So stressed about maternity leave - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-28-2011, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought that we had timed things well.

I am currently on an 8 week leave of absence (FMLA) for hyperemesis gravidarum.

This baby is due 12/27. After the birth, I was planning to take 6 weeks off for pregnancy disability and then 12 weeks off for FMLA (bonding). Total of 18 weeks in 2012.

I work for a large company and the policy is 12 weeks FMLA per calendar year.

However, just got a notice in the mail that effective 9/1/11 they are switching from calendar year to "year rolling backward". so that means 12 weeks max FMLA in any 12 mos period. And I've already used 8 weeks for being sick. Called the benefits dept and the supervisor said yes, that means I can take 6 weeks off after baby is born. 6 weeks vs 18 weeks!

I knew that I would be sick this pregnancy b/c I had hyperemesis with my son 5 years ago and this past fall with a baby I lost. Took the timing into consideration b/f becoming pg so that it would be 2 different calendar years.

I'm so bummed. I want to keep my job. Currently I work 4 days/wk. Was planning to go back 3 days/wk after maternity leave.

I cannot send a 6 week old to day care!

I think this is really not fair. I was crying on the phone to the benefits supervisor. She stated it's a company policy change, blah, blah, blah.

I am returning to work next week. I am better, but still sick.

Any advice?

 

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Old 06-28-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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I'm so sorry to hear about this stress that you're going through with work on top of hyperemesis gravidarum. (I too had hyperemesis gravidarum and it's really awful.) Can you ask about unpaid leave? How is your relationship with your direct supervisor? Sometimes company policy is the minimum required, but if your supervisor is an advocate for you, you can take additional time unpaid or as vacation.

 

Sending good wishes your way!


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Old 06-28-2011, 09:09 PM
 
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Did you have to sign FMLA paperwork?  That should have stated what the policy was.  I'm not sure they can change the rules mid FMLA.

 

And why are you losing the other 4 weeks?

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Old 07-05-2011, 12:56 PM
 
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One thing to remember is that FMLA protects your job for 12 weeks, but that doesn't mean if you don't come back after 12 weeks that they must fire you.  I know that seems like stating the obvious but my friend had the same problem when she asked for an extra 4 weeks of maternity leave, and I went through it to a degree when I asked for a few extra days.  I actually had to point out to management that my FMLA leave was unpaid, and I just wanted a few more days of unpaid leave so I could get my son comfortable with daycare.

 

Most decent sized companies have a non-FMLA extended leave policy in place, not that they advertise it.  I would talk to your supervisor.  It is much less costly to your company to give you extra weeks of unpaid leave than to hire someone new, train them, etc.


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Old 07-05-2011, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies! Every one that I have spoken with at HR and the new management co. gives me a different answer. It seems that no one really knows how the new policy is going to impact me. I am going back to work on Thurs and am still struggling with the nausea. Will be wearing my zofran pump at work.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBirdy View Post

One thing to remember is that FMLA protects your job for 12 weeks, but that doesn't mean if you don't come back after 12 weeks that they must fire you.  I know that seems like stating the obvious but my friend had the same problem when she asked for an extra 4 weeks of maternity leave, and I went through it to a degree when I asked for a few extra days.  I actually had to point out to management that my FMLA leave was unpaid, and I just wanted a few more days of unpaid leave so I could get my son comfortable with daycare.

 

Most decent sized companies have a non-FMLA extended leave policy in place, not that they advertise it.  I would talk to your supervisor.  It is much less costly to your company to give you extra weeks of unpaid leave than to hire someone new, train them, etc.


I am really hoping that they value me enough to give me the leave that I was entitled to prior to the policy change! I am one of the more experienced people in my dept. I will definitely ask for an extension if my FMLA is cut.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post

Did you have to sign FMLA paperwork?  That should have stated what the policy was.  I'm not sure they can change the rules mid FMLA.

 

And why are you losing the other 4 weeks?


I signed FMLA paperwork for my current leave for hyperemesis. The maternity leave paper work will be done 1 month before I go on leave, with an EDD of 12/27. They are 2 separate leaves and the policy change occurs in Sept. Not sure what happened to the other 4 weeks, that was the benefits supervisor who quoted me that and she couldn't explain it! :(

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyMommy View Post

I'm so sorry to hear about this stress that you're going through with work on top of hyperemesis gravidarum. (I too had hyperemesis gravidarum and it's really awful.) Can you ask about unpaid leave? How is your relationship with your direct supervisor? Sometimes company policy is the minimum required, but if your supervisor is an advocate for you, you can take additional time unpaid or as vacation.

 

Sending good wishes your way!


Thanks! I will ask about unpaid (unbenefitted) leave. Can always get added to DH's insurance if needed. My relationship with my direct supervisor is good. I'm really hoping that I can still take 18 weeks off, however it is delineated!

 

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Old 07-06-2011, 10:23 PM
 
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It is so sad that we don't put babies and families before business in our country, but that's how it is. Sometimes it's not even good business, but that's another topic.

 

Are you employed in Oregon? My employer is in Oregon and my job was protected for 18 weeks. I was told the six weeks disability and twelve weeks FMLA do not overlap by state law. If that is the case, you have used 8, but you still have 4 weeks plus 6 (8 if you should have a c-section) = 10 weeks after birth. It's still not enough, but going back part-time helps.

 

Also, if the policy change is effective 9/1, anything that happens before 9/1 falls under the old policy.

 

Finally, I want to reiterate that FMLA is job protection but your employer can choose to let you take more leave. I did not qualify for FMLA, but my employer chose to approve unpaid time off anyway because it would easily take them more than a couple of months to hire and train a replacement.

 

Take care of your health.

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Old 07-07-2011, 06:37 AM
 
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Does your company haqve a maternity leave policy? With DS1 I helped my company adopt a "standard" plan, which included FMLA, plus another week, and then a slow (PT) return back to FT (the whole think was around 15-16wks). They also had a 6 month maternity leave policy, just nobody ever used it.

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Old 07-08-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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I totally know what you mean about no one understanding the policy. Happened to me too where 3 of us interpreted the same document 3 different ways.

 

In some ways this is good. What YOU need to do is outline what you want and how you think it's fair. Then present that option to your manager and get them on your side. Really, in most cases management trumps HR, although HR doesn't like to tell you that. Managers "bend" HR policies all the time or simply don't report things to HR or "in the system" as needed.

 

You can also ask if you can be grand fathered under the old policy seeing as how you timed your preganancy based on that. This REALLY cannot affect that many people at your company and it does sound like you really planned things out.

 

KEEP looking for a loophole. It's there, even though it may only exist for you. Just keep pushing things anyway you can. But remember that YOU are in charge. Tell what YOU want and how you think it's fair and how it benefits the company by keeping you happily employed there. Don't ask "what will give me," but tell them what you need.


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Old 07-08-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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so sorry.  that is total bs.  maybe a few suggestions:

can you work it so that you can:

  • use flex time
  • does your company offer leave donation?  if so, that's another avenue to pursue.  lots of folks let that annual leave build up and never take it, and some folks would probably donate theirs to you.  enlist a friendly coworker to solicit for you.
  • have your working hours reduced? (i have a friend who negotiated to be made a 32- hour employee rather than 40 hour.  if you can get ins through your dh, that might help a little)
  • after trying the above, then see whether you can return to work slowly.  fmla, at least where i worked when i took it with dd, was a total number of HOURS, which meant that you could work part time or a portion of your time and extend the time at home a bit.

 

what about your dh?  is there any way he could take his 12 weeks of FMLA after yours, and he stay home with babe?  again, i have friends who did this and were pretty happy with how it worked for them.


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