Parental leave

  • Maternity Leave Products & Services

    What products and services help you and employers through maternity leave? We've compiled a list of them below. If you know of any resources we're missing or would like to promote your product or service, please drop us a line. Books and Articles Max Your Maternity Leave is an e-Book that helps women negotiate for more time off than their employer's plan involves. Maternity Leave: Practice & Policy provides an overview of the topic by touching on many aspects of maternity leave policies and practices. It is filled with interviews, facts, research and a legislative history of the topic. Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple provides guidance to mothers who plan on breastfeeding after returning to work. Here's the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood provides a roadmap for working moms steering their careers throughout the parenting years. The first chapter is dedicated to planning and navigating family/maternity leave. Small Business Maternity Leave Policies and Laws provides an overview of what small businesses need to know on a state-by-state basis, as well as maternity leave sample policies and templates. Services Mindful Return offers a 4-week e-course to help women return to work after maternity leave with more confidence. Talking Talent has coached over 10,000 women and their managers through the maternity leave process since 2005. Milk Stork helps make it easier to continue breastfeeding after maternity leave by providing a breast milk delivery service for moms who travel for work (or pleasure). Leave Logic allows employees to self-service their parental leave benefits, and helps employers more efficiently process claims related to maternity and medical leave. Mamava designs and sells nursing pods that enable women to privately nurse or pump on-the-go. No more bathrooms! New Mom Dream Team provides a series of curated, educational online videos about every aspect (emotional, physical, and psychological) of post-partum life so that women can find information and support at a sensitive and life-altering time. Milk Your Benefits consults with expectant parents who want to maximize their maternity and paternity leaves in the state of California. Simply describe your goals and provide the necessary benefit information so that Lauren Wallenstein can create your personalized leave strategy, leaving no time or income on the table. Consultations are done by phone with clients throughout the state of California. Mom-Mentum is a non-profit that provides leadership, education, and advocacy to support mothers in meeting today's personal and professional challenges. This includes peer and group support, training through seminars and workshops, and professional development. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

  • FMLA (The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993)

    FMLA is the most important (and only) piece of federal law that protects certain qualifying workers from losing their jobs while they take parental leave in the U.S. on an unpaid basis. To qualify, an employee must: Work for an employer with over 50 employees across it's work sites within a 75 mile radius Have been employed for 12 months and clocked 1,250 hours in the prior year The National Partnership for Women and Families has provided an excellent guide with detailed answers to frequently asked questions about who qualifies for FMLA and which employers are covered. The infographic below by a Presigia, a HR software company explains that the law has protected over 50 million Americans since 1993 with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The U.S. Department of Labor administers FMLA and provides forms that employees, healthcare providers and employers fill out to document and initiate the leave process. One important fact about using FMLA is that 78% of those who need it do not take leave because they cannot afford to take unpaid leave. In addition to FMLA, certain states expand the rights individual employees may have either in the form of more relaxed qualifying rules, more unpaid leave time, paid parental leave time (e.g. California, New Jersey and Rhode Island), or short-term (temporary) disability insurance programs that cover the inability to work during pregnancy (e.g California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island). See more about state maternity leave laws that may provide certain leave rights. See more about other federal laws that protect pregnant and breastfeeding women at work. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

    Unfortunately, discrimination against pregnant women is still an issue and you should know your basic rights and protections under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)’s latest guidance (updated summer of 2014) lays out the ways in which pregnant employees are protected against discriminatory behavior and retaliation in the workplace. According to Vox 's analysis of EEOC data, it seems that the incidence of pregnancy discrimination has been rising in recent years. How often claimants benefit from pregnancy discrimination complaints Number of "merit resolutions" in pregnancy discrimination claims - findings in favor of complaining parties and /or that their claims have merit FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) This law was updated in 2010 to protect nursing mothers. Nursing moms have the right to express breast milk at work for reasonable periods of time and in a private, non-bathroom facility under the FLSA. These protections apply if an employer has at least 50 employees. One recent survey of approximately 500 women in the San Francisco Bay Area found that a majority of employers were supportive of breastfeeding. However, the main conflicts with work and pumping breast-milk came down to time and a proper location. Taken together, FMLA, PDA and FLSA prove to be pretty dense reading material so if you prefer to read a primer, or even watch a video containing some practical advice about what to do if you think you’re facing discrimination at work, check out this article which contains both. Read more about federal maternity leave laws and state maternity leave laws. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

  • International Maternity Leave Information

    How Much Leave Do New Parents Get in Other Countries? Courtesy of our friends at ThinkProgress, there is greater public awareness that the United States is one of 2 other countries that are members of the 185-member OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) that do not offer any form of pay during maternity leave. In not offering any paid leave for American mothers, the U.S. keeps company with Oman and Papua New Guinea. Their two info-graphics and great article compare national policies: This infographic shows the maternity leave policies of 39 major countries, including information about how much of the leave is paid, versus partially paid or completely unpaid. For further information including paternity leave by country, you can visit GetVoIP's blog post about parental leave. Who Pays for the Benefit? According to this report by the International Labor Organization, of the countries offering nationally mandated paid maternity benefits, 58% offer payments via national security schemes (i.e. schemes where employees pay into the system in order to reap the benefits), 45% do so via employer payments, and 16% do so via a joint social security and employer benefit scheme. In the United States, where three states offer some form of maternity leave payment, funds are provided via employee payroll deductions. See what employers offer and how they compare in terms of their parental and maternity leave policies. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

  • Maternity Leave Facts and Figures for the U.S.

    Welcome to our collection of the best content we could find about maternity leave! We've mainly focused on aggregating publicly available data — using official statistics and primary sources. We've also collected some great academic papers, non-profit research and in-depth articles we think provide important information about parental and maternity leave. Please let us know if we’re missing any great resources on the topic and we'll add them! United States Resources According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12 % of civilian employees had access to paid family leave in 2013. This table breaks down who gets paid family leave, and who doesn’t. (The reason that some totals are greater than 100% is that some workers have access to both paid and unpaid leave). To provide historical perspective, this chart by the U.S. Department of Labor (courtesy of Forbes ) shows shows a few things have changed in the last 50 years for first-time mothers working outside the home: Working moms work later into their pregnancies (1 month or less before giving birth) Working moms return to work sooner after giving birth Working moms have more access to more maternity leave (paid, unpaid, or some combination) Working moms have more access to paid and unpaid leave thanks in part to federal legislation, called the Family Medical Leave Act (or FMLA). For more about the FMLA and other laws, click here To see how the U.S. compares to other countries (hint: very poorly), see our research on International Parental Leave Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

