Maternity leave

Maternity and Paternity Leave By Company
Name Industry Paid
(weeks)

Maternity Leave

Unpaid
(weeks)

Paternity Leave

Paid
(weeks)
Unpaid
(weeks)
Netflix Technology: Consumer Internet 52 0 52 0
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Philanthropy 52 N/A 52 2
Applebee's International, Inc. Hospitality: Restaurants 52 N/A N/A N/A
Army (British) Government: Federal 39 13 2 N/A
Automattic, Inc. Technology: Consumer Internet 32 0 N/A N/A
Ford Motor Automotive: Manufacturers 30 4 0 N/A
Overview
  • 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
  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Oregon Maternity and Paternity Leave

    Oregon is one of the more progressive states in the country when it comes to caregiver leave and employee rights. Although it is not one of the states offering any maternity leave laws providing pay during maternity leave , you can theoretically receive up to 24 weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off if you qualify (though most women will probably qualify for a maximum of 20 weeks of unpaid time off). Special Note on Portland, OR City and Multnomah County Employees Starting in January 2016, Portland city employees of both genders are eligible for six weeks of fully paid time off after the birth, adoption, or foster care guardianship of a child. In mid 2015, a similar law was passed for Multnomah employees. In both cases, the leave must be taken continuously at some point during the first 12 months of the child’s arrival. To be eligible for this leave, employees must have been working for the government for six months prior to the leave. How Much Maternity Leave Do I Get? Two different laws cover your maternity leave: FMLA (a federal law) and OFLA (the Oregon Family Leave Act). Under FMLA, or the Family Medical Leave Act, parents are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid maternity and paternity leave (the federal law is gender neutral) to care and bond for a newborn or newly adopted child. However, only certain employees are eligible and there are certain criteria you must meet, such as having worked for at least 1,250 hours at a company which employs at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your work site (i.e. this does not necessarily mean you have to be a full-time employee). Under the state-specific Oregon Family Leave Act, however, you are potentially allowed to take even more time off (up to 24 weeks) of unpaid leave. Two provisions of OFLA provide for additional time off: (1) Up to 12 weeks of leave under “Pregnancy disability” time off and (2) up to 12 weeks of leave under the parental leave provisions. What If I Qualify for Both FMLA and OFLA? Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that you are entitled to 12+12+12 weeks off. First of all, FMLA and OFLA leave run concurrently if you qualify for both. Moreover, typically under the pregnancy disability provisions, you will need a doctor to certify that you are unable to work due to a pregnancy-related disability for 12 weeks, and most healthy women going through a normal, healthy pregnancy and delivery will not receive that sort of recommendation. While everyone’s situation is different, in all likelihood, your parental / caregiver leave under OFLA and FMLA would run concurrently, giving you 12 weeks of parental leave plus any additional time your doctor certifies you are unable to work during due to your pregnancy or postpartum recovery needs. What Is Pregnancy Disability Under OFLA? Pregnancy disability is considered any time when you are a pregnant employee disabled from your pregnancy, prenatal care, or birth of a child (so, not extending to adopted or foster care children) and therefore unable to work due to a related health condition. This is medically prescribed time off (e.g. bed-rest under doctor’s orders) or postpartum recovery, which is customarily limited to six to eight weeks after birth, depending on whether you delivered vaginally or via C-section. Theoretically, the upper limit on pregnancy disability under OFLA is 12 weeks, so if for some reason you needed six weeks of bed-rest and then delivered vaginally, you could be entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under this set of OFLA provisions. How Much Maternity Leave Do I Get Under the Parental Leave Provisions of OFLA? Parental leave may be taken for up to 12 weeks in addition to pregnancy disability leave in the same leave year. In other words, if you qualify for OFLA, you can use six to eight weeks of pregnancy disability leave, followed by 12 weeks of parental leave. Parental leave can be used for the adoption of a child or to take care of a child who becomes incapacitated, so it is more broadly applicable than just to the birth of a child. How Do I Apply for OFLA? To get time off under the pregnancy disability provisions of OFLA, you must receive medical certification and follow the forms your employer provides. You must