October 2014 Moms
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Maternity Leave

Hi ladies,

I'm a FTM here and really don't know what to expect in my pregnancy, labor, and new baby at home. I recently got a new job (right around when I found out I was pregnant). Unfortunately, they are a really small company (10 employees) and not covered by FMLA, nor do they hold STD (bummer!). My company pays for two weeks of leave and I can use all my sick and vacation time (which will only be another two weeks). Any additional time is unpaid.

The idea of maternity leave and trying to plan ahead is a bit overwhelming when I think about it. I think it's the decision about how much time to take that makes me the most nervous because I just don't know what to expect. I know my husband and I have a good amount in savings and will be totally fine for me to take some unpaid leave, but the situation is just not ideal. Being due in late October, I would love to stay home until after the new year (frankly I would love to stay home until after my birthday in early January, but I think that's pushing it). I don't want to be selfish though when I know we'd be down a large chunk of our income during that time (I make more money than my husband, but we don't make too much to begin with); and not to mention my company being down an employee.

Does this issue overwhelm anyone else? What do you ladies plan to do for your leave?
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Re: Maternity Leave

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    Just had this conversation with my boss yesterday. I suggested approximately 10 weeks (until January 2) and he made a counter suggestion of 6 weeks full time off the clock with the last few weeks (until January 2) working from home. Seems like a reasonable deal to me! He's checking with the office manager and his boss (his dad) but that's likely what we're going to do. 

    You need to evaluate what is best for you and your husband financially. A lot of my friends went back to work after 6 weeks. It was hard for them, but it's what they had to do. Also, most day cares will only accept infants after 6 weeks. 
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    BeanNutBeanNut member
    My first 2 pregnancies, I was in a similar situation to you OP where my leave was unpaid after I used my PTO.  We really needed the money so I only took 6 weeks the first time (the minimum most doctors will want you to take).  That wasn't quite long enough so the second time we stretched some more and I took 8 weeks.  8 weeks was much better and I think a good compromise between trying to save money and get a little more time with baby.


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    I'm in the military so I get 6 weeks, non-negotiable. I obviously have no idea how that is going to work out, but I have a few girl friends also in the military who have done it and survived. So it must be possible!! But OP I definitely sympathize with the stress. I think about it all the time, and worry about things like pumping/breastfeeding when I go back to work, not getting any sleep, etc. 

    That was no help :0( expect that misery loves company and I'm right there with ya. 
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    I'm lucky to have someone who, I think, will work with me. I've gently told him what I THINK I'd like to do. He's from the UK, so he's used to women either quitting totally or taking 6 months off, so my 3 months isn't too bad for him.

    I plan on taking PTO starting in October. Hopefully I make it until my due date (13th). Then, it'll start STD for 6-8 weeks (paid at 65%), depending on the delivery. Then, after that, I'm covered by FMLA. I think boss will let me stretch it, using just "personal leave" for an extra week, and I'll be back in January.

    My reason for him was--I don't know if daycare will start taking this kid in late December with the holidays, so January 5th makes sense for me. He seems ok with it. I'm going to revisit with him in September once I get to the weekly checks and seeing how big the baby is as a best guess scenario.

    The thing is, I'm a planner, but you kinda can't plan on specific dates, because this kid could come in the middle of September. No one knows. Just know what you get, keep an open dialog going with your boss, but kinda put it aside until September or so when you have more information.

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    I feel very lucky to work in a place that allows so much time off. I will be taking 6 months. The first 12 weeks are FMLA and only 6-8 of them will be paid by LTD at 66% of my pay. Then the remainder will be unpaid. DH and I have been stashing away loads and loads to be able to live without my paychecks for that length of time. And at this rate we will be just fine. I'm so glad I get all that time off with LO to really bond before sending them yo daycare. Again, I feel extremely lucky.






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    Pregnancy qualifies as STD? @SPurp13‌
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    fisk2005 said:

    Pregnancy qualifies as STD? @SPurp13‌

    Complications that require you to leave work before birth qualify. Also the birth qualifies. My LTD is the same concept. I get 6 weeks for normal birth, 8 weeks for c - section.






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    A friend of mine from Canada said they get 1 year paid leave for a baby.  I am so jealous! :)  I plan to take the 12 weeks off and hope to use my sick time, STD, and then a few weeks unpaid.

