February 2016 Moms
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Ideal maternity leave?

I know there were a few posts about maternity leave that people plan on taking (I promise I searched the topic and read all those responses, I have been a lurker/learner here for a few weeks), but I have a slight variation on the question. My company is very small (30 people and only 3 years old), and does not have a maternity leave policy. We are a mostly woman company and they are now developing a policy, since I am the first one to be pregnant (and they asked for my input, so I am trying to gather some knowledge from other moms!)

I wanted to get some opinions from some working moms (or moms who had a baby and didn't go back to work, or anyone on this board who is willing to give an opinion!) So a few questions:
-what did your company offer?
-what did you actually take?
-in an ideal world, what would have you wanted/asked for? (This is the most important one for me)
Thank you so much!!!

Re: Ideal maternity leave?

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    They offered nothing!

    I took off about 18 months (still contracted part time here and there but not much). It was amazing and I loved every minute. I was able to breastfeed for most that time and took the sleep deprivation like a champ since I got day time naps.

    If someone asked me, which my company won't and they don't offer anything, I'd want at least 3 months with partial pay and an optional additional 3 months with no pay or the option to work part time from home.

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    My company offers 6 weeks paid for vaginal delivery and 8 for c section that is paid, the rest is unpaid and they will hold a job for you for up to a year.....I work for a huge company and that maternity leave is crap in my opinion. And I know, I know some people don't get anything but I chose to work for a bigger company to get better benefits. My hope is that with companies like Netflix and Microsoft increasing their leave policies that mine will follow suit.

    In an ideal world I would love 6 months paid. I'm from Australia originally and everyone gets a year paid!
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    I work for the state (of Texas) and technically there is no maternity leave policy. The place I work for is large enough to qualify for FMLA, so I will use my FMLA to keep my job being off for three months, I'll use my sick time I've saved up for the time my doctors signs me off as "unable to return to work," and I'll use my PTO I've saved up for the rest of the time. (which, in essence, is the rules that I understand. You use your sick time either until you're cleared to return to work or until it is exhausted. Then you must use your PTO. Otherwise, if you get insurance from your job, you have to pay them to keep your insurance).

    In an ideal world...I'd become a stay at home and work PRN maybe. Three months was a good timeline. I could argue more easily, but transitioning at that point for me wasn't awful.
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    My company just offers the required 12 week FMLA but not paid. Any pay I receive will be PTO or short term disability and I will have to pay my benefits out of that. So, with what o have, I will have about 2 weeks of no pay if I take the 12 weeks. Ideally, I think it would be nice if the company paid for 6 week leave, but offered you to take off longer if you want. I think a year would be nice like some countries allow, but if I took a year off with no pay (which we can't afford), I probably wouldn't want to go back.
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    In an absolutely ideal world?  6 months off, fully paid!  In a more realistic, but still great world, 3 months fully paid, 3 months unpaid or partially paid.  

    For me, I work freelance, so I have no maternity leave.  The downside is, obviously, I don't get paid when I don't work, but the upside is that, since I'm well established in my industry and don't have to worry about finding work, I can choose pretty much exactly how long I want to take off.  My plan is 6 months, which is probably all we can afford.  We are lucky to live in CA, where they have Paid Family Leave for a few weeks and temporary disability for a few weeks, both of which add up to 12 weeks.  With that money and my husband's salary we can stretch everything out to six months without going too much into our savings, but after that I'll have to go back to work unless there are major, unforeseen complications that would require me to extend.

    Great topic and how cool that your company is wanting your input!


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    In an absolutely ideal world?  6 months off, fully paid!  In a more realistic, but still great world, 3 months fully paid, 3 months unpaid or partially paid.  