provide notice to your employer (at least 30 days) where you can, though in an emergency situation, you must simply give leave notice to your employers within 24 hours of the emergency. Do I Qualify for OFLA? To qualify for OFLA, you must have been employed for 180 calendar days prior to your leave and have worked for at least 25 hours per week on average during this period to qualify for pregnancy disability leave. However, to qualify for parental leave under OFLA, you simply must have been employed for 180 days prior to your leave regardless of how many hours you worked during that period of time. Your employers must employ at least 25 employees within the state of Oregon. Do I Get Paid During My Maternity Leave? Unfortunately, no. Unless your employer voluntarily provides paid maternity leave or offers short-term disability insurance for employees, your leave period will be unpaid. Neither FMLA nor OFLA guarantees any paid time off. You may take out short-term disability insurance benefits to cover your time off if you do so before conception, and follow these tips to manage an unpaid maternity leave . What About Paternity Leave in Oregon? FMLA is a gender-neutral law, and Parental Leave under OFLA is something men and women both qualify for, regardless of marriage or domestic partnership status. However, pregnancy disability leave only applies to pregnant women. What Other Rights Do I Have? Under both FMLA and OFLA, your employee rights include the ability to be returned to the same or similar position (if your job role has been eliminated while you were on leave) when you return from leave. Under FMLA, you are entitled to continue to receive group health benefits on the same terms as you would have received them if you were not on leave. Under OFLA, you must receive the same benefits as those employees who are absent from work for other reasons (e.g. a sabbatical, paid time off, etc). If those employees would have continued to receive seniority and vacation accrual during their time off, you would also be entitled to those employment benefits. What If I Believe My Rights Are Being Violated? If you find your employer is not aware of your rights or you are a victim of pregnancy discrimination or wrongful termination, you can print out this 2016 OFLA poster to show your employer the rules. If that doesn’t resolve your issue, you may make a complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries Civil Rights Division. OFLA doesn’t just apply to parental leave, though. Let’s also look at some of the other protections and eligible employee types included under this law. Bereavement leave Oregon actually became the first state to mandate Bereavement Leave, back in 2013. Under this law, eligible employees may take up to two weeks of unpaid leave per death of a family member, with a maximum of 12 weeks in a 12-month period. This condition was included to allow employees the ability to make the needed arrangements after a family member’s passing, attend the funeral, and grieve. Under OFLA, the definition of “family member” includes an employee’s spouse, domestic partner (regardless of sex), child, parent, grandparent, or grandchild. Similarly, this extends to the same family members of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner. Additional employee eligibility requirements may need to be met — you can read more about those here . Military family leave Under FMLA, military caregivers’ leave entitlements are categorized in two sections — Military Caregiver Leave and Qualifying Exigency Leave. To be an eligible employee for the first military family leave category, you must have an active duty family member be deployed to a foreign country. Military Caregiver Leave, on the other hand, impact those who need to provide care to an ill or injured family member who is in the military. To learn more about this area of FMLA coverage, click here . Sick leave In Oregon, all employers with at least 10 employees (or six employees, if you live in Portland) must provide up to 40 hours of PTO per year, and employers with less than 10 employees (or less than six if, again, you live in Portland) must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time. In the case that paid sick leave is provided, employees must be paid their normal amount of pay. Employees covered by Oregon’s sick leave law include: both part-time and full-time; salaried; minimum wage; commission; temporary; seasonal; piece-rate; and home care employees. The main qualification is that an employee has worked in the state of Oregon for at least a year. Independent contractors, for whatever reason, are the one form of employment not covered by the state’s sick time laws. This type of leave can also be used to care for a sick child, as well, but if your family member has a more serious health condition, there are laws ( like FMLA ) that can help you on a more ongoing basis, as well. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!