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    MrsL2BMrsL2B member
    My STD covers "complications of pregnancy." I need to call that insurance company to find out what that includes.
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    edited May 2014
    My EDD is 10/23, which is about a month before my 1 year anniversary so I will not be covered by FMLA.  

    I work for a rather large, family friendly company, and my immediate supervisor told me when I was first hired that he hopes I opt to have children.  As a high risk pregnancy I'm expecting to work from home starting early - mid October and possibly officially start leave at that time.  I will get 90% of my salary up to a max threshold from STD and plan to take 12 - 16 weeks even if part of it is unpaid, but that's mainly because it will not impact us.  I will probably return and work 2 days from home, but that will depend on the business need come the new year. 
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    Nicb13 said:
    fisk2005 said:
    Pregnancy qualifies as STD? @SPurp13‌
    Yep. BUT, correct me if I'm wrong someone, but you have to apply way before you are actually pregnant right?
    We didn't. It just comes as part of our employment package, so I guess it's just employer-by-employer.

    Our STD covers 6 weeks for natural birth, 8 weeks for c-section (but really only 5/7, because the first week is a "holding" week where you don't get paid, and you are forced to use PTO if you have it in the bank). I don't know what will happen if I have to take time off BEFORE the baby, like, if my doctor says I go on bed rest. That might be the "complications of pregnancy" people are talking about, and I don't know if that means I get 2 weeks before baby and then the 6/8 after or what. I was sort of waiting to ask those questions, because it doesn't truly matter right now. I'll find out, but if it happens, it happens, and I'll be off paid or unpaid.
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    Thanks for all the advice, information, and just sharing in the pain of it all. As someone who likes to plan, it's hard to just have to kind of wait and see how the timing works out.
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    Nicb13 said:


    fisk2005 said:

    Pregnancy qualifies as STD? @SPurp13‌

    Yep. BUT, correct me if I'm wrong someone, but you have to apply way before you are actually pregnant right?


    I'm not sure exactly how it works. I know with my LTD I've been paying ass loads from each paycheck since I started here. It comes out like an insurance payment. But I have to file a claim with the 3rd party company the LTD is through shortly after birth to get the payments started.






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    Same situation here, I only have 2 weeks vacation to use towards my maternity leave. I will have 4 weeks unpaid. I've just been setting aside money every month to put in savings to pay for this. It kind of is what it is. I've worked at the same place for several years, so had to deal with the loss of pay when my daughter was born as well. It is rough, but you always get through it!

     

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    lrobi13lrobi13 member

    I am hoping to take 12 weeks. My office does qualify for FMLA.   I have been hoarding all my pto (120 hours) (we only accrue annually) and I have some time in reserve (rumor has it that I can use that week for maternity leave.)  So I may go a month without pay.  But December is our busiest month at work and I can't imagine having to dive back in to that kind of pace.  Plus I am still on the waitlist for childcare which at the moment they won't have a spot until March (eek).

    When I do go back to work I am using the childcare facility across the street so that I can nurse and visit at lunch time as much as possible.

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    I am in the military as well and will get the 6 weeks off that my Dr will prescribe however my Commander is fine with me taking off additional leave and only asks me to come into work occasionally to help with end of year, start of year stuff.  So I guess I just have a really cool commander.  He said he doesn't expect me back full time until January.
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    femailfemail member
    My work allows me to take 12 weeks of FMLA. First 6 are paid (8 if I have a c-section) and the rest will have to use the time off I have left and be unpaid. In the end, with the time I have set aside for the end of this year, I'll go unpaid 1.5 weeks total; which isn't bad. If I have baby on or after the due date, that puts me to return to work just after Christmas!

    Now I just have to tell my boss...
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    JessAnnJJessAnnJ member
    edited May 2014

    Just had this conversation with my boss yesterday. I suggested approximately 10 weeks (until January 2) and he made a counter suggestion of 6 weeks full time off the clock with the last few weeks (until January 2) working from home. Seems like a reasonable deal to me! He's checking with the office manager and his boss (his dad) but that's likely what we're going to do. 


