Working Moms

Asked to work during ML...

Hi Ladies,

My boss (president of our company) "asked" me this afternoon to work part time during my maternity leave. I primairly work remotely, however, there are times I do need to go into the office but its typically less than 10 hours a week.  That being said, I do put in 10-12 hours a day.  A typical day usually involves 3- 6 hours on conference calls with clients, vendors, partners, etc.

We have STD, which, according to the paperwork, I can't work during this at all. STD is standard 60% for 6 weeks or 8 weeks for c-section. I told him of this and he replied 'well, we will just list you as a part time employee' . 

After talking this over with my husband some, I have come up with this "proposal".  I will start working, part time, 2 weeks after delivery and ONLY as I am able to and can't committ to a certain time everyday, it will just be as I am able.  As I am "entitled" to 60% and no work, I will expect my company to pay me 100% of my salary and I will not submit any claim to STD, while committing to work at least 50% every week.  The only cavets would be 1. our baby is home with me, no daycare unless they will pay for a nanny.  2. no travel during this time.

Does this sound unreasonable?  My working environment is pretty laid back, I make my own hours but I do worry that I will get caught up in my day and end up spending more time working when I should be bonding with my LO.

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Re: Asked to work during ML...

  • Personally I think you are making a HUGE MISTAKE!  You are entitled to take the time off with your baby.  You will never ever get that time back.  It's called disability for a reason.  You will have physical recovery, extreme sleep deprivation, and if you are planning to BF baby, there are times you will feel that LO is permanently attached to your boob.  In your "copious amounts of free time" haha you will want to shower, nap, eat a sandwich, and not much else.  If you are anything like me, you will want to get newborn portraits, send out birth announcements, work on the baby book, send thank you cards, etc.  I say put your foot down and say NO.  You should take your PAID STD and then if you would like to consider working PT after that instead of the full 12 weeks FMLA, then go ahead.
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  • Why do you want to work during ML?

    If anything, I wouldn't commit to anything before your LO arrives but agree to discuss it after one month.
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  • JLS0320JLS0320
    2500 Comments Fourth Anniversary
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    no way would I agree to that, I agree w everything said above. That is your time to heal and spend with your baby, your president is out of line for suggesting it.
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  • I have another thing to add.  Are you using health insurance through your work?  If so, you might have issues if you switched to PT Employee status.

    Also I have an issue with this:

    "I will start working, part time, 2 weeks after delivery and ONLY as I am able to and can't committ to a certain time everyday, it will just be as I am able."

    "while committing to work at least 50% every week"

    So you're not committing to a certain time, except that you are committing to basically 4hrs/day.  That is a LOT of time to try to work with a newborn. 

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  • docco11docco11
    100 Comments Second Anniversary 25 Love Its
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    Thanks ladies, that is why I am asking...I am a FTM so I don't know what to expect! 

    To give some background, his daughter just had a baby...she worked her whole entire ML so I am thinking he is "comparing" me to her.  If she can do it...so can she...type of deal. 

    I work for a small company where I am literally the only person who does my job.  Everyone else has their own duties.  That being said, I told my boss at 6 weeks that I was pregnant as I knew that he would need to make preperations.  I just keep taking on more responsibilites vs starting to lighten my workload and shift responsibilites on to others.  I work in financial consulting for large banks and service providers (Visa, Mastercard, Discover)  The others in my company are also specialized and work in marketing, IT, technology, etc. and can't just take over the centralized aspect of my job.

    And for clarification on hours worked, I would commit to working 50% of a week but no specific hours.  So, my hours could be a hour here, an hour there, etc.  As we are a small company, I do not qualify for FMLA.

    I did not committ to anything, I said I would think about it so I am glad to get others perspectives on what I should do!