  • Maternity Leave in Iowa: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

    Do I Receive Maternity Leave in Iowa? For women who are employees in the state of Iowa, there is no paid maternity leave required by law, per se. Your employer, of course, may voluntarily choose to offer this benefit. However, you are entitled to the same federal protections for up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid time off under a federal law called the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), if you are eligible (see more below). If you don’t qualify for FMLA, you may also be entitled to up to 8 weeks of unpaid time off under Iowa state’s anti-discrimination law (Chapter 216 of the Iowa Code) for pregnancy disability if you qualify for that. However, it is not clear whether your employer must allow you to return to your job after the leave period is over. Am I Eligible for FMLA? FMLA requires employers provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave in the year after the birth or adoption of a child. It is gender neutral but in order to qualify, you must meet certain requirements. We have previously summarized what you need to know about FMLA laws and FMLA forms here . Am I Eligible for Pregnancy Disability Leave Under Iowa State Law? Iowa law prohibits employers with four or more employees from denying a woman’s request for up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave to address a physical disability due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Leave must be granted by an employer regardless of your tenure on the job (i.e. there is not requirement that you have worked a previous amount of time), or hours previously worked. However, your employer must employ at least four or more employees. These rules make it easier to qualify for unpaid leave due to pregnancy and childbirth if you are a new employee or work at a small company that doesn’t fall within the FMLA rules. What Is The Process for Applying for Unpaid Leave Under Iowa State Law? You must request your employer grant you leave and have a medical doctor request such accommodation. Your employer may require that a medical certification be provided to them. If an employer uses any other procedure to screen other employees’ ability to work (e.g. regarding their inability to work due to a a sickness or disability), then an employer may have the same process for those seeking pregnancy disability leave. So I Will Not Receive Any Pay During This Time off? Unfortunately, unless your employer voluntarily covers your salary during your leave or you have privately taken out short-term disability insurance prior to conception, your leave is unpaid. Consider these tips to cope with an unpaid maternity leave . What Other Rights Do I Have Under Iowa’s Pregnancy Discrimination Law? Pregnancy is regarded as a temporary disability under Iowa law and must be treated the same way as other disabilities under any employer’s policies. Reasonable accommodations must be provided to allow pregnant employees to perform their job. Moreover, an employer cannot fire you or refuse to hire you because you are pregnant so long as you are able to perform the major functions of your job. What If I Work for the Government? In Iowa, state workers may take advantage of the same pregnancy disability leave provisions under the anti-discrimination laws such that you may request up to 8 weeks of unpaid pregnancy disability leave. You face the same tenure, employer size and hours requirements but there is no guarantee that you will be able to return to the same job you had prior to taking your leave. Where Can I Find More Information About Pregnancy Disability Leave? The Iowa Department of Human Rights has put together a fact sheet providing further details about pregnancy discrimination and your rights under the Iowa state law as well as FMLA. What Happens To My Benefits While I’m Out On Leave? Under Iowa state law, health insurance provided by an employer must cover expenses for conditions related to pregnancy on the same basis as other medical conditions. When you are actually on leave, you must be treated in the same manner as other temporarily disabled employees when it comes to the accrual and payout of benefits such as healthcare, seniority, pay increases and vacation accrual. What If My Spouse / Partner Works at the Same Employer As Me? The maximum amount of time for both spouses to take on a combined basis is the same as for one individual, so under federal FMLA that would be 12 weeks of unpaid time shared between the couple. Iowa’s pregnancy disability leave only applies to a pregnant worker, so it would not apply to partners or spouses. Technically it does not apply to adoptive parents, nor those having a child through adoption or surrogacy. Can My Employer Make Me Use My Vacation Days and Paid Time Off During My Leave? There is no law requiring or forbidding this but many employers can and do require employees exhaust their paid time off and vacation or sick days before using their unpaid leave allowance. So long as your employer treats your unpaid leave on the same terms as any unpaid leave taken by others with a temporary disability, they are complying with Iowa state law. What If I Qualify for Both FMLA and Leave Under Iowa State Law? Unfortunately, these leave periods run concurrently which means you will receive a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave (not 8 weeks + 12 weeks). What If I Believe My Rights Have Been Violated? You can report any suspected violations to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission . Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Share us with women you respect!