    You need to evaluate what is best for you and your husband financially. A lot of my friends went back to work after 6 weeks. It was hard for them, but it's what they had to do. Also, most day cares will only accept infants after 6 weeks. 
    I agree with PPs that working from home will likely be pretty impossible depending on your baby. Also six weeks is pushing it pretty close in terms of fully recovering. My situation is not totally normal, but I had a vaginal birth and I was in a lot of pain for at least 4 weeks. If you have to go back that's one thing but I don't think I would voluntarily agree to that.

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    I am planning on a minimum of 12 weeks.  I will get 6-8 weeks on STD (60% paid, but I can supplement with any available PTO).  The week variance depends on how I deliver - longer for a C-section.  Then our company offers 4-8 weeks paid 100% depending on how long you've been with the company.  I just started in January, so I will only get 4 weeks, but it's nice.  I have to pay it back if I leave before a year after I come back.  Then I am planning to take 2 weeks unpaid and we have been saving up for that. 
    This is similar to my employer's policy, but they allow you to use PTO after STD and parental is up.  

    I plan to take the maximum 24 weeks paid leave my employer allows.  I'll use 6-8 weeks STD at 100%, then take 8 weeks parental leave, and have been saving use PTO for any remaining time up to the max 24 weeks.  Luckily there are quite a few paid holidays during my leave so I may end up with a day or two of PTO left over.

    I realize I'm lucky to work for a company that lets me take this much time.  The parental leave policies in this country make me sick.
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    I can take up to 6 months but we don't have short term disability or get paid maternity leave so we only get paid based on the sick leave and annual leave we have saved. Last time I had about 12 weeks of leave saved. I planned on taking 12 but that didn't feel like enough so I took 16 with the last month unpaid. I will also take 16 this time and about 9 weeks will be unpaid.

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    @fisk2005 Pregnancy complications (ie, being ordered off work by your Dr) and recovery from childbirth can qualify for STD, depending on your situation.  However, talk with your HR/benefits department for details and restrictions.  For example, if you haven't been with the company for long enough (many companies have a waiting period before you qualify to be covered by STD/LTD) or if you changed jobs while pregnant (as STD count your first day of pregnancy as the start of the possible disability period and almost all STD policies have pre-exisiting conditions in them - so they won't cover someone who tries to sign up while pregnant).  Also, make sure that you have already enrolled (if applicable) in the STD coverage as it is too late to enroll and be covered for this pregnancy.

    Many people think that STD policies are covered by the same laws/rules that govern Medical insurance and that is incorrect.  Thus, all of the restrictions about pre-existing conditions are still applicable and legal.

    Lastly, a very few states cover pregnancy and recovery from childbirth under a state run plan.  I know California and New Jersey both do.  I can't recall if any other states do or not - this is pretty rare.  

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    At my last job, they were awful horrid people. They forced me to come back at 5 weeks pp because we were a small company and had no fmla. It was way too soon and contributed to my ppd. I would say six weeks off minimum. Maybe see if you can go back part time for a few weeks then back to full time.
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    I take it for what it is. I have 7 1/2 weeks of paid vacation and sick leave. That'll put me at the week of Christmas. I can't take any unpaid leave, I make OVER double what DH makes. We can't afford for me to take extra time off... But I don't like sulking over crap I have/had no control of. I have a "well that sucks, oh well let's move on" attitude about everything lol.
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    I'm planning on taking 12 weeks off. Short term disability for 4 or 6 weeks at 60% pay- then using up whatever vacation and sick time I can save up. Then the rest will go unpaid. I don't even care though- I am not going back before New Years.
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    I only took 5 weeks with my first child and they were unpaid because I was a nanny so we just saved some of our tax return to make up for my lost income. Now I care for two children in my home (3 if you include my daughter) and money is tight so I will only be taking a week or two but I have always been able to be with my babies so that makes all the difference. I am very lucky to not have to leave them:)
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    I have no idea what the maternity leave policy is for my current position... Last time I was on a fellowship, which was great because it offered 8 weeks of paid leave, and then I was able to take an additional 4 unpaid under FMLA.  Now I am paid differently (though in the same job). I have been paying into STD for over a year, so I think that applies - so I'm pretty sure it will be 6-8 weeks at 50% pay from STD, and that's it in terms of paid leave.  I'm taking 3 months anyway. 