Maternity Leave Guides
  • Your Essential Guide to Career Advancement

    Career success is important to most professionals. How we define that success, however, can vary considerably from person to person. Career advancement and career development are two terms often associated with success in work, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing. Career development refers to the larger-scale trajectory of a professional’s career—how she grows in her roles, the skills she gains, the training she receives, and the different positions she holds. Career advancement, on the other hand, generally signifies someone taking the next step, which usually entails receiving a promotion or new work opportunity. For many professionals, both types of progression are important. For some, it may be difficult to have one without the other. They may see career advancement as a crucial component of career development and career development as necessary for advancement. Others may not see promotions and new opportunities as essential to their career development. For those who do hope to advance in their careers and develop in their roles along the way, read on to learn why career advancement matters, how you can set yourself up for success, and where to find opportunities and resources to help you get there. Why career advancement matters to women Career advancement matters to many people, of course. After all, most if not all professionals want to gain more responsibilities—not to mention income—and see their career progress. However, women face unique challenges in the workplace, particularly as they try to advance into leadership roles. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center study, women make up just 5.4% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. It may not be fair, but women face challenges men may not experience when it comes to career advancement. That’s why we need to make an extra effort and seek out opportunities to grow and advance in our careers. How to map out your career progress Mapping out what you have and want in your career allows you to both plan your progress and gauge your achievements. Here are some steps you should take to evaluate and inform your career progress: Strive for your best, not perfection. If you’re aiming to be perfect, failure is inevitable. Rather than forcing yourself to conform to a specific mold or ideal of how you or others think your life or career should be, consider what you really want— in life in addition to work . Take some time to reflect on what your strengths and weaknesses are. Doing so can also help steer a direction for the path your career should take. For instance, if you’re great with people but bad with numbers, perhaps you should focus more on customer service than sales. Or, if you need a skill you don’t have for your dream career, you can look for opportunities to hone it. Establish goals. Having clear, measurable, and attainable goals will serve you well as you progress in your career. After all, without having goals, how will you know when you’ve achieved success? Use SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based) to establish realistic, achievable outcomes for your career path. Include both short- and long-term goals, so you can measure your progress along the way. For instance, if your long-term goal is to manage a team at your company, a shorter-term goal might be to serve as the lead or initiate a specific project. Create a plan and timeline. Now that you have certain goals for your future, you need a plan and timeline for how and when you’ll achieve them. Consider the steps you need to take to reach your aspirations. How are raises and promotions given at your company? How often do people advance and why? Will you need to leave your company to gain experience or advance? These are the types of questions you should consider. You should also plan when you should aim to achieve certain milestones or seek out opportunities. For example, if you know you’ll need to leave your company to advance in your industry, determine when you should start looking for new opportunities. Seek out feedback from colleagues and managers. Depending on where you work, you may have a routine performance review. This is an opportune time to take note of how you’re doing in your role and see if you’re on track to meet your goals. But you should also seek out additional opportunities to have others assess your strengths and weaknesses. For instance, you might ask coworkers for feedback on how you handled a project or task. If you manage a team or have at least one direct report, ask your employees for feedback as well. This feedback is meant to inform you as to your progress in meeting your goals. Therefore, it’s important to remember to accept constructive criticism and not take it personally. If your colleague is well-versed in delivering feedback, she’ll probably offer some compliments about your performance in addition to ways you might improve. Even if she’s not diplomatic with her critique, you can still learn from it. For example, if she tells you that an event lacked organization, ask her for specifics as to what she would have done differently. What happens to career advancement when you’re pregnant? According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act , is illegal to fire someone for being pregnant. However, that doesn’t mean discrimination against pregnant women doesn’t exist. If you believe you’ve been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, you should look into filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you’re not facing outright discrimination because of your pregnancy, you may worry about your career stalling. While it’s true that you probably won’t get promoted while you’re on maternity leave (although it’s not impossible; I actually saw this happen to a former colleague at a previous job), you can take steps to keep your career on track. Make a personal plan. Consider what you’ll need to get done and when to do it. Take into account long-term projects that you’ll need to either finish or pass off to someone else, short-term projects that you can complete, and everything else you’ll need to do or delegate before you leave. Also, make a list of colleagues and clients you should contact. Make a plan with your manager. Of course, you’ll need to let your manager know and work out a plan with her, too. Figuring out the right time to break the news is tricky—you don’t want to tell people before you’re comfortable, but you also don’t want to generate office gossip. The best course of action to take is to read up on your company’s maternity leave policy so you go into the meeting informed and choose the time with which you’re most comfortable—sooner rather than later. For many women, this is probably around the end of the first trimester and beginning of the second, when chances of miscarriage are greatly reduced. Stay in touch with colleagues and your manager while you’re on maternity leave. You’re not going to email or call your manager, coworkers, or team every day, and you shouldn’t. However, if you want to hear an update on a project or about the status of a client, you can check in as needed with specific questions. Try not to micromanage while you’re away, though. It won’t be good for you or your team. Delegate all your responsibilities to specific colleagues. Touch base with every person you’re expecting to take the reins on projects and tasks, no matter how big or small. If you need to, do a rundown of everything that’s involved in completing it. Don’t forget to appoint an out-of-office contact, whom you’ll list in your automatic email reply, and go through anything that might come up with her. Expect that your career may not progress rapidly during your pregnancy and for many months after you give birth. You’re going to be pretty overwhelmed during your pregnancy and as a new mother. It’s a lot of work and responsibility! Work is probably the last thing on your mind. Once you head back to work, it’s natural to feel a little behind, but it’s also normal to want to take it easy as you get back up to speed. Try not to feel like you need to stay late all the time or work around the clock to catch up. Your colleagues and manager should understand that you have a lot on your plate. Career advancement opportunities There are many opportunities available to help you advance in your career. For the most part, you’ll need to be proactive in seeking them out. Here are just a few: Performance reviews or conversations with your manager A routine performance review is a good time to discuss your personal goals, not just in terms of promotions and raises, but also the bigger picture: your larger aspirations, career trajectory, desire for more responsibilities, and types of projects you’d like to work on. You can also have these types of conversations outside of scheduled reviews. If you believe you’ve put in the time and effort and deserve a promotion, there’s probably no harm in asking. If you decide to go this route, come prepared with evidence demonstrating your accomplishments and why you deserve a promotion, such as past performance reviews, feedback from colleagues, and any documentation of success on the job. Networking events Networking is an essential aspect of anyone’s career progress. Attending industry events allows you to meet others in your field and find potential contacts and opportunities. Even if one event doesn’t lead to you discovering a new position, the connections you make while networking can serve you well in the future, and you never know who might come through for you. Professional development workshops and seminars As with networking events, you can meet important connections at professional development events. But that’s not the only advantage to attending workshop, courses, and seminars. You’ll also learn valuable skills and information to help you do your current job well and advance to the next level in your career. Mentoring relationships A mentor can guide and coach you throughout your career. While you shouldn’t look to her to hire you, although many current or former bosses do make for good mentors, you can bounce ideas off her and receive advice, as well as learn skills and opportunities to develop your career further. Industry organizations and committees Many industries and companies have different types of committees, groups, and organizations of which you can serve on the board or be a member. Joining one will help you get your name out there as well as keep you apprised of trends in your field. You may even find out about new opportunities as a member of this type of group. Career advancement grants A career advancement grant from the government or a philanthropic foundation or organization can provide you with the funding you may need to help you build your career and achieve your goals. Often, if you receive an award, you won’t need to pay it back. First, a word of caution: While grants can give you a great opportunity to further your education, gain a new certification, or advance your career by other means, many scams preying upon people who have these goals exist. If you are contacted with a grant offer, pay attention to red flags, including but not limited to: An offer you did not seek out A vague or generic greeting or subject line (e.g. “Hi there,” “Hey!” or “Your Application” when you didn’t apply) Typos, grammatical errors, or misspellings A fake government agency name (you can Google the name to make sure) Fees associated with the application (usually, it will be free to apply for a grant) Requests for financial information, your bank account information, social security number, or credit card number A too-good-to-be-true offer, such as promising thousands of dollars for personal use or a guarantee that your application will be accepted That said, there are many real grants that provide funding to professionals to advance in their careers. Here are some to check out: American Association of University Women (AAUW) Career Development Grants AAUW provides funding to women who have a bachelor’s degree and want to advance in their current careers, change careers, or re-enter the workforce. Recipients may use the grants to complete coursework beyond the bachelor’s level, such as pursuing a master’s or second bachelor’s degree, certification program, or specialized technical or professional training. The Ms. Foundation The Ms. Foundation provides grants specifically for people and organizations who work as advocates for women and girls in many different capacities, such as economic justice and protecting women’s access to health and reproductive care. In addition to supporting organizations, the Ms. Foundation offers leadership training opportunities to individual women. Executive Women International Through the ASIST (Adult Students in Scholastic Transition), EWI offers funding to adult women facing economic, social, or physical challenges who want to improve their careers and themselves through education. Recipients may use the award to retrain in a new field or attend trade school. Philanthropic Educational Organization P.E.O. offers six grants and scholarships to support women starting their higher education, returning to school, or pursuing an advanced degree. The P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) provides need-based grants to women looking to complete a degree or certification or gain skills necessary for their employment. There are also many grants geared toward women of particular demographics, such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and other groups of people, or those who are members of a specific field or discipline, such as the arts and STEM fields. Search online for professional grants specifying your field or demographic to locate these opportunities. Check out 50 Great Career Resources for women for more career tips, advice, and inspiration on how to progress in your career.