    For me, I work freelance, so I have no maternity leave.  The downside is, obviously, I don't get paid when I don't work, but the upside is that, since I'm well established in my industry and don't have to worry about finding work, I can choose pretty much exactly how long I want to take off.  My plan is 6 months, which is probably all we can afford.  We are lucky to live in CA, where they have Paid Family Leave for a few weeks and temporary disability for a few weeks, both of which add up to 12 weeks.  With that money and my husband's salary we can stretch everything out to six months without going too much into our savings, but after that I'll have to go back to work unless there are major, unforeseen complications that would require me to extend.

    Great topic and how cool that your company is wanting your input!



    Looks like I should move to California. That is great the state offers that.

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    I'm From Canada, we get 18 weeks maternal leave paid at 70% and 5 weeks paternal at same... Then we have parental leave which we can split which is 70% until you hit 6 months I think and then 55% for the remainder of the time, so that everything together is 1 year off... I'm pretty happy I live here;)
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    I work for a large company. They follow FMLA as far as letting me have my job after 12 weeks, and I can use short-term disability to get 60% of my pay for 8 weeks. Plus, I have to pay my portion of insurance premiums during that time. So It pretty much averages out to roughly 30% pay for the entire leave.

    Should I have to go on bed rest or anything where I couldn't work, I'd use up my disability weeks then for a longer time of unpaid leave (assuming I still wanted 12 weeks with baby). I think my company should do better.
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    My firm is too small and doesn't have to follow FMLA. But last time, my boss offered 8 weeks off paid and then I used 4 weeks of vacation time. This time, he also offered 8 weeks paid, I may or maynot use vacation time to supplement.
    Obviously, I would love 6 months off like some places.
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    All we get is fmla unpaid for 12 weeks :( I think whatever the company is able to offer for paid is great, I think a month or two minimum, although I think they should have a paternity plan as well! My husband gets 2 weeks paid from his company which is really nice. :)
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    My company had a policy of 6weeks paid at 60%. I took the full FMLA 12 weeks and just didn't get paid the last 6. (Worth it!) in an ideal world we'd have been paid at least 60% for the whole 12 weeks. I went back to work for 3 months after before DH got a promotion and we decided it could work for me to be a SAHM.
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    Thank you all so much! Those responses are so helpful (and makes me a little sad how so many people get such a little amount of time/no time off from their company policy :(
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    The company I used to work for just did the minimum FMLS requirements. 12 weeks, unpaid. I used my disability insurance and all of my sick and vacation hours. Disability only covered 6weeks because I had a vaginal birth. It took me 3 months to recover from the birth (I had a 2nd degree tear). In an ideal world, they would give you either 1 yr paid time off or they would have onsite daycare. Pumping is really hard and wastes a lot of time and energy. It would be a lot easier to just go breastfeed your kid at an onsite daycare. I am a stay at home mom now, BTW.
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    dem068a said:



    -what did your company offer? 6 wks short term disability at 60% pay, regardless of vaginal or csection

    -what did you actually take? I saved up a lot of leave, so I was able to take 11 weeks, including a few weeks when I worked from home 10 hrs/wk to supplement the leave I was taking

    -in an ideal world, what would have you wanted/asked for? (This is the most important one for me)
    I felt like 11 weeks wasn't quite enough. For the first month back at the office, I walked around like a zombie and was so much less productive than usual. I think 12 weeks is the most reasonable for both employer and employee. In a perfect world, 4-6 months would best in order to get breastfeeding fully established, in order for mama to find her rhythm again and maybe start getting a little bit of sleep at night.

