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#1 of 17 Old 06-22-2014, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maternity Leave

I know it is so early to be thinking about this, but I'm really bumming about what I predict my maternity leave situation to be like. With my first child, I didn't work and stayed home with him for 2 years. It is very much in my parenting philosophy that it is so important for little ones to have their mother with them in the early years. With this baby, I am going to be working full time and doing the classic U.S maternity leave thing (which is a crying, crying shame for this country, but that's another story) where I think I'm only going to get 6 weeks, and that's with using short term disability. I won't have worked at my new job for a full year when the baby is born so supposedly I was told I won't qualify for the Family & Medical Leave Act (which doesn't really make sense to me, I thought people were always eligible for that) and I won't qualify to dip in to the emergency earned time that my employer apparently loans you if you have a baby.

So, I'm really sad and really scared to think about having to leave a 6 week old baby to go back to work. I don't even know if I can do it. I know women have to do it all the time but it doesn't make it any easier. I need to keep my job. I'd gladly take unpaid time off as long as I can retain my position at work. The worst part is, I'm a dual citizen and if I worked at a Canadian employer I'd get a year paid leave, no questions asked.

Anyone else anticipating maternity leave?
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#2 of 17 Old 06-22-2014, 06:05 AM
 
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Maternity leave issues are one of the reasons that DH and I started TTC when we did. I'm a grad student getting an elementary teaching certificate, so I'll be taking on my first teaching job in August 2015 (I hope). We couldn't bear the thought of waiting to start having kids until I was settled in my job and had accrued enough vacation for a decent maternity leave. This way the baby will come in February and I'll have about five months before going to work...still not my ideal, but better than it could be.

That being said, my mother was also a teacher, and I was born in September, so she only had the standard 6 week leave with me before putting me in full time daycare. I know it was hard on her, but everything was fine. We have a great relationship, and growing up I never felt distanced from her because of daycare. In fact, early childhood development research shows that putting a child in a high-quality daycare situation does not negatively impact parent-child attachment at all. Your child will still have a secure attachment to you and will love you.

We do the best we can with what we have.
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#3 of 17 Old 06-22-2014, 06:12 AM
 
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Dreamingtree, my boring office job happens to be coding FMLA and STD leaves for the employees of a very large, very evil, Fortune 500 company. I can tell you that FMLA does require that you have been there one year and working pretty much full time. It's complete hogwash.

That said. I encourage you to speak with your HR department, and ask your midwife/OB/someone with a notepad to write a note supporting the importance of having a longer leave of absence. You might just get an unpaid leave that will give you at least long enough to not have to starting pumping at 6 weeks. Man, the US is so backwards when it comes to taking care of its women and children. I don't even understand. I am a dual German/American citizen, and in Germany it's one or two years with full healthcare benefits from the government. I'm getting angry and want to swear so I'm cutting this post short.

DH and I are hoping I can either move to PT work from home after my FMLA runs out, or just quit altogether- but most likely we can't afford that.


Good luck.
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#4 of 17 Old 06-22-2014, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dreamingtree, my boring office job happens to be coding FMLA and STD leaves for the employees of a very large, very evil, Fortune 500 company. I can tell you that FMLA does require that you have been there one year and working pretty much full time. It's complete hogwash.

That said. I encourage you to speak with your HR department, and ask your midwife/OB/someone with a notepad to write a note supporting the importance of having a longer leave of absence. You might just get an unpaid leave that will give you at least long enough to not have to starting pumping at 6 weeks. Man, the US is so backwards when it comes to taking care of its women and children. I don't even understand. I am a dual German/American citizen, and in Germany it's one or two years with full healthcare benefits from the government. I'm getting angry and want to swear so I'm cutting this post short.

DH and I are hoping I can either move to PT work from home after my FMLA runs out, or just quit altogether- but most likely we can't afford that.