  • Maternity Leave for Adoption: 5 Companies That Do It Right

    Adopting your child is an exciting time. You can't wait to meet your new son or daughter. You might even be in the delivery room to witness his or her birth. At the same time, a question is probably weighing on your mind: Do you get maternity leave for adoption? While you may know the laws, and perhaps your own company's policy, concerning maternity and possibly paternity leave , the legalities concerning adoptive parental leave may be a bit murkier. According to the Family and Medical Leave Act ( FMLA ), some employees are guaranteed up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs with no threat of job loss. This law applies to public agencies, such as state, federal, and local employers, and schools, and private employers who employeed 50 or more employees for 20 or more workweeks during either this year or the previous year. To be entitled to unpaid leave under FMLA, the employee must have been worked for her employer for at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours during those 12 months Adopting and caring for an adopted child qualifies for leave under FMLA. FMLA also covers traveling time for parents who are adopting their child from outside the United States. Unfortunately, time spend on meetings, traveling, and caring for your child can really add up for adoptive parents, especially when it's unpaid. In some cases, adoptive parents may use some of their sick leave in addition to family leave to cover the time they need to care for their new child. Some states grant paid parental leave for employees to bond with newborns and adopted or fostered children. For instance, as of January 1, 2018, New York State grants paid parental leave of up to eight weeks at half the employee's average weekly wages, capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage. While reading the laws governing parental leave for adoption may be discouraging, keep in mind that many companies have created a very generous parental leave policy. Here are five employers with an enviable parental leave policy: 1. Amazon At Amazon , new parents—whether birth or adoptive—are entitled to six weeks of paid leave. Birth mothers are entitled to 20 weeks of paid leave under the policy. In addition, employees may share their paid leave with spouses or partners who don't have paid leave benefits at their own workplace. That means that if you work at Amazon, and your partner works elsewhere and doesn't have adoptive leave benefits, you may take three weeks and give your partner the other three weeks, during which Amazon will pay her base salary . 2. Etsy Etsy grants employees around the world who have biological or adopted children 26 paid weeks of maternity or paternity leave. This lengthy paid leave of absence ensure that new parents have plenty of time to bond with their children before they return to work. The policy applies to all full-time employees, regardless of gender and " primary caregiver " status. 3. Deloitte Lauded for its inclusivity, Deloitte 's policy allows for 16 weeks of paid family leave—allowing employees the paid leave period to cover elder care responsibilities, spousal care, the birth or adoption of a child, and other family responsibilities. 4. Spotify Spotify 's six-month paid leave of absence allowance is available for all new parents for the first three years of the child's life. When they return, their role will be "commensurate with that employee’s current level of experience”—which means employees won't necessarily have the same position when they return to work as when they left. However, the company does continue to provide flexibility after paid family leave through part-time , flexible-hours, and work-from-home options. 5. Netlix During the first year after their child's birth or adoption, Netflix employees are guaranteed unlimited paid leave. This is by far the longest paid leave for adpotive parents (and other maternity and paternity leave periods) policy of which we're aware. Clearly some employers have very generous policies for adoptive and birth parents alike. But what if yours doesn't? Your best course of action is to discuss your options with your manager and HR. Discuss the current parental leave policy for full-time employees, and explain your situation. If your company is unable to grant you paid maternity leave, discuss other options, such as the ability to work part time or from home or use your sick leave to take additional paid time off. Remember: Under many circumstances, you're at least entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, so you know you'll be able to return to your job and keep your other benefits.

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act: 9 Facts You Should Know

    The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which made discrimination on the basis of pregnancy - and childbirth-related medical conditions illegal, was passed in 1978, but that doesn’t mean pregnancy discrimination is no longer an issue. The PDA covers discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, noting that this constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII, which pertains to employers with 15 or more employees. Employers may not fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against women on the basis of their pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. Nearly 31,000 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2010 and 2015. And despite some advances—in 2008, for instance, employers became responsible for providing pregnant women with necessary accommodations as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act—pregnant employees continue to face discrimination due to their pregnancies and aren’t receiving the work accommodations they need. This month, CNN reported on a case in which Whitney Tomlinson, a 30-year-old single mother and packer at a Walmart Distribution Center in Atlanta, was told she had to apply for an unpaid leave from the job because of her pregnancy. Walmart's human resources department also told her she would not be allowed to return to work until after she gave birth. This placed a huge financial—not to mention emotional—burden on the her. After some research and conversations with her doctor, Tomlinson decided to take action against her employer. Now, A Better Balance, a family rights advocacy group, is filing a discrimination charge against Walmart with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on her behalf, since Walmart’s treatment of Tomlinson is discriminatory and illegal. The PDA is an amendment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It expressly prohibits discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” It also notes that “women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes.” As part of Title VII, the PDA denotes discrimination against pregnant workers as a violation of workers' civil rights and a form of sex discrimination. Here are nine important facts you should know about the PDA: 1. Your employer cannot legally fire or reassign you because you are pregnant, nor can she prohibit you from working or returning to work after giving birth. 2. Your employer cannot require pregnant women to submit to special procedures to determine whether or not she can perform her job duties, unless the employer requires all other employees to submit to the same procedures. 3. Pregnancy is considered a temporary disability. That means your employer must treat a pregnant employee the same way she treats other employees who are temporarily sick or disabled if you are unable to perform your job duties while pregnant. It also means that if you take leave, your employer must hold your job for the same amount of time she would hold the job of an employee who is on leave due to an illness or disability. 4. According to the EEOC ’s clarifying guidelines about the PDA, the law doesn’t just cover current pregnancies—it also covers past and future pregnancies. That means, for instance, your employer can't fire you at the end of your maternity leave , and must accomodate pregnancy-related needs, such as breastfeeding and lactation. 5. An employer cannot refuse to hire someone because she is pregnant or has a medical condition related to her pregnancy. 6. Employer-provided health insurance plans must treat pregnancy-related conditions the same way it treats other medical conditions. Pregnant workers are entitled to the same benefits they received before their pregnancy. 7. Since pregnant employees and workers may have impairments related to or because of their pregnancies, the Americans with Disabilities Act specifies that employers may not discriminate against workers with pregnancy-related impairments, and must provide an “individual with a reasonable accommodation if needed because of a pregnancy-related disability.” These reasonable accommodations might include modifying workplace policies so that the pregnant worker can take more frequent breaks or redistributing duties, such as lifting, that a pregnant worker cannot perform. 8. The PDA only covers employers with 15 or more employees. Some states have additional laws covering employers with fewer than 15 employees. If your employer has fewer than 15 employees and you have questions about the pregnancy discrimination policy, check with your regional U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau office. 9. The Family and Medical Leave Act ( FMLA ), signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, allows workers to take time off from their jobs to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. Under this law, you may take up to 12 week of unpaid leave in any 12-month period. This law also covers other circumstances, such as personal or family illnesses. When you return to work, you must be allowed to resume the same job you had before your leave, and you must be entitled to the benefits and entitlements you had previously. You may also continue to receive group health insurance and benefits during your leave. If you think your employer or a potential employer has discriminated against you because of your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition or failed to provide reasonable accomodations for your pregnancy, you can file a charge with the EEOC . You may do so online, in person at an EEOC office, in person at a state or local fair employment practice agency, or by mail. You may not file the charge by telephone, but you can initiate the process by phone. Visit the EEOC website for instructions on how to file, information on the process, and time limits for filing your claim.