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    My firm allows 30 days (6 weeks) with full pay, then I can use up to another 30 days of any leave/sick time that I have saved up. I can take up to 80 days total, so if I had 30 days of saved leave time (which I probably won't), I would end up witih 12 weeks paid and 2 weeks unpaid. I'll probably end up closer to 9 paid and 7 unpaid, but only plan on taking a total of 12 weeks. We also have a very generous leave policy in general (I accrue 22 hours a month and get about 6 weeks total a year), and it's very easy to work from home. They will also allow me to come back at 75% time for a while when I return from maternity leave. My boss has told me that the only caveat is that I have to bring the baby in for show and tell.
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    dem068a said:
    I know there were a few posts about maternity leave that people plan on taking (I promise I searched the topic and read all those responses, I have been a lurker/learner here for a few weeks), but I have a slight variation on the question. My company is very small (30 people and only 3 years old), and does not have a maternity leave policy. We are a mostly woman company and they are now developing a policy, since I am the first one to be pregnant (and they asked for my input, so I am trying to gather some knowledge from other moms!) I wanted to get some opinions from some working moms (or moms who had a baby and didn't go back to work, or anyone on this board who is willing to give an opinion!) So a few questions: -what did your company offer? -what did you actually take? -in an ideal world, what would have you wanted/asked for? (This is the most important one for me) Thank you so much!!!
    My company does not qualify for FMLA either - we have 48 employess (on purpose, mind you for insurance purposes that makes me rather angry but what can I do?) I am the youngest person at the company so there are no other women having babies or with small children so I somewhat understand their stance. I will be taking at least 6 weeks off - I was told we will need to create a contract listing everything they will offer. I hope to work from home after 6 weeks for an additional 6 weeks though, or at least PT from home while still working FT in general. 

    This all depends on whether or not the woman I am replacing will be retiring though - if she does not, the above mentioned plan is my goal, if she does in fact retire, I will be coming back to work FT around 8 weeks I hope because I will be making almost double what I make and the position requires me to be in the office full time. It's all very confusing, I also found out since we do not qualify for FMLA and live in the state of Iowa they do not need to provide me a space to pump - I guess I will be pumping in my car again, which is ridiculous but I did it at my last job as well and they HAD FMLA. I will be using my sick/vacation time to keep me getting paid but I only ended up having about 2 full weeks saved up last time and will probably be the same this time around. I really hate not knowing what to expect. 
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    ashcody2 said:


    dem068a said:

    I know there were a few posts about maternity leave that people plan on taking (I promise I searched the topic and read all those responses, I have been a lurker/learner here for a few weeks), but I have a slight variation on the question. My company is very small (30 people and only 3 years old), and does not have a maternity leave policy. We are a mostly woman company and they are now developing a policy, since I am the first one to be pregnant (and they asked for my input, so I am trying to gather some knowledge from other moms!)

    I wanted to get some opinions from some working moms (or moms who had a baby and didn't go back to work, or anyone on this board who is willing to give an opinion!) So a few questions:
    -what did your company offer?
    -what did you actually take?
    -in an ideal world, what would have you wanted/asked for? (This is the most important one for me)
    Thank you so much!!!

    My company does not qualify for FMLA either - we have 48 employess (on purpose, mind you for insurance purposes that makes me rather angry but what can I do?) I am the youngest person at the company so there are no other women having babies or with small children so I somewhat understand their stance. I will be taking at least 6 weeks off - I was told we will need to create a contract listing everything they will offer. I hope to work from home after 6 weeks for an additional 6 weeks though, or at least PT from home while still working FT in general. 

    This all depends on whether or not the woman I am replacing will be retiring though - if she does not, the above mentioned plan is my goal, if she does in fact retire, I will be coming back to work FT around 8 weeks I hope because I will be making almost double what I make and the position requires me to be in the office full time. It's all very confusing, I also found out since we do not qualify for FMLA and live in the state of Iowa they do not need to provide me a space to pump - I guess I will be pumping in my car again, which is ridiculous but I did it at my last job as well and they HAD FMLA. I will be using my sick/vacation time to keep me getting paid but I only ended up having about 2 full weeks saved up last time and will probably be the same this time around. I really hate not knowing what to expect. 


    They don't have to provide you a place to pump?!!! That is total BS! I'd look into that closer to see if there might be a federal law that trumps your state law. I wouldn't put up with that crap!