Good luck.
It gets my blood boiling too! Is there anywhere you could point me to learn more about FMLA? Is it typically just 6 weeks for maternity? Could that be put on top of a short term disability to make 3 months of maternity leave? (not in my situation of course, but for someone who has worked the full year, full time)
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#5 of 17 Old 06-22-2014, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by knittygritty View Post
Maternity leave issues are one of the reasons that DH and I started TTC when we did. I'm a grad student getting an elementary teaching certificate, so I'll be taking on my first teaching job in August 2015 (I hope). We couldn't bear the thought of waiting to start having kids until I was settled in my job and had accrued enough vacation for a decent maternity leave. This way the baby will come in February and I'll have about five months before going to work...still not my ideal, but better than it could be.

That being said, my mother was also a teacher, and I was born in September, so she only had the standard 6 week leave with me before putting me in full time daycare. I know it was hard on her, but everything was fine. We have a great relationship, and growing up I never felt distanced from her because of daycare. In fact, early childhood development research shows that putting a child in a high-quality daycare situation does not negatively impact parent-child attachment at all. Your child will still have a secure attachment to you and will love you.

We do the best we can with what we have.
Thanks so much for your kind words It will be hard but you're right, we do the best we can with what we have. I'm hoping to work it out so the baby can be brought to me at least once a shift to breastfeed. 12 hours is a very long time.
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#6 of 17 Old 06-22-2014, 12:24 PM
 
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My work will only give me 6 weeks on short term disability and then after that it is unpaid up to 12 weeks I believe. I am planning on stockpiling PTO so I will only go about two weeks unpaid. My husband and I are going to try to switch our schedules around the baby will only be in daycare or with family part time. We have a lot of close family support so trying to avoid day care as much as possible. We are also thinking about getting a part time nanny so our dogs will have someone with them during the day too.

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#7 of 17 Old 06-22-2014, 05:00 PM
 
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It is never too early to start planning your maternity leave... Says the woman who has been charting, graphing, counting every single hour of potentially usable leave for, um, 18 months now. While we weren't formally TTC (and hadn't planned to start until next month, WHOOPS!), this baby has nonetheless been very long planned for!

I am feeling fantastically lucky about what we're going to be able to give this baby. I should be able to stay home 100% for at least six weeks (possibly more, if we can make the numbers work for my husband to pick up a bunch of freelance work to cushion my leave without pay?), then return to work for 3 days/week for another six-ish weeks, then then stick to a four days/week schedule until Baby is one year old. The big thing for me is that, when I return to work, my husband will remain home with the children full time. We made huge enormous sacrifices to be able to handle our family life on one income, and I'm just so so grateful that a) it has worked out so far--my older children have had a wonderful five months (so far) of uninterrupted time with their father; b) this new baby is going to have a parent there all of the time. Possibly until school age!--although I know that's looking waaaaaayyyyy down the road, even for an obsessive advanced planner like me.

Couldn't agree more with you all that the current options for mothers/parents in the US are absolutely appalling. I've been known to work up quite a ranty head of steam about it--it's truly uncivilized. I do not know how you dual citizens don't throw up your hands and shout, "That's it, I'm moving back!" I am constantly threatening a move to Canada, although I doubt I'd be particularly employable there!

dreamingtree, I won't paint myself as an FMLA expert, but I do know that it extends to twelve weeks, and am fairly certain that it cannot be combined with short-term disability, for example, to give you eighteen weeks of leave--whether paid or unpaid (and no matter the source of that income--leave payout, disability benefit, or other), your employer is only legally obligated to let you have twelve weeks off. So, for example, if you have been a loyal XYZ employee for ten years and have forty weeks of leave on the books, they don't have to let you take any more than 12 of those in a year for a "qualifying condition" such as, oh, a tiny baby at home. Key words here being don't have to; many employers are not outright evil and will allow you to take more time, but they aren't actually legally required to under United States federal law, which... Yeah, here comes the rant again. Anyhow, I'm sure momma2finn can walk you through the specifics better than I can.
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#8 of 17 Old 06-23-2014, 03:52 AM
 
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Being a single mom and self employed, my plan is to not take much time off. Right now, I am thinking that I will just not take any clients due in February. The kicker is that I have already had 2 clients try to refer 3 people for February. The nice thing is that I will be able to take the baby with me for at least the first 6 months.
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#9 of 17 Old 06-23-2014, 05:57 AM
 