    To be honest, though, I might be declaring myself done with my position before maternity leave, and I might just quit.  In which case I will take nothing, because I don't feel it is right for women to take paid leave if they don't intend to go back to work.  I am just over working here and not sure I want to deal with it again after the baby.  In that case, I will start job searching when new baby is ~1 month old, and hope to be out for no more than 6 months.
    ITA agree with this with one exception...if you have paid for your own STD through the employer - use it!  But I understand most STD is employer paid so it isn't an issue.
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    I think this varies state to state, and definitely company to company, but it wasn’t something I knew before I had DD. My company provides employees with STD. A vaginal birth is disabling for 6 weeks, according to the insurance company, I guess. Anyways, my company doesn’t start paying STD until 30 days from the date of the disability (in this case date of birth). And since I was only eligible for 6 weeks of STD, that meant that I got 65% of my pay for only 2 weeks. I had a week of PTO, but the other 9 weeks I took were unpaid. It hurt, especially since I didn’t fully understand how the STD worked. Since then, my company started offering a buy-up STD option, which I opted into. Now I should get 5 weeks of STD rather than 2.

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    I worked retail in a mall when DS was born.  There was no FMLA because the store was new and it didn't meet the employee requirements.  They said they would take me back when I was ready to return and I wouldn't have to reapply, but essentially, I lost my job when I went on bed rest.  I began browsing for work online after we came home from the hospital, and I happened to find my dream job, so I applied.  I started my new job at only 4 weeks pp, but it worked for me because it was part time and we had family in the area to watch DS.

    I am in a similar situation as you this time, where it is a small company and FMLA doesn't apply.  I was told that they are required to allow me to have 6 weeks off.  4 of those weeks will be paid using my paid sick days and my vacation time.  The other 2 weeks, I haven't heard about.  Because I am salaried, I don't know if the time I miss will be pro-rated or if they will put me on hourly while I'm here (my direct supervisor thinks they may just pay me for the full month any way).  After my 6 weeks are up, I plan to return part time until the end of the year, then start full time up in January.
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    @navyflyer idk about Navy but I had an AF friend who was able to take an additional 2 weeks after her convalescent leave ended.
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    I'm a teacher so for maternity leave I've had to save up my sick days for the past 5 years. If you are short days sometimes other teachers can donate days to help you out when you are on maternity leave, but I've never wanted to ask for someone to donate a day to me. (When you retire you can get paid for any unused days an extra $200 per sick day...I feel like it is a bit selfish to ask someone to give me their "money.")

    I will have almost 50 days by the time LO comes along, but I only want to use 40 (8 weeks) so that I have the 10 left in case she gets sick and needs me at home, to go to the doctor, etc.

    My mom, who is also a teacher, is going to take a week off when I start back to work and then my husband will also take a week off. Then I'll be home for the 2 weeks of winter vacation. Therefore, she won't have to start daycare until January at around 12 weeks.



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    I am a teacher.  We get 8 weeks paid but I have to use sick days (with school vacay days i end up using 32 days) and then after the 8 weeks I apply for FMLA and can get an addition 4 weeks (unpaid) to make the total 12 weeks that FMLA allows.  I also have short term disability from AFLAC which will pay me for 6 weeks so that will cover the unpaid time off. 
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    I'm taking 12 weeks -- I'll get 6-8 weeks depending on vaginal vs c-section at 66.6% full-pay. I then have to use PTO down to 40 hours, and the rest will be unpaid. My biggest fear is not really disconnecting from work -- a friend of mine who does contract work will be stepping into my role so that's helping ease some of my anxiety. I just need to know that my job is going to move forward in my absence and that my staff will be okay. I have a feeling I'll be "visiting" (i.e. working while they oogle over the baby)...a lot. I just hope it all works out (and that my job approves me going down to 4 days/week...).
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    Trying to aim for 12 weeks here- I have disability days I have been accruing for years now so it'll be like 22 days of PTO like time I can use (4 weeks). Then after that I'll use 6 weeks STD @70% and the last weeks at 0 pay. I may need extra time bc of day care only has an opening first week in March. Baby is due end of oct...so... :/ eek