  • Like PPs I would not commit to working, and I would personally say no way. Also, if you have STD it may be voided if you are working part time. If you are fit enough to work part time then you are not "disabled" in their eyes and they will stop paying. Plus who knows how you will feel 2 weeks PP, you could have a great recovery and a happy easy baby or you could have a colicky baby and not feeling great. Take your 6 or 8 weeks of STD and go back to work after it, don't let your boss convince you otherwise
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  • docco11docco11
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    JF, no we do not take insuance through my company.  I wouldn't agree to changing my employment "status" to part time anyway.  I think he meant more in theory. 
  • It sounds like you want to do this, out of the good of your heart to help your small company.  If anything, I would agree to a max of 10hrs/week, NOT 20hrs, and only after 4 weeks completely off from work. 
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  • I wouldn't agree to work at all during my ML.  I did take a few calls and talk with a couple of partners while on leave (I'm a lawyer), but for weeks, I was trying to adjust to being a mom and recovering from my c-section.  My baby was nursing every two hours, only sleeping if I was holding her, and I was just generally exhausted.  And I wanted to soak up every minute with her, since I knew I wouldn't ever have that time with her again.

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  • docco11docco11
    100 Comments Second Anniversary 25 Love Its
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    Thats the thing...I really don't WANT to.  I work my butt off (as we all do) and am slightly annoyed that I would even be asked this.  But, I do take pride in my work, my clients and partners love me, I don't want to fail them or come back to a mess. 

    I think I will take the advice and not committ to anything until after she is here.  I will tell him that as of right now, I will keep the standard STD and if things are going ok after a few weeks, then I will evauluate the situation.

  • I worked after my first son was born. I would not recommend it. While I did my job fantastically, I was a mess for a long time personally.
    I am not working now, and even thoughLO2 is a much harder baby, I am happier and more relaxed.
    I wouldn't do it.
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  • I wouldn't do it.  Two weeks PP, I was physically recovered but still so completely sleep deprived.  You need time to recover from both L&D and from introducing a newborn into your life.
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  • You can never get those precious few weeks of bonding time back. I personally wouldn't work during ML. If you do decide to try it, I think the terms you are thinking of are more than fair to your employer.
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  • I wouldn't do it and I think that it's a bit out of line for your employer to ask. I was such an exhausted emotional wreck for weeks after giving birth! You are going to need the time to adjust... Don't feel bad for taking your full maternity leave! Your boss has had plenty of time to prepare for your absence. 
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  • I'm a lurker. I'm a nurse manager FT during the day. I also work online as adjunct nursing faculty and do some consulting. After my first baby, I didn't work my FT job but worked the others and regret it. I was surprised, but I found being a FTM was hard. I had the baby blues the whole time and I struggled with breast feeding. I did not work at all after my second child and that was the better decision even though I did not have the baby blues nor did I struggle with breast feeding. When I did work it was about 10 hrs a week and having to do that stressed me out. I did it because I didn't want to let anyone down. If you can avoid it, do so. Having a baby is a big adjustment. I think we do ourselves a disservice by not recognizing that. We don't talk about that adjustment openly enough so the expectation is that it's not a big deal and life goes on. Sometimes you feel lucky to take a shower during those early infant days. Best wishes to you!
  • I couldn't sit down without crying for a month after my son was born and I don't think I was forming understandable sentences with any regularity until the 6 week mark.  There's no way in hell I'd agree to work at all during the first 6 weeks.  If you were planning on taking longer than that, I'd negotiate the part time schedule for after 6 weeks.
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  • I agree that your hormones might make it difficult to work those first weeks, never mind having a newborn.  As a side note, willing to work 50% (5-6 hours!!) for 100% pay when you'd get 60% for not working is not a fair trade!  Your employer would be saving money on that deal, which doesn't seem fair since you'd be making such a big sacrifice.

    It also sounds like your job would be difficult to do with time constraints.  You wouldn't be able to just end a conference call because you've reached you limit of hours and your boss may assign you projects that will take you longer than the agreed amount of time. The only thing I might be willing to do (IF I WANTED to work) is to pick one or two projects that I know I'd be the best person for and offer to continue working on those.  That way I know the general amount of time it should take, but I would not do anything more than 3 hours a day.

    Please to feel obliged to work at all.  It is the company's responsibility to find a temporary replacement, and it doesn't sound like they are making that a priority.

