I should be thankful that my job is protected 12 weeks under FMLA and that my company will pay me a portion (60%) of my salary for up to 12 weeks, but I don't really feel that lucky.

This might be acceptable if I were not the sole source of income in my family. If I had a husband's salary to fall back on. I do not, though.

On the other hand I do see what a drain on a company's resources and the economy it would be have overly generous maternity leaves. I am torn, though.

Is there a double standard out there?

I can honestly say I once could see why women had to fight so hard to get equal treatment in the workplace. If they're having babies and taking off for extended periods of time that is going to be very disruptive to a work enviornment. Hell, I was pretty annoyed last year when one of the women where I work took off for her maternity leave and I had to change my schedule and work every other weekend instead of every 3rd weekend. Then when she came back she wanted to rearrange everyone's schedule because of the day care for her baby. The nerve! Why's her life and her needs suddenly more important than mine?

Well, now I am in that situation. I see just how unfair it is from my side to not respect my wishes to work less hours and take off a week or 2 early to prepare for the birth. I see how 8 weeks post partum is the minimum I am even considering to return to work. (the guy covering for me thinks 4 weeks is plenty )

I guess there is no obvious answer. It all comes down to what does society value most perhaps. What do you sacrafice to have the things you want most.

I suppose maybe if I wanted to do this the right way (my ideal way) I should have been more traditional and marry a rich man to take care of me so I could raise my kids in my ideal way.


Thanks for reading my little rant.. just had to get that all out. I'm sure I will figure out something or I can get my midwife to rewrite the form or something, or I can use up all my vacation for the year Which sucks! but we've got to make sacrafices for what we really want, right? Dwelling on this and getting pissed off isn't going to help me anways... So I am going to relax and take it easy until I can get something done about this monday. This will pass, right? Everything will work out for the best I am sure. (I hope!) *sigh*
post #2 of 13

Rant on, sister!

It's nice that they tell you about the problem AFTER you've had ten days off. PFFT!

Try to get your MW to rewrite the form. You'll find you need that vacation with a baby in the house. Daycare providers can't take a sick child and you might find you just need a day off once in a while. Try to avoid using all that up now.

Misery loves company:
If it makes you feel better, I work for a company that is too small to follow FMLA guidelines. They have a 6 week short-term disability leave. However, I have to use up all my vacation and sickleave before I can take any unpaid time. During the six weeks I'm not getting paid, I'm not earning any vacation time. So when I get more vacation in January '04, it won't be my usual two weeks. Nice, huh?

Fortunately, DH finally earned his third week of vacation this year. Unfortunately, he has to save as much of it as possible for sick kids and such the rest of the year. I won't be able to take any time off. He took off two days for the birth of the baby. I came home from the hospital on a Friday and Monday morning I was loading kids into the car and driving them to school. The last two weeks have been rough. He called me from work the other day to ask me to make a couple calls for him. I said, "If I have time." He said, "You're OFF! You have time."

Uh, yeah. In between my two minute cat naps while nursing and in between diaper changes and oh YEAH, we have a five year-old home this afternoon...I'm really OFF.

I'm a secretary. I'd be doing less if I was at work. Putting in OVERTIME. LOL

You might not have the help I have with my DH, but you don't have the hassle, either.

OH...if you do find a rich man, make sure he's got a rich brother. I'm interested in a trade-in.
post #3 of 13

Oh yeah!

Don't forget, we get cute little babies out of all this. With super great smelling fuzzy little heads. There is a reward!

Though I wish I'd had all my rewards in Canada.
post #4 of 13

Re: My long rant about my maternity leave and incompetent boss/slacking bene dept

Originally posted by Lea
It makes me more angry when I think about how wrong all this is in the first place. My friend's sister lives in Calgary and she was going to stop working a month prior to her due date, but decided to take off earlier! Earlier?!?! And now she is off for 6 months after her baby was born plus she is being paid 60% salary the entire time!