    (If you work at a desk job and don't already have your pump purchased, I think the brand "freemie" has a new pump design that is supposed to be whisper quiet and will fit under your shirt so you can pump at your desk without being too obvious or having your boobs out. Of course, I'd be the type of person who would be like "ok. If you don't want to give me a private space to pump, I'll do it right here!" And whip out a nursing cover up to hide the latch-on area.)
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    I feel super lucky to work for a company that gives the standard 12 week FMLA leave...fully paid. Plus they have an optional new parent leave that is up to 6 weeks that is unpaid unless I would like to use sick and/or vacation time. There's also ways to use short term disability if I'm out on bed rest or anything like that. It totals to about 18 weeks if I use it all. From what I've heard that's one of the nicer maternity leave options available out there! I am so impressed your company is letting you help pave the way for future women! I hope you're excited for the opportunity!

    Yes, I am really excited to be able to pave the way for women at my company (since about 90% of my company is women and part of our mission statement is to make the lives of working women easier)!   That is why it is really important to me to gather as much info as possible from other women (and this forum has been extremely helpful!)  I want to do the best I can to influence the policy to be realistic and both best for me (and future moms) and the company
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    dem068a said:
    I know there were a few posts about maternity leave that people plan on taking (I promise I searched the topic and read all those responses, I have been a lurker/learner here for a few weeks), but I have a slight variation on the question. My company is very small (30 people and only 3 years old), and does not have a maternity leave policy. We are a mostly woman company and they are now developing a policy, since I am the first one to be pregnant (and they asked for my input, so I am trying to gather some knowledge from other moms!) I wanted to get some opinions from some working moms (or moms who had a baby and didn't go back to work, or anyone on this board who is willing to give an opinion!) So a few questions: -what did your company offer? -what did you actually take? -in an ideal world, what would have you wanted/asked for? (This is the most important one for me) Thank you so much!!!
    My company does not qualify for FMLA either - we have 48 employess (on purpose, mind you for insurance purposes that makes me rather angry but what can I do?) I am the youngest person at the company so there are no other women having babies or with small children so I somewhat understand their stance. I will be taking at least 6 weeks off - I was told we will need to create a contract listing everything they will offer. I hope to work from home after 6 weeks for an additional 6 weeks though, or at least PT from home while still working FT in general. 

    This all depends on whether or not the woman I am replacing will be retiring though - if she does not, the above mentioned plan is my goal, if she does in fact retire, I will be coming back to work FT around 8 weeks I hope because I will be making almost double what I make and the position requires me to be in the office full time. It's all very confusing, I also found out since we do not qualify for FMLA and live in the state of Iowa they do not need to provide me a space to pump - I guess I will be pumping in my car again, which is ridiculous but I did it at my last job as well and they HAD FMLA. I will be using my sick/vacation time to keep me getting paid but I only ended up having about 2 full weeks saved up last time and will probably be the same this time around. I really hate not knowing what to expect. 
    They don't have to provide you a place to pump?!!! That is total BS! I'd look into that closer to see if there might be a federal law that trumps your state law. I wouldn't put up with that crap! (If you work at a desk job and don't already have your pump purchased, I think the brand "freemie" has a new pump design that is supposed to be whisper quiet and will fit under your shirt so you can pump at your desk without being too obvious or having your boobs out. Of course, I'd be the type of person who would be like "ok. If you don't want to give me a private space to pump, I'll do it right here!" And whip out a nursing cover up to hide the latch-on area.)
    Lol - I have my own office but the only problem is it's open and leads from one side to the other so there's at least 3 co-workers who are always passing through which is freaking annoying anyway and 2 are male so not sure I'd be comfortable with that. My uncle is the CFO so that also might be a little awkward. 