  • Paid Sick Leave: Everything You Need to Know

    You've probably heard the term " sick leave " — but what does sick leave actually refer to, and why should it matter to you? As of 2017, seven states have a paid sick leave law. These seven states include: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. In addition, 22 cities across the United States have a sick leave law and give full-time employees sick leave depending on hours worked. Like with bereavement leave , there are no federal laws requiring or protecting paid sick leave, making America the only country amongst a lineup of 22 developed nations that doesn’t guarantee pay if an employee, or a close member of the employee’s family, gets an illness and needs to take a sick day. In 2015, President Obama signed an executive order (Executive Order 13706) which established paid sick leave for federal contractors. This order required these government contractors to allot 7 days to a sick leave bank and family medical leave to its employees every year for preventative care, an existing health condition, illness or injury. According to a 2015 poll by the Huffington Post, 70% of those surveyed believed that companies should be required to pay employees for sick time. This poll also asked questions about maternity leave and paternity leave . 67% ruled in favor of the former, and 55% ruled in favor of the latter. These results come alongside statistics from the Department of Labor that show 40% of private sector, low-earning workers aren’t guaranteed paid sick time. And yet, even with an overwhelming majority of people calling for reform when it comes to paid time off and paid sick leave, the momentum seems to have stagnated. But what is sick leave and how does it differ from other types of PTO like parental leave and vacation time? In general, sick leave refers to the time an employee takes off from work to stay at home to address either their health, or the health of a close family member like partner or child. It can be for preventative reasons like a doctor’s appointment, for an illness, or injury. It is different from medical leave, as outlined by the Family and Medical Leave Act ( FMLA ) which is a federal law providing eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to attend to a serious illness or injury in the family or with themselves. And while there is no federal law protecting sick pay and sick leave, many policies follow a similar structure when they are present within the organization. An average sick leave policy looks like the one outlined below. In general, a full-time employee is guaranteed a certain amount of sick days based on hours worked per pay period. Sometimes, these days can be accrued over pay periods, a fiscal year, or a calendar year. There is usually a sick leave bank that holds these hours. If an employee needs to request time off for an appointment, they usually put down this time in advance and their employee supervisor can sign off on it. But sick leave can also be used last minute, as most of us don’t know when we’re going to come down with a stomach bug. Some companies require a physician statement in order for the pay leave to become valid. These policies shift also depending on exempt or non-exempt staff. If you have any questions about what your classification is, human resource is a good place to get those answers. But even though some companies have these policies in place, many do not. And it’s those that potentially suffer. If you don’t know what side you’re on, learn about the two side of the debate below. In defense of paid sick leave: First and foremost, most people can agree that if a person is sick, they should not come to work and risk infecting others. So in one way, paid sick leave should be guaranteed and people should have a paid sick leave bank so that they can take that time to recuperate and come back to work healthy and refreshed and not fear losing valuable income. It would also benefit the company or organization as it would keep the germs quarantined and away from the office. If a person has the flexibility and freedom so stay home, they would be saving many others from also falling ill. Therefore, giving employees paid sick leave would encourage them to take the time off that is necessary to get better, and come back to work eager to dive back in. This would keep employees from multitasking poorly or not putting their all into their work. To put this into perspective — let’s say you’re going out to dinner to a nice restaurant, you want your servers, waitstaff, and cooks to be healthy, right? But what if the cook making your steak has a cold, the flu, or some kind of bug and he can’t financially afford to take the time off — what’s he to do? He has to work, which means there is an increased risk that your food is being contaminated. Let’s say you now get food poisoning as a result. Wasn’t it worth paying this employee for sick time more worth it than the chain of events that could inevitably follow? For many, there is a very real fear that they will not be able to support themselves due to decreased income, or fear that they will lose their jobs if they call out sick. Most people can’t afford unpaid sick leave either. Also, what if an employee has a child at home that is sick? Maybe they’re a single parent, and have no support system to take care of the child while they are sick. What are they supposed to do? Not showing up for work could cost them their job, or food for the next week. Paid sick time could alleviate these stress points put on so many low-income workers. There is also a significant psychological impact on those without paid sick leave. According to a study by Florida Atlantic University and Cleveland State University which was published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, workers who are not guaranteed paid sick leave report a higher level of psychological distress. They are also more likely to say that this stress interferes with their daily lives. "Given the disproportionate access to paid sick leave based on race, ethnicity and income status, coupled with its relationship to health and mental health, paid sick leave must be viewed as a health disparity as well as a social justice issue," said LeaAnne DeRigne, co-author of the study. Similarly, the Department of Labor found that workers who do not have paid sick leave are more likely to be injured on the job whether it’s due to working conditions, physical stress, or mental stress from being forced to work when not at their fullest potential. Not to mention, when these low-earning workers do get sick or injured, the cost to alleviate the problems are exponential. In reports conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, results showed that by giving people paid time off, they’d be reducing the cost of emergency room visits. Many times, these low-income workers don’t have the time to take preventative care seriously, and are forced to get emergency services at the last minute. Paid sick leave would allow workers to take their health more seriously and prevent more devastating conditions from developing — and keeping their finances safe from alarming emergency room bills. But it’s not just the negatives that make the case for paid sick leave. For many employers, a happy, healthy, productive environment is key. It means happy customers and clients. It means low turnover rates. It means high profits. Giving employees paid sick leave gives them that boost of confidence that they need to increase productivity and profitability. The cost of trying to find a new employee is worth nearly as much as the lost employee themselves, which is why businesses strive to have lower turnover rates. Not just that, but think about the loyalty and trust that could be built up between employer and employee if they are given the respect of getting paid for their work even when they are too sick to do it. That shows investment,care and respect for employees that is invaluable for an employer. A paid sick leave or PTO policy also makes employees feel like valued adults who can be trusted to use these days with caution and discretion. Paid sick leave isn’t something that can be used all willy nilly. There’s stil procedure involved, but it gives employees peace of mind that the stomach bug they caught, or that their child caught, won’t cost them their job. In opposition to paid sick leave: As with any other forced financial stipulation, many of the arguments against paid sick leave revolve around its economic impact. Many argue that by making paid sick leave mandatory, you would be forcing the increase of prices on good and services across all industries. That, or reduce the benefits these full-time employees, or hourly employee, already benefit from. By requiring sick leave, companies might have to roll back bonuses, perks, vacation time, and other company benefits like outings and snacks. Studies show that after San Francisco mandated paid leave, 30% of low-wage worked experienced cut hours and layoffs. There’s the fear that if these mandates were enacted on a larger scale, it would negatively impact jobs and the economy as a whole. Driving up prices and creating an even more unequal economic gap. There’s also no proof to show that when given paid sick leave, that people actually take it. It’s still very likely that people will continue going to work sick even if they have the opportunity not to do so Many companies find that after a years’ time, employees still have unused sick leave days which shows that the proposed legislation is not, in fact, “one size fits all” and should be catered to each company on a company by company basis. There’s a large amount of pushback for this reason. Organizations don’t want the federal government imposing laws on a nationwide level. What works for Google might not necessarily work for the small business in Idaho. For many, they want to be in control of their sick leave policy, not the government. And many already have these intricate policies that include a sick leave pool for illness or injury, sick leave accrual, and a host of other sick leave programs to aid their employees depending on full-time part-time employment. Regardless of what side you’re on, it’s obvious the importance this debate has on American society. Both sides have merit, with statistics and studies proving many differing, sometimes contradictory points. It is more imperative to ensure the economic climate stays the same, or is it vital to close the gap and guarantee workers rights? In the long run, it’s a question that needs answering, or at least more debate on. With the number of policies and issues floating around the political theater, it’s time guaranteed paid sick leave got more time in the spotlight. If not for our sakes, then for the sake of our children and their children. Even if this is an issue not for the federal government, but for state and local municipalities. Workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and affording them paid sick leave gives them that affirmation that what they’re doing matters. No one is perfect. Things happen. People get sick. For some, they are lucky enough to be able to take the time off when they need to, when their daughter comes down with a cold or their husband gets an injury at work. But for many, getting sick means lost wages and maybe even lost employment. Not only that, but it also means extensive fees if the illness isn’t caught in time. Even if we can’t agree on the need for required sick leave, we can agree on the need for better worker’s rights. And any step in that direction is a step forward.