  • Short Term Disability Insurance and Maternity Leave: Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Short-Term Disability? Short term disability (also known as STD) is an insurance term describing any condition that causes you to be unable to work for a short period of time. One of the confusing things is the term itself, which conjures up some sort of accident or workplace incident or injury that prevents an employee from being able to work. However, the reality is that maternity leave and having a baby is one of the most common causes of short-term disability as invoked under short-term disability insurance policies. How Do I Get Short-Term Disability Coverage During my Pregnancy or Maternity Leave? There are four ways to get short-term disability coverage. First, some employers offer short-term disability benefits to all eligible employees which is a taxable benefit to the employee. The employer administers the plan and makes it available to all employees, whether it is needed or not and it is not customizable to individual employees. Second, some employers offer an optional plan available to employees that is administered by a third-party insurance company. In this case, some portion of the benefit payments may be shared by the employer but you must talk to your benefits administrator or HR department to be sure. It’s important to note that these policies must typically be elected before your disability arises (e.g. before you become a pregnant employee) so this does require some planning and foresight. Third, individuals can always take out their own short-term disability policy, just as you might pay for your own healthcare, life insurance or any other kind of insurance policy. There are many commercial vendors for short term disability insurance and each policy is different, so be sure to read the fine print. Typically, the same rule of purchasing into this benefit before you become pregnant applies. Finally, short-term disability law may cover you depending on the state and jurisdiction in which you are an employee. In this case, you may not need to be covered by an employer plan in order to qualify for short term disability pregnancy benefits. In fact, typically, if you have full-time work, you may apply for family and medical leave, family leave, sick leave or a leave of absence and file a disability claim that provides you with STD benefits before you return to work. Typically the same state law that covers illness or injury or sick leave that renders you unable to work is the same law that provides women with some benefits during their pregnancy and maternity leave (though clearly being pregnant and having a baby is not an illness of any kind!) Whichever way you receive short-term disability coverage, it’s important to understand that your company is not the organization that determines whether you are eligible for the benefits — the insurance company is who makes that decision. How Much Does Short-Term Disability Cover? Every plan differs but be aware that many plans core less than your full salary while you are using short-term disability coverage. For example, many short-term disability plans that cover pregnancy and the postpartum period only cover 2/3 of your regular salary and may last only 6-8 weeks (depending on whether you deliver your baby naturally or via Caesarean section), far less than the 3 months you might typically hear is awarded for full parental leave for full-time employees at other companies. Be sure to understand what related health conditions may be covered, if any. For example, pregnancy-induced hypertension or post-partum depression can sometimes be a debilitating medical issue that your employer may need to provide a reasonable accomodation for, even if it is not covered by your insurance policy, per se. Is My Job Protected While I’m Out On Short-Term Disability? Short-term disability payments are a financial payment and are not related to whether an employer is required to keep your job. FMLA is the federal law requiring that employers offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for qualifying employees (typically those who have worked at least for one year at an employer with more than 50 employers within 75 miles of your workplace). Certain states also offer maternity leave and pregnancy benefits and protections for private sector employees that you need to understand may offer you some payment or additional benefits. When Does Your Disability Period Begin? Typically your disability begins on the day you have a baby. However, in some cases, your pregnancy may cause you to be unable to work and in those cases, your disability can begin during before childbirth if your medical provider document this. In either case, many insurance policies require a waiting period (often called an “elimination period”) in which you will not receive any short-term disability benefit payments. This period is usually specified in your short-term disability plan. How Does Short Term Disability Work If I Also Qualify for FMLA? If you qualify for FMLA, most employers will require that you take your FMLA leave concurrently with your short-term disability period. In other words, if you are not working for 6-8 weeks after the birth of your baby and you are covered by short-term disability insurance, you will receive benefits during that time and then another 6-4 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA (depending on whether your short-term disability coverage lasted 6 or 8 weeks). How Does Other Paid Time Off, Vacation Days and Holiday Time Work With Short-Term Disability and FMLA Leave? Some companies allow you to use your sick, vacation days and paid time off towards maternity leave. However, this is up to each employer and some even require that you use all of these days before your short-term disability period or FMLA leave time begins. How Do I Apply for Short Term Disability Benefits and FMLA Leave? Each process requires its own application. You must tell your employer that you are taking FMLA leave and ask for their forms and processes. For short-term disability, you either have to notify your employer if short-term disability is an employer-provided benefit, or your insurance carrier, if you have privately paid for short term disability insurance. Can I Receive Unemployment Compensation If I Receive Unpaid Leave or FMLA? In some cases, you may be able to qualify for your state’s unemployment benefits during the time you are on unpaid leave. Each state has different requirements for qualifying for unemployment benefits but usually if you are suffering a loss in earnings and cannot perform your regular job but are able to perform other types of work (e.g. you are typically working in a physically laborious situation but can still do computer or desk work after the birth of your child), you may be able to qualify for certain state unemployment benefits for a portion of your normal salary. What Happens to My Benefits While I’m Out on FMLA or Disability Leave? If you qualify for FMLA leave, your employer is required to main your group health insurance coverage on the same terms as you had before you took the leave. For example, if you previously paid for a portion of your premium payments, you must continue to pay them during the time you are not working in order to maintain your healthcare benefits. However, there are some benefits which an employer does not need to accrue during your FMLA leave, such as your seniority benefits or other insurance benefits. If you do not qualify for FMLA and are taking leave under your short-term disability policy, your employer may not be required to maintain your benefits during your leave period and this must be something you agree and discuss with your employer. Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