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  • jgoetz1jgoetz1
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments
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    Don't do it.  Having a newborn is the hardest and most exhausting job in the world IMO.  You won't have any free time for awhile.  I am 11 weeks pp and the only time to myself is while LO is nursing.
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  • Don't do it.  I had a quick, easy recovery and was still a mess from utter exhaustion and learning how to care for an infant.  My head was not back into work at the 3 1/2 month mark when I went back.  It took a while. 

    Also, working with an infant at home is impossible.  You would need childcare. 

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  • image Kimbus22:
    I couldn't sit down without crying for a month after my son was born and I don't think I was forming understandable sentences with any regularity until the 6 week mark.nbsp; There's no way in hell I'd agree to work at all during the first 6 weeks.nbsp; If you were planning on taking longer than that, I'd negotiate the part time schedule for after 6 weeks.


    This was pretty much me in terms of pain. I thought maybe I would at least login to my work laptop and check my email occasionally because after a month without connecting to the network my laptop will no longer be able to connect without going through a complicated process. Nope. I didn't even feel like spending ten minutes doing that. Everything changes when LO arrives. I think you have made a good choice to wait until then.
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  • image jf198400:
    It sounds like you want to do this, out of the good of your heart to help your small company.  If anything, I would agree to a max of 10hrs/week, NOT 20hrs, and only after 4 weeks completely off from work. 
    This is the absolute most I would offer.  I'm in the "don't work" camp too, but I do understand that you don't have job protection.

    HOWEVER, your boss needs to use this as an opportunity to get safe guards in  place.  What if you up and quit?  He'd have no one to do your job - right?  That's on him.  He needs to think bigger picture and perhaps start cross training people!  

    But seriously- your original plan?  Absolutely not.  No no no no. 

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  • Absolutely this! I worked part time from home as I was able after 5 weeks last time and it was ok, but I was NOT ready earlier than that. I was exhausted and also had tons of appts and things to do with baby.
    image jf198400:
    Personally I think you are making a HUGE MISTAKE!  You are entitled to take the time off with your baby.  You will never ever get that time back.  It's called disability for a reason.  You will have physical recovery, extreme sleep deprivation, and if you are planning to BF baby, there are times you will feel that LO is permanently attached to your boob.  In your "copious amounts of free time" haha you will want to shower, nap, eat a sandwich, and not much else.  If you are anything like me, you will want to get newborn portraits, send out birth announcements, work on the baby book, send thank you cards, etc.  I say put your foot down and say NO.  You should take your PAID STD and then if you would like to consider working PT after that instead of the full 12 weeks FMLA, then go ahead.
    image

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  • I second what everyone else is saying.

    I had super easy delivery and recoverys with both boys. With my first, I was so overwhelmed with caring for a newborn, I barely had time to pee. With my second son, I have a very very small side business and was doing some work while on leave and I found it very difficult to squeeze it in. We're only talking about 5 hours a week! And I was doing it on my terms since they are my clients. It was hard.

    Don't do it. Get your doctor to back you up. No work for at least 6 weeks PP. Then, maybe after that, see how you feel.

    I know you want to do this out of the goodness of your heart, but you need to put YOU and your LO first. GL to you.

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  • image financialdiva:

    I second what everyone else is saying.

    I had super easy delivery and recoverys with both boys. With my first, I was so overwhelmed with caring for a newborn, I barely had time to pee. With my second son, I have a very very small side business and was doing some work while on leave and I found it very difficult to squeeze it in. We're only talking about 5 hours a week! And I was doing it on my terms since they are my clients. It was hard.

    Don't do it. Get your doctor to back you up. No work for at least 6 weeks PP. Then, maybe after that, see how you feel.

    I know you want to do this out of the goodness of your heart, but you need to put YOU and your LO first. GL to you.

    Agreed, especially with the bolded. This is one of the times when you need to be selfish and put you and your LO first. 

    As cliched as it is, no one every regrets not working their job enough. A lot of people do regret time they missed with their family. 

