Paying for Maternity Leave Through Crowdfunding
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What do you do if your employer doesn’t offer maternity leave?
One of the saddest – but also inspiring -- things we’ve heard about recently is about the effort of many cash-strapped expecting mothers turning to crowd-funding sites to raise money for their unpaid maternity leaves from work.
Since the U.S. federal law regarding family leave, FMLA, only offers unpaid job protection for 12 weeks (and only if you’ve worked for at least a year at a business that employs at least 50 people within a 75 mile radius), many working women find themselves unable to take the time off they need to adequately recover from childbirth, much less, bond with their newborn children.
According to recent coverage of these fundraising efforts by the Today Show, Buzzfeed, and the Washington Post, thousands of women are turning to websites like GoFundMe, YouCaring, GiveForward, and Indiegogo to raise money to cover for new baby items like diapers or just a few more days off work to spend with their new baby. The amounts are typically modest, and around a few thousand dollars. Today, a search for the word “maternity leave” on GoFundMe returns over 1,500 results.
Reading through the stories of the women and families raising funds on these sites humanizes the statistics we already knew about the lack of paid family leave in the United States. 87% of civilian (i.e. non-governmental) workers in America work for employers who do not offer any paid leave for family illnesses or the birth of a new child. In light of these numbers and the fact that money raised through crowdfunding generally only comes with a 5-8% one-time fee to be paid to the crowdfunding site, it’s actually surprising more families haven’t turned to crowdfunding – which typically comes from friends, community and extended family.
Though many of the employers we highlight at Fairygodboss are those with higher-than-average paid parental leave policies and we see tremendous momentum in the number of companies announcing parental leave policies this year, we know there are millions of women the workforce who simply don’t enjoy these benefits. In fact, given how rare maternity leave is, we’re surprised there aren’t even more efforts on crowd-funding sites. The vast majority of women in the workforce must either take out short-term disability insurance, opt into their employers’ plans or simply save up their vacation and PTO benefits. It’s no wonder the average age for a first-time mother keeps rising in the United States.
If you’re one of these women crowdfunding your maternity leave, we want to hear from you. Did you try to negotiate for any paid time off? How long do you plan on taking? How does this impact your decision about when (and whether) you plan on returning to work?
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Related Community Discussions
Does anyone here work for a major financial institution in the new york metropolitan area? I have yet to find a straight answer on the internet or the company website regarding when my eligibilty for 16 week paid maternity leave would start. Are paid maternity leave benefits usually the same across the board for all major financial firms? I just found out I am pregnant (in my first trimester) and by the time I take my maternity leave I would be only nine months in my new job. Would like to hear about your company's eligibility requirements for paid maternity leave here please. Thank you so much...
I recently got engaged, will be married October 2017. My fiance and I want to start a family right away. My job does not have paid maternity leave. Would it be premature for me to advocate for paid leave? My initial thought process was to figure this out as soon as possible. Maybe I should start looking for another job; researching other companies I noticed that most (all the one's that I saw) require employees to have been employed for a year before being offered paid maternity leave.
If I could have my way I would stay where I am at and get paid leave.
I have a positive relationship with my boss and can talk about this with him, however; he isn't the one who ultimately makes this decision, corporate does.
I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and gearing up to go on maternity leave at the end of the month. I recently came across a new job oppurnity that would be better for my family. I'm at the finishing stages of interviewing with this new company and I am worried that I will find out I got the job while on maternity leave. My question is, what happens to my maternity benefits and how do I go about leaving my current job without issue?
Any advice for someone searching for work during their first trimester of pregnancy? I currently work with a temp agency for income and am applying for my next role. From what I've read on the boards, it seems that most women are firmly established at their companies but I was forced to look for a new role outside of my former company due to a health condition. They were unwilling to move me to a different role within the company. Any suggestions on how to navigate the next 4-6 months before giving birth?
I'm 12 weeks pregnant and just met with HR to find out about our Maternity Leave program only to learn that they only give us unpaid leave (you have to file for state disability to get your 55% salary during those weeks) In talking with other moms, I found they all came back early (because who can really afford to take a big pay cut when you have a new little one to tend to?)
It never occurred to me to check because kids weren't on the radar when I applied for the job, but I'm totally disheartened that my company that "prides itself" on caring about its people doesn't have something better in place. Has anyone gone to HR to see about improving their policies? I know as a whole our organization had a 12 year tenure when I started and a pretty high average age, so it may have not been on their radar, but I'm shocked that they aren't more progressive. Any advice??