  • Unpaid Maternity Leave? Here's Your 13-Step Plan to Making it Work

    Did you know that the U.S. is one of only two countries in the world (the other being Papua New Guinea) to not mandate some form of paid maternity leave? In fact, most civilian employees (88%) have no access to paid maternity leave or paid paternity leave in America. Though a federal law, the Family Medical Leave Act, guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off, you may not qualify if you work for a small employer or have been at that employer less than one year. Moreover, FMLA constitutes as an unpaid maternity leave . If you’re a pregnant employee and have realized that you’re one of the millions of women without access to pay during your maternity leave months and your employer offers nothing while you’re away from work, you may need to start planning now for your upcoming financial situation. If you’re currently pregnant, this means you have less than a year to start planning on how to maximize your time away from work after having a baby. There are a few things you can do and consider: 1. Know your rights. Find out what your maternity leave right s are by investigating your company’s maternity leave policies and the state laws on parental leave where you work. If you are lucky and work in one of the few states that offer some paid family leave, you may qualify for some funding through the state’s short-term disability leave programs. 2. Short-term disability leave — is it for you? Take out a short-term disability insurance policy if you plan to become pregnant in the near future and are a freelancer or self-employed, or simply are not covered under your employer’s policy. Pregnancy, as well as the postpartum period, is one of the most commonly covered “disabilities” that prevent an employee from working. Just make sure that if you purchase a short-term disability policy that you read the fine print so you are satisfied with the coverage you will receive. At some employers, short-term disability is a benefit offered to some (or all) employees. At some companies you must elect into this optional benefit before you are pregnant (talk about a Catch 22). Once you do so, you will see monthly deductions come from your paycheck, but at least you will know that your pay will be partially covered when you become pregnant. For those employers who do offer short-term disability insurance, there may be a portion of the expense that the employee pays for. Typically, short-term disability leave policies cover six weeks of pay at some percentage (up to 100% depending on your policy) for a normal birth and eight weeks of pay for a Caesarean birth. 3. Start those savings, stat! Start stashing away your savings! Even a small amount per week will make a big difference when you aren’t working toward the end of your pregnancy. If you are not pregnant yet, this is a good time to start thinking about the future. Consider your months’ expenses and household budget, and make a financial plan. Be sure to budget carefully for your full length of maternity leave. If health conditions for you or your baby arise, your leave of absence could be longer than anticipated. 4. Can you change your company’s family leave policy? Try to negotiate for some small amount of paid maternity leave . While this is not something we believe many women do, there is no harm in asking, especially if you can make a case that you can make it worth your employer’s while. Even a few extra paid days or a temporary “sick leave” can make a difference financially. You may even want to consider banding together with other women at your company to advocate for a better maternity leave policy. There’s strength in numbers, and we’ve seen countless instances of women achieving greater equality and benefits in the workplace as a group effort. 5. Save up that PTO. Make sure you have maximized your paid time off or vacation days after having a baby. If there’s any way to do it during your pregnancy, try to postpone the use of your vacation days until you have your baby. That way, you will receive some money during your time off. If there’s any way to save up your unused vacation days from prior years and you had the foresight to plan, this may add to your current year’s allotment of paid days off. 6. Use your network. Ask for help. You can ask close family members and friends to pitch in to cover a few days — or even a few weeks — of leave. Even if your friends and family may not be able to chip in financially, they may be able to chip in their time — perhaps they could take a few vacation or holiday days to help babysit if you have to return to work immediately. Friends and family may also have lightly used or perfectly good baby care supplies ranging from clothing items to bedding and toys. Anything helps. 