  • Requesting A Leave of Absence? Here's What You Should — And Shouldn't — Do

    If something monumental happens in your personal or professional life, it may require you to leave work for a lot longer than your benefits or PTO will allow. What are you to do? This is where a leave of absence may come in handy. But what is a leave of absence? In short, a leave of absence is a period of time an employee takes away from his or her job while still holding the title of employee from the period the leave starts to when the employee returns. It’s different from other forms of absences like vacations, holidays, sabbaticals and hiatuses. That’s because these other forms of “leave” are considered to be benefits or privileges of the employee, like working from home , instead of being extenuating circumstances. And there are two types of leave: mandated, and volunteer. Mandated leaves of absence include instances like jury duty leave, military leave, victim leave, and voter leave to name a few. Family Medical Leave Act ( FMLA ) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also fall under this leave of absence category. A volunteered, personal leave of absence might be taken for many reasons — be they personal or professional. Some instances of a personal leave of absence include maternity leave , family leave, sick leave , bereavement leave , religious leave and a medical leave of absence to name a few. But just because these options are out there, doesn’t mean asking for them is easy. Policies and regulations change from company to company, and state to state, and most full-time employees will be granted this leave on a case-by-case basis depending on the employer-employee relationship and the reason behind the request. If you find yourself in a position where you need to ask for an employee leave of absence, follow these steps for success. 1. Familiarize yourself with the leave of absence policy. Outside of state-mandated paid leave programs and policies, most companies vary when it comes to what they offer employees as far as a leave of absence is concerned. But you have rights and it’s important that you are cognisant of them. Employers are required by law to give you time off for mandated leaves, like FMLA, ADA or active duty. But because of the varying laws and policies across the country, it can get confusing knowing if you are an eligible employee. It’s also important considering what may happen to your pay and other benefits. After how many days will you lose your pay? Will it be accepted, under the condition that it would be an unpaid leave of absence? These are questions you should have answered before beginning the conversation with your supervisor and human resource. 2. Provide ample time. You don’t ever want to give anyone bad news without any notice, not that asking for a leave is bad news per se. It’s important to give your employer enough time to plan ahead, however. If you need to take time from work, then they will need to find someone to perform those tasks in the meantime. This goes for any leave, though there is of course more flexibility when it comes to sick leave or a medical leave of absence. 3. Talk with both your direct supervisor and HR. You don’t want to blindside your supervisor, so you should make sure they’re in the loop throughout the entire process. But human resources might be able to help answer any questions or provide clarification on company-specific work policies on what would make you an eligible employee. You should try to have these questions answered, but once you’ve spoken to your direct supervisor, in order to keep the employer-employee relationship intact, it’s time to get HR involved. 4. Write it down. Like any other legally binding document, it’s important to get your leave of absence form in writing. This should include the start and end date. But before you get to the contract part, it might be helpful to write down your reasoning and outline your request to make the conversation a simpler one. 5. Talk in person. While this isn’t a resignation , it can sometimes feel like it both from an employee’s and an employer’s perspective. This is why it’s vital to speak in person. It’ll ease tensions and provide an environment of open conversation. Take the time to outline your reasoning and make sure you’re following your company’s policies regarding an employee leave of absence. You might also be able to come to a different conclusion, taking a partial leave or working from home if your request allows. 6. Set an end date. This is vital both for you and your employee supervisor. By setting an end date, you’re letting your employer know that you indeed intend on returning. This might also make the request a more likely one to be accepted. It will also give you more confidence and stability in your decision knowing you have a job to return to.

  • The Pregnancy Checklist Every Mama-To-Be Needs

    Pregnancy is a special and emotional time for any woman, yet for most of us it also comes with a sea of nerves — and sometimes those nerves translate into confusion over our identity and how this new phase might affect our career. That’s why we’re hooking you up with a no-nonsense checklist. While no two women’s pregnancies are the same, these tips will put you on the right track and will guide you as you navigate these exciting months. -Browse this maternity leave database to find out what your company’s policy is (or, if you’re job searching, figure out which companies have good leave programs). -Not thrilled with your company’s policy? Read up on the basics of maternity leave , short term disability insurance , and FMLA to figure out what your options are and whether you might be able to negotiate for more maternity leave . -If you have a male partner who’s working, find out what the paternity leave policy is at his company. -Check out what other women have reported about your company's (or a prospective company's) work-life balance and flexibility policies . You may not tire of working long hours now, but when you have a baby at home you may want — or, let's face it, need — to be able to have a more flexible schedule. -Figure out how to tell your boss you’re pregnant . And how to tell your coworkers you’re pregnant . If you're terrified, rest assured that you'll feel a whole lot better once you deliver the news. -Do some research on how other mamas have navigated pregnancy week by week in the workplace. -Start buying what you need to stay comfortable. You’ll want a good maternity pillow , pregnancy band , and some cozy (and maybe even cute) maternity clothing . -Create a maternity leave plan to share with your boss and colleagues. In addition to helping them out, it will give you some peace of mind and help you combat maternity leave guilt . -Start crafting your last-minute checklist before maternity leave . You’ll be grateful that you have it when you’re struggling to tie up loose ends before your last day. -If plan to breastfeed — and to return to your job — it’s never to early to look into your legal rights and protections as a breastfeeding employee ...and, of course, how to pump at work . -If you’re thinking of working from home post-baby, check out these 13 great work-from-home job opportunities for stay-at-home moms . -Most of all, don't forget to enjoy the wonderful ride that is pregnancy — and if you're ever feeling like you need more support, let this checklist guide you, and don't be shy about posting a question or discussion topic to solicit advice from mamas who have been there!