    The federal law is very confusing - when I read about it, it says that the federal law wouldn't help me in my situation because we don't have FMLA, there is an empty office across the hall but sometimes we have clients who come in and use it so I don't know how they would feel about that. My total BF plan is to nurse before work, leave for lunch and feed baby, pump 1x at work in car or wherever, and then feed as soon as I pick baby up. Can't even pump in bathroom since its a shared bathroom and I'd rather pump in my car than bathroom anyway to be honest. It's kind of depressing but my job right now is totally flexible and I have great benefits really so I can't see myself leaving either. 
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    @ashcody2 since your uncle works there do you think you'd get to use the free client room and just put a sign up saying "in use"? I'm not sure how often you have clients/if you can pump around it to avoid the car. I had to pump in our locker room/bathroom but I'm planning on seeing if I can use a barely used office and just block off the cameras while I pump.
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    Achae said:
    @ashcody2 since your uncle works there do you think you'd get to use the free client room and just put a sign up saying "in use"? I'm not sure how often you have clients/if you can pump around it to avoid the car. I had to pump in our locker room/bathroom but I'm planning on seeing if I can use a barely used office and just block off the cameras while I pump.
    We don't have clients come in too often - I just don't know if they'd be OK with me using it for the purpose of pumping (stupid I know) but I actually just talked to our head of HR about my contract for maternity leave and once they come up with a plan/offer I will ask her then, it'd be great if I can end up using it though. When I read that federal law didn't help me I guess I just said "F it." I'll just pump in my car if I have to. 
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    So glad I live in Australia! I get 14 weeks paid at full pay (which is from my employer and part of the workplace agreement) but fed law means I can take 52 weeks off unpaid, and I get 18 weeks at minimum wage from the government. But the 14 and 18 are taken during the 52.
    I plan to take my full pay at half pay, so all up I will have 52 weeks of in total and 46 weeks getting about 50% of my salary per week.
    Pretty happy with that!
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    FMLA so my job is secured while I'm out; I'm in the construction industry so when I started day 1 of work I was already signed up for short term disability (which at my previous job, I had to sign up during open enrollment in october before I got pregnant or else I was just out of luck). My workplace uses vacation and sick time first, and then STD kicks in after I think 8 days out of work (or once baby comes) and I would get 60% of my earnings, but have to pay my premiums.
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    The US military just upped maternity from 6 to 12 weeks, you can also use your built up leave days for more time. However Paternity leave is just a wimpy 10 days, not 10 weekdays, 10 days. They too can use their leave days, if it gets approved. 
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    it all sounds about the same.  With my first child, my company didn't have a maternity policy, so i was just on Short Term Disability and FMLA for 11 weeks (I could have used 12).  Then with my second, they created a policy.  For a vaginal birth you get 6 weeks paid at 2/3 and for a c/s it's 8 weeks paid 2/3.  Then i go on Short Term Disability for the remainder of the time.  I took 10 weeks with #2.  I'm hoping to take about that same about of time with #3.  
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    My work offers 12 weeks under FMLA, but I will need to use all of my own time. Good thing I have some sick time banked.
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    I work at a hospital and we get 12 weeks unpaid but we can take a "voluntary leave of absence" (also unpaid) for up to a year if our department approves it. The catch for us is that you are still responsible for all deductions that come out of your paycheck (so 401k, other fees, and any health insurance through the company as well as your parking fee) for the whole time you are gone. We can take short term disability which maxes out here at $170/wk for 6 weeks so that helps a bit but not really. If we have paid time off we can use that to supplement which most save it and do that.

    Ultimately I am quitting my job prior to the delivery simply because of the fees carrying over. Thanks to the new healthcare laws my company has to offer me benefits which will total over $600 in bills sent to my door every month I am off without pay... and obviously no money to cover it (I do not have any paid leave as I just got benefits and don't have time to accrue any before the baby).

    So I will be relying on medicade and WIC (I'm not too happy about this).

    Ideally it would be 12 weeks paid and the option to take longer without pay imo.
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    My company is really small (35 employees) and in the State of Washington small businesses (under 50 employees) are not required to give their employees any kind of maternity leave.  Therefore I will be getting short term disability for my maternity leave through Aflac.  The benefit waiting period though is 10 months (I signed up for it back in Fall of 2013).  They pay you for up to three months of leave.  The monthly amount is based on your income.  
           