7. Get creative about making your own maternity allowance. We know this option may not be for everybody, but maybe consider starting a crowdfunding campaign for your maternity leave on Indiegogo or GoFundMe . You could simply start collecting small amounts from second- or third-degree connections (e.g. friends of friends). Broadcasting your story in an honest way can elicit the generosity of strangers. 8. Look into part-time work, if applicable. Take on some temporary part-time work or ask for additional hours at work. Depending on the type of work you do, this may not be possible (e.g. there is only so much physical labor that may be advisable while pregnant). Even if your work is typically behind a desk, it may not be easy to take on additional work while you’re dealing with physical fatigue. However, for some women with easier pregnancies, this may be a possibility if you’re really crunched for cash. For example, you may be able to take on consulting work, or freelance assignments, and find such work through online marketplaces for remote jobs . 9. Investigate your local resources. Contact your local government and non-profit organizations for access to goods and services as diverse as baby supplies (ranging from formula to diapers), counseling, education and community support services for new children, mothers and families. Many of these organizations and maternity protections are state or even county and city-specific. For instance, if you live in Washington State , an employer's lack of paid leave of absence for new parents may be a lesser problem. That’s because, in January 2017, the state passed the most generous paid parental leave and sick leave laws in the country (albeit these won’t go into effect until 2020). Be sure to check out all the resources and legal protections that are speicfic to your particular zip code. While we do not provide a comprehensive list here, organizations like Help a Mother Out (national), Center for Family Services (in New Jersey), The Mommies Network (national), Cradles to Crayons (Boston and Philadelphia), The Homeless Prenantal Program (San Francisco) and Newborns in Need (nationwide) will give you a sense of the wide range of options for those who need help. Babble has compiled a list of the best charities for babies and small children that is quite comprehensive and may be helpful for those beginning their research. 10. Charge it (within reason). You can always make more use of your credit cards . While it’s scary to take on debt, if you feel confident this is a temporary financial issue, that is what credit cards are for and you can be conservative to try to bridge any coverage you may not be able to afford from your savings alone. 11. Can your medical benefits be improved? Look into what it would cost to expand your family medical benefits. Just in case your childbirth medical care costs end up being more than you expect, now is a good time to examine the fine print on your health insurance and see what is covered and isn't. You may find out that increasing your monthly payments slightly now will help you save more on your ultimate hospital bill. 12. Minimize your paycheck deductions. Pregnant employees should look carefully into what deductions are coming out of their paychecks. Are you contributing the maximum to your 401K, for example? While you may not want to touch your longer term retirement funds, you may want to consider reducing those contributions temporarily if you're really trying to maximize your current salary and savings for the short-to-medium term. You can always increase your contributions after you return to work and most of your baby-related expenses are under control. 13. Remember your own strength! Finally, if you do have no choice but to return to work sooner than you want, know that many other mothers have been in your unpaid maternity leave shoes, and that you’re far from alone. You are doing the best that you can in a very emotional and difficult situation. We’re in awe of your strength and wish you all the best! Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. Join us by reviewing your employer!

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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