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Hi guys, I'm from Canada and I just wanted to pop into this thread to say how appalled I am at the joke of a mat leave that you guys in the US get. Hugs to you all.
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#10 of 17 Old 06-23-2014, 06:48 AM
 
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I also heard from a Canadian friend that in Canada you can split maternity leave between parents. So if the dad wants to spend a few months at home with the baby he can do that. Am I right about this? @BirchTree


Either way the U.S. is a joke in so many of it's policies. I'm leaving my job at the end of the month and when the baby comes I will be a SAHM for as long as we can afford. We'll definitely be struggling a bit on one income but I just couldn't stand leaving my baby for 9 hours a day at 6 weeks old! I know not all families have this option though and it freaking sucks.
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#11 of 17 Old 06-23-2014, 08:21 AM
 
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I also heard from a Canadian friend that in Canada you can split maternity leave between parents. So if the dad wants to spend a few months at home with the baby he can do that. Am I right about this? @BirchTree
That's true! I'm Canadian too, and we can split the year up however we want. However, just to be clear, it's not usually at 100% of your regular salary unless your employer is willing to top-up (some do). Generally it starts at like 85% for the first 6 months then 75% for the second 6 months. Still better than a kick in the teeth! They also recently changed the rules so that if you're self-employed you can pay into the Employment Insurance scheme and get mat leave that way. The self-employed used to be out of luck for mat-leave.

I'm so, so sorry for all you guys who have to make such hard choices about childcare and work
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#12 of 17 Old 06-23-2014, 08:58 AM
 
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Not sure if it's different in the other provinces, but yes, here in Ontario your partner can take up to 35 weeks of parental leave (total leave is 15 weeks maternity leave that can only be taken by the biological mother, and then 35 weeks parental leave that can be taken by the mom or her partner, or the adoptive mom in case of adoption). Most often I think the moms take the entire year - I did so that I could continue breastfeeding without worrying about pumping at work, etc.

Our leave is covered by our Unemployment Insurance which means we get 55% of our total salary for the year (minus the first two weeks which are unpaid), to a maximum of $500 a week. This income is taxed as well so it's not a whole lot of money especially if you are used to making significantly more than $500 a week, but it is wonderful and most people I know take the full year. Some employers top up that payment in an effort to retain their workers - I know people who get topped up to 80% of their salary all year. My old job topped me up to 75% for the first 6 months but sadly at this new job they don't top up at all.

I remember how hard it was for me to return to work after a year, and I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to return after 6 weeks, or a little bit longer if you're lucky. You mamas are amazing.
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#13 of 17 Old 06-23-2014, 09:43 AM
 
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Not sure if it's different in the other provinces, but yes, here in Ontario your partner can take up to 35 weeks of parental leave (total leave is 15 weeks maternity leave that can only be taken by the biological mother, and then 35 weeks parental leave that can be taken by the mom or her partner, or the adoptive mom in case of adoption). Most often I think the moms take the entire year - I did so that I could continue breastfeeding without worrying about pumping at work, etc.

Our leave is covered by our Unemployment Insurance which means we get 55% of our total salary for the year (minus the first two weeks which are unpaid), to a maximum of $500 a week. This income is taxed as well so it's not a whole lot of money especially if you are used to making significantly more than $500 a week, but it is wonderful and most people I know take the full year. Some employers top up that payment in an effort to retain their workers - I know people who get topped up to 80% of their salary all year. My old job topped me up to 75% for the first 6 months but sadly at this new job they don't top up at all.

I remember how hard it was for me to return to work after a year, and I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to return after 6 weeks, or a little bit longer if you're lucky. You mamas are amazing.
Thanks for clarifying BirchTree. I couldn't remember the EI amounts. I do get topped up to 75% in my job so I consider myself very lucky! I also figure that the loss of income during mat-leave is made up for by not needing to pay for childcare during that time (a major expense in our house).