    @Littledeer84‌ can you help clarify the waiting but only getting 2 weeks? Wa that bc by the time it kicked in you only had two weeks left of your Fmla? Just curious bc I have a contract w a school so when my son was born in June I never had to take std bc I had the summer off.
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    STD for a birth starts from the date of birth. But my company only starts paying STD 30 days (about 4 weeks) after you go on disability. So since I was only eligble for disability for 2 weeks after their waiting period, I only got 2 weeks @ 60 or 65% of my pay.
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    I don't know if you can just stipulate when your disability starts...I think it starts when you give birth, no matter what.
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    Thanks @Littledeer84‌! Makes sense.
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    I have no idea what the maternity leave policy is for my current position... Last time I was on a fellowship, which was great because it offered 8 weeks of paid leave, and then I was able to take an additional 4 unpaid under FMLA.  Now I am paid differently (though in the same job). I have been paying into STD for over a year, so I think that applies - so I'm pretty sure it will be 6-8 weeks at 50% pay from STD, and that's it in terms of paid leave.  I'm taking 3 months anyway. 

    To be honest, though, I might be declaring myself done with my position before maternity leave, and I might just quit.  In which case I will take nothing, because I don't feel it is right for women to take paid leave if they don't intend to go back to work.  I am just over working here and not sure I want to deal with it again after the baby.  In that case, I will start job searching when new baby is ~1 month old, and hope to be out for no more than 6 months.

    ITA agree with this with one exception...if you have paid for your own STD through the employer - use it!  But I understand most STD is employer paid so it isn't an issue.


    Wow I strongly agree with this. I have worked incredibly hard at my job and I feel like taking the maternity leave I have earned by being an employee for a year (or 5 in my case) and working the ridiculous overtime I do entitles me to maternity leave, even if at the end I choose not to come back (btw I am returning to work)

    Anyway...I am very fortunate to be able to six months off work. Fourteen weeks will be paid at 100% of my salary (2 weeks pre-partum and 12 weeks post-partum). I am adding another two weeks of vacation on top of that. Then, I can take another 10 weeks after, unpaid.

    This month, we started putting our estimated additional "baby costs" in savings, which is about $900 a month. That would cover daycare, diapers, and other miscellaneous items. By the time I stop receiving money from my paid maternity leave, I will end up with about 9 weeks of my normal pay saved up. Plus it is helping us adjust to the lower disposable income.

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    I looked at STD policies because I was considering purchasing one and the ones I looked at required you to use your accrued leave before it kicked in so for me it wasn't really worth it for covering pregnancy because I would generally have enough leave to cover the period when I was incapacitated. It sounds like a lot of people on here have pretty good policies.

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    SaraML13 said:



    I don't know if you can just stipulate when your disability starts...I think it starts when you give birth, no matter what.

    Disability starts when you give birth or when your doctor says (certifies?) that you are disabled.  So if you have to go on bedrest prior to giving birth or your doctor says for some other reason that you can't work, your disability would start then.  Even if disability starts before the birth, you still get 6 or 8 weeks from birth (depending on delivery) when you are considered disabled.  However, it's still only 12 weeks of FMLA if you stop working before the birth.
    Thanks! That makes sense, I forgot about those who have bedrest before giving birth. What I didn't know as a FTM was that even though I had STD through my company, that they only paid std for 2 of the 6 weeks I was "disabled." But it was in our policy manual. So the rest of my fmla was unpaid, minus a little pto.

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    SaraML13 said:



    I don't know if you can just stipulate when your disability starts...I think it starts when you give birth, no matter what.

    Disability starts when you give birth or when your doctor says (certifies?) that you are disabled.  So if you have to go on bedrest prior to giving birth or your doctor says for some other reason that you can't work, your disability would start then.  Even if disability starts before the birth, you still get 6 or 8 weeks from birth (depending on delivery) when you are considered disabled.  However, it's still only 12 weeks of FMLA if you stop working before the birth.

    That's exactly what the rep told me when I purchased disability. She told me to file the paperwork the day we have the baby though so they could start processing the claim. Obviously we would do that sooner I'd I was put on bed rest.

    We are planning on using the disability money to offset the cost of the hospital bill, Anastasiologist (sp? I'm on mobile), etc.



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