  • Bereavement Leave 101

    We hear often about maternity leave and the period of time employees tend to take off from work when they have a new child. But what happens when employees need to take days off for less joyous occasions like the death of a family member or loved one? Bereavement Leave Bereavement leave refers to the time an employee takes away from work as a result of the death of a family member or loved one. If you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you know that during the days after a death, you need time to grieve and attend (or perhaps help plan) a funeral. You might also need time off to attend a wake or a shiva and spend some extra time with friends and family. Bereavement leave can be a tricky topic for both employers and employees to navigate because it forces people to mix their professional lives with their very personal ones, and it can feel especially difficult to deal with logistics and facing work when you’re grieving . What if you need to take additional time off from work because you lost someone close to you, but you’ve used all of your PTO or vacation days and sick time? Do you have to take unpaid time off so that you can fly across the country to attend the funeral for your close relative? Do you have to essentially call in sick because someone you know passed away, but you don’t feel like you’ll be granted any paid time off to grieve or go to the funeral? Or do you need to request a leave of absence ? Is There a Federal Bereavement Leave Law Requiring Employers to Offer Bereavement Leave? There’s no federal law in the U.S. requiring companies to offer funeral leave or paid or unpaid leave specifically for bereavement; as the U.S. Department of Labor puts it, “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, including attending a funeral. This type of benefit is generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative).” While there’s no federal bereavement leave law in the U.S. some companies do have a bereavement leave policy. Are There Any States that Require Employers to Have a Bereavement Leave Policy? Oregon is currently the only state that requires employers to offer bereavement leave; companies with more than 25 employees must allow eligible employees (those who have worked at the company for at least 180 days and have worked, on average, at least 25 hours per week for at least 180 days) up to two weeks of leave for each family member who dies (as long as the leave is taken within 60 days of the death of the family member). In Illinois, there’s a Child Bereavement Leave Act that requires companies that employ 50+ people to offer employees up to 10 days off following the death of a child. In all other states, it is up to employers to decide on what they offer to employees who are grieving if anything. So, as you can imagine, taking leave for bereavement is an experience that can be wildly different for you than it was for your best friend (especially if one of you lives in Oregon!). Am I Entitled to Bereavement Leave? If you’re wondering whether you get bereavement leave in California, for example, it would all depend on what your employer’s policy is; there’s no regulated California bereavement leave law. Your eligibility for bereavement or funeral leave might also depend on whether you’re a full-time employee, part-time employee, or freelancer. Some companies only offer these kinds of benefits to full-time employees. We all hope that our bosses will be understanding and compassionate when we experience a loss, but not every office offers a grief support group or the kind of individual counseling you might need; your experience may depend on your employer and your type of job (whether or not you’re a full-time employee might impact your experience). Is Bereavement Leave Paid? Among those employers that do provide bereavement leave, the amount of time off (and whether/how much of that time off is paid) varies widely. Facebook, for example, recently doubled the amount of paid leave it offers to employees dealing with loss; people who work at Facebook get 20 days of paid leave to grieve when they lose an immediate family member, and they get up to 10 days if an extended family member passes away. Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg explained in a Facebook post why the company altered its policy and why she believes other employers should be compassionate when an employee requests bereavement time to mourn a family member death. “I hope more companies will join us and others in making similar moves because America’s families deserve support,” she wrote, adding that when her husband Dave died suddenly in 2015, she was tremendously grateful “to work at a company that provides bereavement leave and flexibility . I needed both to start my recovery. I know how rare that is, and I believe strongly that it shouldn’t be,” she wrote. Yet some companies have no official policy in place when it comes to bereavement leave, so employees may be granted much less or no paid time off for these purposes. What Does a Sample Bereavement Leave Policy Look Like? Because there is no federal law requiring bereavement leave or paid bereavement leave, it is up to companies to create their own policies on what to pay employees — if at all — and for how long. Typically, companies allow regular, full-time employees to take up to three days of paid leave following the death of an immediate family member. This allows employees to attend, or plan, a funeral for a deceased loved one. Some companies will allow for one day of bereavement leave to attend the funeral of a non-immediate family member or loved one. Of course, this is just a sample bereavement leave policy, and the actual policy will depend on your employer and plan. Who is Considered Immediate Family for Bereavement Leave? Employers that do have a bereavement leave policy may differentiate between the time off given for an immediate family member’s death and an extended family member’s death. They may also have different regulations for funeral leave for a non-family member’s death. Since there is no widespread regulation in place, your company may define immediate family members differently than another company might. While oftentimes we think of “immediate family” as being a spouse, parent, child, or sibling, in the context of bereavement leave, some companies might include in the definition what we may otherwise think of an extended family: grandparents, a first cousin, etc. In some situations, bereavement leave policies will also include in-laws. But in many situations, aunts, uncles, and cousins are not considered immediate family. Which Airlines Offer Bereavement Fares? If a loved one has passed away and you need to travel, you might be looking for airlines that offer bereavement fares. Last minute flights can be extremely expensive, and a bereavement fare might make the experience a smoother, and cheaper, one. But in recent years, bereavement fares have slowly slipped away. That doesn't mean you should lose hope, however! Here's a list of airlines that offer bereavement fares: Air Canada Air France American Airlines Delta LAN Lufthansa United Airlines WestJet The policy for each airline may vary, so it's important you check their website and call their offices to find the fares that will work for your situation. What Should I Do If I’m Grieving and My Company Doesn’t Offer Bereavement Leave? While your employer may not have a specific policy designed for bereavement, employees do get sick leave entitlement that takes into account the fact that people may need to take time off when a family member dies. As per the U.S. Office of People Management (OPM), an employee can use 104 hours (13 days) of sick leave each leave year when: They need to make arrangements to go to a family member’s funeral They need to spend time caring for a family member who is incapacitated due to a mental or physical illness, pregnancy, childbirth or an injury They need to assist a family member who is in the process of receiving medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment What does the OPM mean by “family member”? It could be a “spouse; parents; parents-in-law; children; brothers; sisters; grandparents; grandchildren; step-parents; stepchildren; foster parents; foster children; guardianship relationships; same sex and opposite sex domestic partners; and spouses or domestic partners of the aforementioned, as applicable.” The OPM also states that an employee can take off up to three workdays to make arrangements for or to attend the funeral of an immediate family member who has died as a result of serving as a member of the Armed Forces in a combat zone. The three days do not necessarily have to be consecutive. In addition, according to the OPM, a federal law enforcement officer or firefighter can take paid time off to attend the funeral of a colleague who has died in the line of duty. If your employer doesn’t have a formal bereavement policy, they may work with employees on a case-by-case basis to determine what the employee’s needs are and what they’re able to offer. You may also have a specified number of vacation, PTO, or personal days that you’re able to use for this purpose. Can I Use FMLA to Take Time Off When a Loved One Dies? What is FMLA, and how does FMLA work? If you’re not familiar with the Family Medical Leave Act ( FMLA ), here’s what you need to know: it’s a federal law that may provide you with unpaid yet job-protected time off from work for up to 12 weeks. The law typically affords this time to employees who are unable to work because they or a loved one have a serious medical condition. Parents who do not get maternity leave or paternity leave sometimes use FMLA for that purpose. What does FMLA eligibility entail? FMLA coverage does not apply to all U.S. employees. If you’re not sure whether you work at an FMLA covered employer, here are some things to know: FMLA eligibility depends on the kind of company you work at and the size of your employer. Government employees and private employees who work at companies with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of their physical workspace are eligible. You also must have worked at your company for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours to qualify. If you don’t work in one of these capacities, keep in mind that certain state laws may allow you time off and some kind of job protection. FMLA typically does not extend to include bereavement, unless an eligible employee has a family member die in active military duty. And, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, a bill introduced in March 2017 would change the rules so that FMLA would apply to parents who are grieving the death of a child. If My Employer Does Offer Bereavement, What Would it Look Like? Employers that do have some sort of bereavement policy likely have it articulated in an employee handbook. Perhaps they grant a certain amount of paid time off and some additional unpaid leave for employees who are grieving. A clearly outlined policy should define how much time employees are eligible to take if an immediate family member (or distant relative, depending on the employer’s terms) passes away. The verbiage should specify whether all employees are eligible or if they have to be full-time, and it should indicate how much time, if any, will be paid. The policy should also define family member and should make clear what, if anything, is granted if an employee is grieving a loved one who’s not defined as a family member. Any thorough policy will likely add that a human resource staff member or the employee’s manager might discuss any specific provisions on a case-by-case basis. How Do I Ask for Bereavement Leave? Figuring out how to ask for bereavement leave can be tough. You’re likely in an emotional state, and the last thing you want to worry about is being judged for missing work. Like most requests for time off, the way in which you ask your employer can depend a lot on what kind of company you work for and what your relationship is with whomever you’re asking. Larger companies might have more regulations and policies regarding asking for time off (perhaps you need to put in a formal request) — or you might work in a casual office where there’s less of a specific process in place. Either way, it’s always a good idea to put your request into writing — whether a formal letter or email or Slack message — so that your boss or manager can easily keep track and remember the specifics of your request. Examples of a Letter, Email, and Phone Call Requesting Bereavement Leave Again, you may or may not need a formal bereavement leave letter, depending on how your company functions in terms of communication style and formalities. But there’s no harm in writing a brief bereavement leave letter, and whether or not you need one at your current employer, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with a sample letter format for requesting bereavement leave should you ever need to write such a letter in the future. Like most business letters , bereavement leave letters can — and should — be brief and to the point. All you need to state in your letter is why you are requesting leave, including details on who died and their relationship to you, on what date they passed away, anything you might already know about funeral arrangements, how much time you are requesting to take off, and contact information that your colleagues might refer to during your leave. Bereavement Leave Letter Here is a sample bereavement leave letter that you might use when requesting bereavement leave: Your Name Your title Company ABC 222 Main St. City, State, Zip Code Date Letter Recipient’s Name Letter Recipient’s Title (perhaps CEO or HR Director) Company ABC 222 Main St. City, State, Zip Code Dear Letter Recipient, I am writing this letter to formally request bereavement leave. My father, who moved in with my family X years ago when he fell ill, passed away last night. I would like to request time off to mourn and make funeral arrangements beginning XXX through XXX. I will do my best to tie up any loose ends before then and make sure my team is in good hands. Should you need to reach me while I’m away, I’d prefer that you reach out by email instead of by phone. I appreciate your understanding. Best regards, (Hand-written signature) Your name Bereavement Leave Email In many cases, an informal email will suffice. As with the formal letter, you can be brief and to the point: Hi (manager or HR representative), My (relationship to the person, e.g. father or mother) passed away, and I'm requesting X days of bereavement leave to grieve and make funeral arrangements. I will be out of the office starting X date and expect to return on X date. Should my plans change, I will let you know. During this time, I'd prefer that you contact me with anything urgent by email rather than phone. Thank you, (your first name) Bereavement Leave Phone Call If you'd prefer to leave a voicemail or have a conversation with your manager by phone, you can certainly do so; you may, however, find that email is less nerve-wracking, especially if you're in an emotional state. Here's a script you can use to call your manager to request bereavement leave: Hi (first name of manager). This is (your full name). I'm calling because my (relationship of the person to you) passed away, and I'd like to request X days of bereavement leave starting tomorrow. (This, of course, is how you'll start the conversation. Chances are, your manager will respond with condolences and keep the phone call brief.) What is Compassionate Leave? The definition of compassionate leave is no different from that of bereavement leave. Countries outside the U.S. may term more frequently. In the U.S., like with bereavement leave, the compassionate leave rules and compassionate leave entitlements depend on your employer. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

