December 2010 Moms

WWYD re: Maternity Leave

DH and I are pretty certain that I am going to be able to be a SAHM with our LO.  Since we are not 100% sure (we want to make sure all our finances are in order), I'm torn as to what to do about my current employer and maternity leave compensation.  If I tell my employer I am not coming back, do I still get maternity leave?  Or, do I go out on leave, and then tell my employer sometime during the 12 weeks that I'm planning on being out that I'm not coming back?  Or, do I go out for my 12 weeks, come back to work, give a 2 week notice, and then leave?  I'm really perplexed by this and have spent a lot of time thinking about it!  I absolutely love the people that I work with and the last thing I want to do is burn any bridges, especially in the event that one day I decide I want to come back to work.  I also don't want to discuss this with anyone at work yet because I don't want to put myself in a compromising situation.  And...at the same time, I want to make sure I receive compensation for the 6 weeks my company offers for maternity leave.  Just wanted to see if anyone else faced something like this before and how you went about it.  This is my first child so I have no experience with maternity leave.  Thanks in advance!!
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Re: WWYD re: Maternity Leave

  • You're in luck, because I'm an HR manager & knocked up, so I'll tell you how it works from both sides.

    If you tell your company during leave or prior to leave, they will consider it your resignation & term you then, even if you have time remaining on your leave.  Which means you don't get your maternity leave pay or any other benefits (including medical/dental/etc, if you have those with your company).  So if you want to take advantage of all the benefits (including pay), then you wait till your done or damn near done with your leave.  Even if you have approved FMLA (which has a buttload of legislation surrounding it), if the company is aware of your intent to NOT return, they have no obligation to continue FMLA.  Now if you're company is not required to comply with FMLA (& doesn't offer it), they REALLY have no obligation to maintain your position/benefits/etc if they know you're not coming back.

    WHEN you tell your company, as long as you sweetly & professionally explain that this has been a very hard decision, but you have to do what's best for your family and right now that means being a SAHM, the company (as long as they aren't complete a-holes) will understand that.  You tell the company that you hate to leave & really want to keep in touch because you really enjoyed your time with them & wish nothing but good fortune for the company and you've made so many wonderful friendships, but staying at home with baby is now your priority.  You can OFFER to come back & give your "official" two weeks, but chances are the company will decline that offer & term you right away.

    If its a large company, by the time you want to come back to work, $10 says most of the key players will be in different roles anyway.  So even if you somehow DID manage to piss them off when you resigned, they will have moved on to something else and won't have any impact on your return.  If it's a small company, as long as you remain professional (and a smidge remorseful and a lot "please don't hate me forever"), then they should ok if you ever wanted to return.  But really - if they are complete jerks, would you really want to go back to work there in the future anyway?!?!

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  • While Maya's reply probably answered your question, I just have 1 thing to add. Check out your company's policies first. Because I know with my company if you go on leave, get paid for leave, and then do not return, you have to pay back any insurance fees they kept paying for you while you were out. Now the way around this at my job is to just come back, give your 3 (yes, we have to give 3) weeks notice, work your last 3 weeks, and you're done without owing the company anything.

    Not sure if this is something other companies regularly do, but you may want to check it out.

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  • Good point Val!  A lot of companies have specific policies regarding Short Term Disability/FMLA/Leave of Absence......so read your company's policy to find out what they say.
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  • image ValVail67:

    While Maya's reply probably answered your question, I just have 1 thing to add. Check out your company's policies first. Because I know with my company if you go on leave, get paid for leave, and then do not return, you have to pay back any insurance fees they kept paying for you while you were out. Now the way around this at my job is to just come back, give your 3 (yes, we have to give 3) weeks notice, work your last 3 weeks, and you're done without owing the company anything.

    Not sure if this is something other companies regularly do, but you may want to check it out.

    This exactly. I get slammed having to pay back medical premiums paid (and they pay a LOT) if I don't return.

    OP, I'm in the same boat as you, and I think what it's going to come down to is to talk to my supervisor really close to the end of my leave (I'm only taking the 6 or 8 weeks covered under short term disability) explaining the situation and see if he'll work with me on my hours upon my return to give 2 weeks notice (or whatever amount I have to give to avoid having to pay back those medical expenses). I'll have DH and my parents trade off watching the baby during that time since we aren't planning on finding a daycare.  

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  • Thank you for all the input so far!  This is extremely helpful, especially hearing it from a HR perspective!!  I'm planning on taking the full 12 weeks that FMLA allows, however, after a 1 week waiting period, my company will pay out for 5-6 weeks through short term disability.  So...if I do not plan to return, it sounds like it's in my best interest to wait until I'm done being paid by my employer for the short term disability and THEN have the talk with my boss/HR about not returning.  Fortunately, medical benefits will not be an issue because all of those are through my husband's employer. 

    I work for a large company and there are close to 300 people in my office.  But...people tend to stick around for a while for the most part so I'm sure there will be very familiar faces if/when I return.  Definitely don't want to piss anyone off, especially those that I work closely with on a day to day basis.

     I think I'm also going to have the "coming back to work part time" discussion as well.  No one that I know/work with has done this through my company so I don't even know if that's an option.  But...I don't want to bring that up until later either in case they are like "no" and then I'm up sh!ts creek without a paddle!! 

     Fun times!  Thanks again for all the input!  This really helps me out a lot and makes me feel less "sneaky" if I wait to have this conversation with my boss until February.

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  • I would listen to Maya =) 

    I think it would be best to come back to work and give two weeks' notice.  It's the best way to piss your bosses off as little as possible.  They may still not be happy with you, but at least you are giving them notice.  Just make sure to emphasize that you hadn't come to a final decision until the end of your leave.  You def don't want to tell them in advance that you plan on leaving because they'll just terminate you asap.

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  • A friend did exactly what Maya mentioned.  She took her leave and then very nicely told them this was a financial and family decision they just had to make.  She is a happy SAHM now and fortunately did not owe anything back to her company.
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