Some would say I should be thankful that my job is protected 12 weeks under FMLA and that my company will pay me a portion (60%) of my salary for up to 12 weeks, but I don't really feel that lucky...
Yeah, this is BS. And really, as one of the richest nations in the world, I think it is pathetic that the US does'nt think bearing a child is as deserving of support as do other countries. I don't have any advice, just support... I am hoping to find out next week wether or not I will be offered my job permanently... I will be 30 weeks on Monday so I will be dealing with this myself pretty soon. I would *definitely* try having my midwife re-write your leave reccomendation... maybe to include the stress of the job is causing a problem? GRRRR I would be so p*ssed about not being given the correct information about something so important.

post #5 of 13
I would think you could get your medical provider rewrite the note. With my dd, I was hospitalized at 32 weeks until she was born at 35 weeks. That one was easy- I was in the hospital, though they gave dh a hard time about using FMLA to take care of me (we worked at the same place).

I ended up on leave unexpectedly (home bedrest) when I was 34 weeks with my ds and he ended up being born at 35 weeks. Work doesn't need to know the medical reason, just that I was out. I think the note said something like 'Michelle is out of work until at least 6 weeks after delivery'. Very generic. It's really none of work's business what your medical situation is.

Good luck.

Edited to add- any time off before the baby falls under the 'medical' part of FMLA and after the baby falls under the 'family' part of FMLA, so they really don't have much choice but to grant you the time off if you need it as long as you don't exceed 12 weeks off total.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the support.

..but it gets worse. I just had a major meltdown here...

went to the mailbox and found a letterin it from my corporate benefits dept. Inside it informed me that I do not qualify for FMLA leave based on my hire date (less than 12 months ago).

Now I am very upset and I do not have number to reach my new boss. I called the corporate help desk and they are emailing my new boss and my boss's boss, so maybe I will find out if I ought to show up at work on monday or if I have benefits or anything.

When I figure out more I'll let you know...

post #7 of 13
Wow! What a tough spot to be in.

If you've been there less that 12 mos, it's true that you aren't covered under FMLA. However, if your company grants short term disability if you say, get in an accident, they have to pay you under STD benefits for the baby in a comparable way (6 weeks, 8 weeks, whatever the policy is).

If they don't have any sort of disability, you're pretty much stuck. FMLA guarantees your job to return to, but has nothing to do with you getting paid.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well yea I have STD. That's what I do not understand and no one has explained to me. STD is up to 26 weeks. It says nothing in the employee bene book about maternity, though, except in regards to FMLA. The letter they sent today explains nothing but that I just don't qualify for FMLA. So what does it all mean?

No one has returned my call yet I decided to call me old boss at home, but he wasn't there, either.
post #9 of 13
You might put in a call to your state's labor department. Check the laws regarding maternity leave aside from FMLA.

You weren't kidding that it got worse. Nice of your old boss to make sure he knew what he was talking about before he opened his mouth, eh?

It will stink if you won't be getting paid a portion of your salary while you're off, but making sure you'll have a job to go back to is priority #1, I think. Make sure that's crystal clear pronto.

Good luck!
post #10 of 13
It's my understanding that for legalities, maternity leave is covered under STD. As long as your company offers STD, you are covered for your time off before and after birth -assuming you have medical reasons for the time off before- regardless of your FMLA status. Pregnancy and childbirth are considered for legal purposes to be a disability. As long as you have a medical release- your time off should be covered without issue.

Now say you were adopting instead of giving birth and you wanted to take 6 weeks off after getting the child. Your company could refuse you the time because adopting is not a medical disability. If you had met the 12 month mark for FMLA- they would have to grant you the time off (probably unpaid or using vacation time) to take care of the new child.

It sounds to me like the letter saying your aren't eligible for FMLA means you can only take off 6 weeks instead of 12 (or whatever your doctor will write you out for after the birth) and guarantee your job. (Usually the first 6 or 8 weeks of leave is the medical portion for you and anything after that is the family part for the baby- since you are allowed std, you are allowed the medical portion for yourself.) Your company can also agree to let you have more time off with or without pay if they choose, completely separate from FMLA. (Most companies won't pay anything they don't have to.)