  • How To Create A Maternity Leave Plan

    You may be wondering what a maternity leave plan is. Simply put, it’s a document that includes what you will be doing before, during and after your maternity leave. It is not legally required and may not be something anyone at work tells you to do, but creating a maternity leave plan that you can share may be a smart career move. Why You Need a Maternity Leave Plan It may not be obvious why you need a plan, but if you consider the fact that you may be gone for a substantial amount of time from your employer, it makes sense to think about how to prepare your team, colleagues and employer for your departure and return from maternity leave. For those of you lucky enough to work at an employer where extended leave is part of the policy, you may be away from work for several months. A plan can help you in the following ways: 1. Help you organize yourself. First and foremost, your maternity leave plan is for yourself. You should look at your due date and when that falls relative to your work projects and deadlines. Whatever you can anticipate now will save you stress and unnecessary anxiety , particularly if you have an earlier-than-expected birth. When do you expect to start your leave? Who will cover for you, and how? How much do you plan on staying in touch with your team? These are the details to outline, and they are important for you to think through whether or not anyone asks you to share your plan. 2. Impress your managers and colleagues. One of the reasons that a maternity leave plan can be so impressive is that not everyone will create one. By listing the information everyone could possibly want to know surrounding your departure and return, you’ve saved yourself a lot of awkward questions and provided a single point of reference for anyone interested in how you plan on staying in touch (if at all) and who will be covering for the various aspects of your job. 3. Provide a list of tactical and practical information to those stepping in to cover for you. Put yourself in your boss’ and co-workers’ shoes. If one of them were to leave the company for 8-12 weeks, what would you want to know? If someone needs to contact you for emergencies, how should they reach you? Will you plan on regular phone conversations if you’re a manager? Do you plan on delegating all your work in advance to others, and if there is more than one person covering for you, who is responsible for what issues? Consider this document a navigational tool for others in your absence. 4. Set your colleagues' and boss’ expectations. Many times, managers and colleagues feel awkward asking how much you plan on accomplishing before your leave, and even how long you plan on being away. This is because nobody wants to make open assumptions about how long your leave will be or put pressure on you to do more than you can. One of the benefits of creating a plan is to set these expectations long before they become an issue. Part 1 of Your Maternity Leave Plan: Before Your Departure We suggest starting with your due date (and sharing it) in the document. To create the initial part of your maternity leave plan, plan on working backwards for roughly 2 months prior. Set a schedule of what projects and tasks you plan on accomplishing before you leave. Don’t be shy about bragging about the achievements you plan on making during the period before you leave. This document is, in many ways, proof that you’re not leaving anyone in the lurch. Part 2 of Your Maternity Leave Plan: The Time During Your Leave Create a list of all your ongoing responsibilities that cannot be completed prior to your leave. If you have direct reports, assign them some portion of your tasks. Notify them, and set up a time to talk about their additional duties and then detail your mutual understanding in your maternity leave plan. Get your manager’s approval, if necessary, and then explain that this is a way for you to assess your direct reports’ ability to grow into new areas. This should be something they consider a career opportunity. If there isn’t anyone who can cover for you, you may need to be explicit about that and ask for help from your manager or HR department with respect to hiring a temporary replacement. Your employer will appreciate that you were proactive in anticipating their needs rather than simply walking out and announcing that nobody is around who can do your job. If you give them time, they may be able to hire someone on a temporary or contract basis. You can even volunteer to help select that person by interviewing them and training them. State how long you plan to take for maternity leave. We understand that feelings and situations may change. Premature births happen, as do situations where moms feel like they need to return to work early due to exceptional circumstances at work. But if you don’t state your expected duration, you’re creating unnecessary uncertainty. Plans are not written in stone, and they are there to help everyone understand your intentions. Part of what you should anticipate is whether you will have to (or want to) do any work while you’re out on leave. If you’re a manager, you may want weekly email or phone check-ins with your team. Or maybe you want to keep in touch with your boss, but only after the first month you’re away or the two weeks before your return so you can catch up. Be clear with everyone what you want in terms of contact and when you want to be contacted. Whatever you say is fine, but the clarity will be much appreciated. Part 3 of Your Maternity Leave Plan: Your Return From Leave If you plan on phasing back your return from work as opposed to coming back on a full schedule, you should negotiate that and present this as part of plan separately with your manager. You may want to start by coming back “early” but working part-time or remotely initially just to get back into the swing of things. If you plan on asking for a different schedule after you have a baby, don’t try to sneak it into this document and simply hand this paper over to your boss. Have a conversation with your manager about that and make that the focal point of your discussion about your maternity leave plan. Addressing how you will do your work under a new schedule and presenting it in terms of a business case and your employer’s point of view are important. Negotiating for more job flexibility when you return from maternity leave is something to do quite carefully in order to maximize your chances of success. If you plan on working full-time but limiting or changing your travel plans upon your return, this is something to bring up before you take maternity leave. Also, you may want to think about whether you want to breastfeed, as this can require time during your day and impact your travel. It’s completely possible to travel and pump, but it requires some planning, and some employers even offer reimbursement or services that facilitate the shipping of breastmilk. In sum, a maternity leave document is something you should present to your manager in order to help both yourself as well as as your boss and colleagues. Once approved, your plan (or a condensed version of it) should be shared with relevant colleagues and co-workers so that they know what you’re planning on doing before, during and after your return. While this isn’t a plan that’s written in stone, it will help you get organized and impress your coworkers. This document may not make sense for everyone, but depending on your length of leave and type of job, it can help smooth the transition away from the office and provide tactical and logistical details that will make you and everyone else feel much better about your time away. Peace of mind during maternity leave is priceless, so it’s worth front-loading some thought and planning before your baby arrives! Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!