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#14 of 17 Old 06-23-2014, 02:56 PM
 
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Ok Dreamingtree, you definitely will not qualify for FMLA

I have been looking and I can't find a way around the 1 year eligibility requirement. This is from the Department of Labor website (http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/fmla-faqs.htm#3)

"In order to be eligible to take leave under the FMLA, an employee must:
work for a covered employer;
have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave; (special hours of service rules apply to airline flight crew members)
work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and
have worked for the employer for 12 months. The 12 months of employment are not required to be consecutive in order for the employee to qualify for FMLA leave. In general, only employment within seven years is counted unless the break in service is (1) due to an employee’s fulfillment of military obligations, or (2) governed by a collective bargaining agreement or other written agreement."


The other tricky thing that many employers do is require that the 6 weeks of STD run concurrently with the 12 weeks of FMLA. Other employers require that you use your accrued PTO during the 12 weeks, leaving you with no options once the twelve weeks are up, because you've used all your paid time.

California residents have an advantage, because they are allowed to opt out of being required to use their accrued PTO- which irks the company that I work for. I have read many emails in which supervisors call CA employees "lazy and selfish" because they opt to use the 12 weeks unpaid, then the 6 weeks of Short Term Disability and then whatever vacation time they've saved up. It is literally stomach turning.

Since I code for one specific company, I can only speak to their company policies, but if you can find a friendly HR person, you might be able to get a longer unpaid leave. I imagine just starting out there will leave you with little PTO. You will probably be able to get STD for six weeks, maybe more, but you won't have the choice of taking 12 weeks unpaid without fear of losing your position.

Yuck. I feel so yucky for having to tell you such bad news. I'm sorry

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#15 of 17 Old 06-24-2014, 09:51 AM
 
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#16 of 17 Old 06-24-2014, 10:35 AM
 
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I'm so glad that Obama is bringing this up, and so discouraged that the notion absolutely will not have legislative traction anytime soon, so I can't imagine it becoming federal law within a timeframe that would be helpful to any of us during our childbearing years. I literally now hope it will happen in time for my own children's adulthoods.

Mostly kidding: I wish the Supreme Court would take this on...

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#17 of 17 Old 06-24-2014, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok Dreamingtree, you definitely will not qualify for FMLA

I have been looking and I can't find a way around the 1 year eligibility requirement. This is from the Department of Labor website (http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/fmla-faqs.htm#3)

"In order to be eligible to take leave under the FMLA, an employee must:
work for a covered employer;
have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave; (special hours of service rules apply to airline flight crew members)
work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and
have worked for the employer for 12 months. The 12 months of employment are not required to be consecutive in order for the employee to qualify for FMLA leave. In general, only employment within seven years is counted unless the break in service is (1) due to an employee’s fulfillment of military obligations, or (2) governed by a collective bargaining agreement or other written agreement."


The other tricky thing that many employers do is require that the 6 weeks of STD run concurrently with the 12 weeks of FMLA. Other employers require that you use your accrued PTO during the 12 weeks, leaving you with no options once the twelve weeks are up, because you've used all your paid time.

California residents have an advantage, because they are allowed to opt out of being required to use their accrued PTO- which irks the company that I work for. I have read many emails in which supervisors call CA employees "lazy and selfish" because they opt to use the 12 weeks unpaid, then the 6 weeks of Short Term Disability and then whatever vacation time they've saved up. It is literally stomach turning.

Since I code for one specific company, I can only speak to their company policies, but if you can find a friendly HR person, you might be able to get a longer unpaid leave. I imagine just starting out there will leave you with little PTO. You will probably be able to get STD for six weeks, maybe more, but you won't have the choice of taking 12 weeks unpaid without fear of losing your position.

Yuck. I feel so yucky for having to tell you such bad news. I'm sorry
I really appreciate you taking the time to explain!! I figured it wouldn't be very good news I guess I will just have to hope that my HR department and my manager will be kind to me. I work on an OB unit, so they might be a bit more understanding.

The funny thing is, my DH has a federal government job and he will actually get more parental time off when the baby is born than me. I think he can get at least 2 months of paid leave. I'm not sure whether he can stagger it so his starts when mine ends, so he can be home with the baby.
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