     I too had an easy recovery and an easy baby, but I'm glad I took the full 8 weeks my company gave me. I definitely couldn't have done any work before 4 weeks. Newborns are exhausting!

  • image docco11:

    Thats the thing...I really don't WANT to.  I work my butt off (as we all do) and am slightly annoyed that I would even be asked this.  But, I do take pride in my work, my clients and partners love me, I don't want to fail them or come back to a mess. 

    I think I will take the advice and not committ to anything until after she is here.  I will tell him that as of right now, I will keep the standard STD and if things are going ok after a few weeks, then I will evauluate the situation.

    I am/was the same as you.  I knew I would be returning to work after DS so I "worked" through my ML to make sure I didn't come back to a mess.  And it was easier to take the calls/respond to emails as they came up then to reply when I returned to work 3 months later.

    That being said, DS was/is a pretty easy baby and I had some down time that I was able to take care of work situations.  Granted it wasn't always at the same time of day (may have been the middle of the night) but I was able to work.  

    Everyone told me not to work as well, but no one was really taking over my job while I was out on ML and I knew it would be a disaster.  I felt that it was manageable BUT my boss did not ask me to, I did it on my own.

    Hope that helps!

     

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  • I wouldn't do it. Those 6 weeks of STD are going to fly by, and I think you owe it to yourself and your LO to take that time for the two of you.

    How long are you taking off total? 

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  • That sucks that you don't qualify for FMLA, I was going to suggest saying you won't work 6 weeks, but would consider working PT during the rest of your FMLA, but obviously that won't work. Not qualifying for FMLA changes things (I hate this about our system).

    Do you plan on BFing? I feel that this makes a huge difference in whether or not you will have any time or not. If you plan on going straight to formula then you can have breaks and probably some time. If you plan on EBFing you will have little to no time depending on your baby. My first unexpectedly came early, no NICU, but jaundice and huge eating issues. We had to feed her every 2 hours and it was an ordeal that took almost an hour where I would nurse then we would supplement, change her get her back down and then we had an hour before we got to do it all again. After 2 weeks we got to go to every 3 hours. She slept her first 4 hour stretch at 8 weeks. Not the worst situation, she could have had colic, but still definitely no time for work.

    My second was easier, he was on time and ate every 2-3 hours but he only took 20 min so I did have some time. Honestly I see the mistakes that I made when I first went back from maternity leave and I was getting way more sleep than the first few months, I can't imagine being productive at first, and I didn't even have a c-section. I would try and preserve your leave if possible.

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  • fryratfryrat
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
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    If you are getting payment from short term disability, you need to work 0 hours. Not at all. Zip, Zilch, Zero!! If you work at all, you can be hit with massive fines for disability fraud. I understand you wanting to help the company, but you ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT work while collecting disability payments.
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  • How unfair of your boss to ask this of you. It sounds like you've got a plan in place based on answers here, but just wanted to add in my vote that working during maternity leave is a bad idea.

    I get it, I would feel like caving in to the pressure if my boss did this too. It's hard enough to feel like you're leaving people in the lurch by going on maternity leave at all, but turning down a request to work during leave is even harder!

    It's possible that after a few weeks, you'll want to do some part time work. But definitely not something you should feel compelled to guarantee to him before you even have the baby.

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  • carig63carig63
    Second Anniversary
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    I think you need to flat out say no. You will regret not taking this time to enjoy your baby (and recover from delivery) if you go back to work. Like you said, you gave your boss plenty of heads up that you were expecting. If he didn't find someone to take care of your responsibilities, that's his problem. It's also not your problem if he's "comparing" you to his wife.

    If your STD administrator finds our you were working during your "disability" leave they may stop your claim and/or demand to be paid back. You are entitled to this benefit, and it was really crappy of your boss to put you in this position. If you're fired for saying no, you have legal recourse (I think). Say no. Take your STD time 100% off, then you can decide what you want to do for any remaining FMLA time you choose to take. But DO NOT commit to doing anything besides recovering and spending time with your new baby.

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