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    I receive up to 12 weeks under FMLA. Usual is 6 weeks for vaginal and 8 weeks for c-section but I can request up to 12 weeks. However I have to use my vacation, sick and PP days. Once all of that runs out then my leave becomes unpaid.

    I would prefer longer paid leave but I guess I cannot change that.
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    My organizations qualifies for the 12 weeks of maternity under fmla. But we have to use sick time and suck our vacation bank dry in order to get paid. I did this last time and it sucked coming back to no time off for several months till it accrued back up again. Ideally it would be nice to have six months off. I didn't really feel like I found my grove of being a mom till about 10-12 weeks. It would have been nice to enjoy that before being thrown back into the work routine.
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    My company offers the required 12 weeks but only 3 are paid. I'm taking the full 12.
    I would have liked them to be paid, ha!

    Luckily, my 12 weeks off will flow almost directly into our yearly 3 month hiatus we have every year (also unpaid). So, I'll have 6 months off with baby bit almost entirely unpaid.

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    I'm still waiting to hear back from my job, but I know the answer. They have no policy, I use up my sick and vacation time and that's it. So maybe 2 or 3 weeks. And they won't guarantee you're job back if you don't come back right away. Working from home is determined on a case by case basis. I wanted to take FMLA, but we're an independent school district so they aren't held to that. I'm already grieving about it. I think if they let me bring the baby in so I can continue to BF that would be a good compromise. 

    I wish they would give me about 8-12 weeks at least partial pay. Not asking for much, especially since we get summers off, but nothing is tearing me apart right now.
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    miritako said:
    I'm From Canada, we get 18 weeks maternal leave paid at 70% and 5 weeks paternal at same... Then we have parental leave which we can split which is 70% until you hit 6 months I think and then 55% for the remainder of the time, so that everything together is 1 year off... I'm pretty happy I live here;)
    This might have been added by some one else but some companies, this includes the BC government definitely, also do a top up on those percentages. The initial percentages come out of employment insurance. 
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    miritako said:

    I'm From Canada, we get 18 weeks maternal leave paid at 70% and 5 weeks paternal at same... Then we have parental leave which we can split which is 70% until you hit 6 months I think and then 55% for the remainder of the time, so that everything together is 1 year off... I'm pretty happy I live here;)

    That's a company specific thing though. You are entitled to, I think, 17 weeks maternity and 35 weeks parental but all you are guaranteed is about 1k per month from the government. You employer doesn't need to give you anything.
    One really good thing is that you can split the parental leave with the father any way you like.
    I think a year off is good. More if you can.
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    I am from ontario Canada and we get one year off. We collect employment insurance while off at 55% of our normal wage. My employer offers a pay top up so I will get 2 weeks pay at 100% and 15 weeks at 95% of my regular pay as long as I collect ei.
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    Some of these responses make me sad for myself. This is my second and I work for both my sisters. I'm their nanny in one of their homes (the other one brings her kids here). Of course this means I have no benefits whatsoever. With my dd we had an unemployed cousin who wanted to cover for me. I ended up taking 8 weeks- all unpaid. This one there is no one willing to cover. As is, I'm looking at only being able to take 4 weeks-unpaid, if I can find someone to cover. Both sisters each only have 3 days personal leave they could use to help. If I'm unable to find a person willing to cover (ideally I'd love another 8 weeks this time but financially I won't be able to) my sisters will basically need to find someone new/permanent and I'm out of a job.
    The upside to all this? Yes I have no benefits but I do get to be with my daughter every day and get paid pretty well.
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    Holy crap, I am green with envy reading all of the Canadian maternity leave info!  So happy for you ladies who get to enjoy those benefits!  Maybe one day in the U.S.... (one can dream, anyway!)
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