I hope this makes sense- I had a few problems when I took off to have my dd, so I looked into this stuff quite a bit. I learned that if spouses work in the same place, they are only allowed a combined 12 weeks, not 12 weeks each. I know how stressful it can be. I hope it all works out for you.
post #11 of 13
here's the thing (i used to be a benefits processor, so i've got a bit of a grasp): FMLA is available for those employees who've been employed for 12 months and have worked 1250 hours within those 12 months; 1250 hours is about 8.25 months.

if you have any faith in your reasoning/bargaining ability, i would give it to my boss like this: you were presented (albeit falsely) with information about FMLA from a former boss, you planned on exercising the information you were given, you have worked at least 8 months in your current position (i'm assuming almost 9), and you feel that given your closeness to fulfilling the 12month requirement that the exception should be made.

as your personal file -- i.e. LOA information and its details -- are no on else's business, they can hardly use the flimsy, "well, if we do it for you we'll have to bend the rules for everyone," excuse, because no one has to know! if you are indeed a valued employee and you're coming up on that 12 month marker, this company should show you your value by pushing you under the wire, assuming you've fulfilled 1250 service hours.

BTW, my personal opinion is that companies who rely on the boundaries of the FMLA in order to parse out maternity leave are a bunch of BS -- pregnancy and childbirth are not a medical condition, there's no need to use up valuable medical leave on something that's not an illness! further, most companies that cover STD/LTD consider 6weeks post partum as a reasonable return-to-work time forcing the mother to get written out of work as "medically unable to return" for the remaining 6 weeks -- and that's assuming she worked until the minute she started laboring. i personally cannot fathom trying to find daycare for a 6week-old nursing infant and i think it's deplorable that as women we're put in the position to choose between the health and welfare of our children and our careers -- it's not like someone else can have the babies! FMLA is a convenient way for employers to get out of having to grant "special" priveleges to women (and pay them for it -- they don't pay your STD, they pay a monthly premium to another company to pay it for you) and to create a loophole for men -- i've actually heard a man told, "we can't grant you this FMLA because it's intended for you to care for your sick family member -- pregnancy isn't an illness." OH YEAH?! then how come my wife had to use it to take off to have a baby?!

wow. [/rant] good luck, lea; be strong.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys!

Well, after leaving voice mail with just about everyone I could think of, they all returned my call last night or this morning.

I wish I hadn't stressed so badly.. I am feeling yucky. Like I made myself sick

I don't know all the details yet, but it all sounds like its going to work out good. They have all been really kind, and understanding, and helpful.

Apparently I do qualify for STD and as long as I get my midwife to resubmit the forms for the time I've been off before my due date, that should end up being covered, too. We may even be able to negotiate additional time beyond 6 weeks after the birth, which sounds good.

I really expected the worst. I just don't trust corporations, you know? I guess I was having flashbacks of an expirience I had with 'the world's largest retailer'. I am always ready for everything to come crashing down. So far, though, I have been pleasently suprised by all my current employers efforts.

chellemarie: wow I can't believe you were driving your kids around 2 days after you left the hospital. That sounds really tough.

XM: I hope everything works out ok for you with your job. I guess FMLA isn't helping your situation, either?

shelbean91 & samsara: everything you both said seems pretty accurate compared to what benefits is telling me. Thank you!

Really is wrong that the 'wealthiest nation in the world' can't do something about making sure people have time to take care of their babies. Guess its all about priorities

post #13 of 13
I'm glad it seems like it will all work out for you, but would it have killed them to include that info in the letter they sent? Or better yet, call you to give you a heads up before sending out the letter? They should know how stressful info like that can be- you have enough to worry about without all that added on top.

That's how I found out if spouses work together- they only get a *combined* 12 weeks for after the baby is born. I was planning on taking 9 weeks after b/c I was in the hospital for 3 weeks before. DH also took off 3 weeks before to help me, but only 3 days after. Work called me at about 6 weeks after (on a Friday) and said I *might* need to go back the next week. Couldn't they have waited until they knew for sure. I cried for an hour freaking out. (I think the person who did called did it on purpose- she was a total b!tch and really didn't like me too much anyway.) My dd had just learned to nurse at about 4 weeks, so there was no way I could have gone back at 6 weeks- 9 weeks was pushing it. Fortunately, the 3 weeks DH took before didn't count, only the 3 days after, so I ended up going back 3 days early which worked out better b/c I started back on a Thursday instead of a Monday.

Sometimes these companies just make me want to vomit!!

Good luck with the birth of your baby and only good surprises from now on!!
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