  • Pregnancy, Maternity Leave, and Paternity Leave in Washington State

    On January 5, 2017, Washington State passed into law the most generous paid parental leave and sick leave laws for employees, within the United States. Unfortunately, those benefits do not go into effect until after January 1, 2020. If you are having a baby prior to 2020, please see the information below about the family medical leave rights and benefits you receive under state and federal law as a Washington state employee. Technically, Washington has had a paid parental leave law approved since 2007 that offers parents the right to five weeks of paid leave, but it has taken a decade for the funding component of the law to be passed. As of 2017, there is now a funding plan and implementation date for the parental leave benefits described below. *** If You're Having A Baby After January 1, 2020 Eligible employees (mothers as well as fathers) in Washington state will have the right to 12 paid weeks of parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. If pregnancy creates a serious health condition, an additional two weeks of paid leave can be taken. Finally, paid leave will also be available to employees if they or a family member has a serious health condition. In other words, if your new baby has a medical condition that requires you take off additional time, in addition to the 12 weeks of paid leave you receive, you will be eligible for another four weeks of paid time off (for a total of 16 paid weeks off). The pay that employees will receive is going to be based on the percentage of the employee's wages and state's weekly average wage (as of the law's passage, $1,082) — and capped at $1,000 a week. Workers who earn less than the weekly state average wage will be able to receive at least 90% of their income under this pay leave law. To be eligible, employees must have worked at least 820 hours before qualifying for the benefit. The paid leave and medical leave (or sick leave) benefits will be funded by a combination of employees paying a percentage of their wages to pay for the benefit as well as employers doing the same on behalf of their employees. Small employers (with those less than 50 employees) can opt out of paying the employer's share and self-employeed employees who elect coverage may qualify so long as they pay the employee share of their premiums. Collections for payment (0.4% of wages) will begin in 2019 with employers paying for 37% and employees paying for 63% of the new benefit. *** If You're Having A Baby Before January 1, 2020 Unfortunately, the benefits described above only pertain to those Washington state employees who take parental leave or sick leave after January 1, 2020. Maternity and paternity leave for employees working in Washington state is a right under federal and state law, for certain eligible employees. In addition, birth mothers may be entitled to take additional time off under a state anti-discrimination law. How Much Maternity Leave Am I Entitled To Take? Under the federal law, FMLA , eligible employees are allowed to take at least 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12 month period. Under Washington State’s Family Leave Act (FLA), eligible employees are also allowed to take 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12 month period following the birth or adoption of a child. FMLA and FLA run concurrently if you qualify for both, so that means a total of 12 weeks of job-protected but unpaid leave. In addition, under Washington’s Law Against Discrimination, you may qualify for pregnancy disability leave if you are eligible and this is certified by your health care provider. Typically this is between 6-8 weeks, depending on the type of birth you have, before you are expected to return to work. If you qualify for both FLA and pregnancy disability, you will typically be entitled to 6+12=18 weeks of maternity leave. What About Paternity Leave ? FLA and FMLA are gender-neutral, so this applies to both fathers and mothers. However, FLA is available for registered domestic partners whereas FMLA is not. Pregnancy short-term disability insurance is obviously only available to the pregnant parent. How About Military Caregiver Leave — How Does That Work? This has a slightly less direct correlation to pregnancy and childbearing. But as a military caregiver in Washington State, you’re eligible for up to 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to care for a covered, active duty service member with a major illness or injury, if the service member is an approved family member. Similarly, you may also be eligible for up to 12 workweeks of unpaid exigency leave during a 12-month period during a 12-month period if an employee’s approved family member (spouse, child, or parent) is on covered or active duty. Am I Eligible for FMLA, FLA, or Pregnancy Disability Leave? The eligibility requirements for FMLA and FLA are nearly identical. To qualify, you must have worked for your employer at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period preceding your requested leave. Your employer also must have employed at least 50 employees for 20 workweeks (in the current or prior calendar year) within 75 miles of your worksite in order to be covered under the laws. To qualify for pregnancy disability leave, you must work for a company with at least eight employees if pregnancy-related conditions disable you from working. The law technically treats pregnancy and childbirth recovery as any other short-term disability and requires that employers must treat these “disabilities” the same as any other short-term disability. In other words, your employer cannot require special notice or benefit changes unless they do so as a matter of policy for all other employees who may require short-term disability insurance. What If I Qualify for FMLA, FLA and/or Pregnancy Disability Leave? FLA and FMLA run concurrently, meaning that if you qualify for both, then the maximum time period for your leave is 12 weeks. Pregnancy disability, however, runs before FLA kicks in so if you qualify for both FLA and pregnancy disability, you will probably at least 18 weeks of unpaid leave because FLA and pregnancy disability do not run concurrently. Do I Get Paid During My Maternity or Paternity Leave? Some employers may offer paid maternity or paternity leave but this is a voluntary benefit and not required under either federal or state law. In 2007, Washington state passed a Family Leave Insurance program but it has not yet been implemented due to no appropriations to fund the bill. In the meantime, you can elect to take out private short-term disability insurance to cover lost labor wages during your pregnancy (though you typically have to do this before you become pregnant). You cannot unfortunately collect unemployment benefits during your leave. Read our piece on tips for how to survive an unpaid maternity leave . What If I Have Other Questions? We are not attorneys and have only attempted to summarize publicly available information regarding your maternity leave and pregnancy rights. You may consult Washington State’s Family Leave Act Q&A and the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for further information about FMLA . If you believe your FLA rights have been violated, you may also file a complaint . Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!

  • Wisconsin Maternity Leave Rights and Laws

    If you’re a pregnant employee in Wisconsin looking to find out whether you qualify for maternity leave , you’re better off than most American women. Wisconsin state law provides unpaid parental leave protections in case you do not qualify for the federal leave law, FMLA . Wisconsin Laws on Maternity Leave Wisconsin’s Family and Medical Leave Act covers both public and private employees and guarantees both mothers and fathers up to six weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year for the birth or adoption of a child within the first 16 weeks of that child’s life (or adoption), and up to two weeks of leave in a calendar year for the care of a child, spouse, parent or domestic partner. Employees may also take up to two weeks per year for their own serious health conditions. However, during a 12 month period, employees cannot take more than 8 weeks in a year for their leaves. If your pregnancy and postpartum recovery creates a medical condition which renders you incapable of working, you are also entitled to disability leave if your employer offers it. Though not required under Wisconsin law, your employer must offer this leave to you for pregnancy disability on the same terms as your employer offers to any other employee who is experiencing a physical disability. To be clear, the six week leave period for bonding and child-rearing is a separate leave period and required under law. How Do I Qualify for FMLA and Wisconsin’s Family Leave Act? For FMLA, you must meet eligibility requirements including that you have worked for your employer for 12 months prior a total of at least 1,250 hours and they must employ 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. To qualify for Wisconsin’s Family Leave Act, you must work for an employer who employes 50 or more permanent employees and have worked with them for at least 1,000 hours for the year prior to taking leave. How Much Pay Will I Receive During My Leave? Unfortunately, there’s no requirement under either federal or state law that you receive compensation for any lost wages while you are out on leave. If your employer does not voluntarily provide maternity leave benefits to you, and you have not taken out a short term disability policy covering your pregnancy and postpartum period, you will have to shoulder the financial burden of an unpaid maternity leave . What If I Qualify for Both Wisconsin Parental Leave and FMLA? The two periods run concurrently and you would receive a maximum of 12 weeks off if you qualified for Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave law. One difference between FMLA and Wisconsin state law is that FMLA leave must be shared by two parents if they work for the same employer, meaning they are eligible for a total of 12 weeks of leave as a couple. However, under Wisconsin law, the two parents are both individually eligible for their own parental leaves. What Happens to My Benefits While I’m On Leave? Under FMLA and Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave Act, your employer must retain your healthcare benefits during your leave and during any pregnancy disability leave, you must also receive the same benefits as provided to any other employee on disability leave. What about Paternity Leave ? FMLA and parental leave under Wisconsin’s Family and Medical Leave Act are both gender neutral and may be taken by fathers who want to take paternity leave . What If I have Other Questions or Believe My Employer Is Violating My Rights? More detail can be found on the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development. To file a complaint with the state’s Equal Rights Division within 30 days of the violation. You can find a link to the form here . Please note: we are not attorneys and the above summary of frequently asked questions and answers are meant to be a helpful summary but is no substitute for consulting a lawyer if you believe you need to. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!

Maternity and Paternity Leave By State
State Laws on Maternity Leave

Depending on where you work, your maternity leave and pregnancy rights can vary. Some states offer more protections than federal law (FMLA) while others provide no paid leave nor even unpaid leave rights. In an attempt to summarize this patchwork of state laws and compare them to each other, the National Partnership for Women and Families' provides a visual report card of different states' laws in terms of how favorable they are for new and expecting parents. The states in dark red offer the most generous parental leave and pregnancy protections. A state colored in black provides no additional protections beyond those under federal laws: FMLA, the Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA) and the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)'s protections for breastfeeding mothers at work.

State Grades
Maternity Leave Articles
Maternity Leave & Community

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