Thoughts on maternity leave? — The Bump
3rd Trimester

Thoughts on maternity leave?

BumpJackieBumpJackie member
edited January 2016 in 3rd Trimester
Only 12% of people in the U.S. work somewhere that offers paid maternity leave, which means that many men and women have to take a pay cut right when their costs of living are about to increase exponentially. We're looking to hear stories from you on your personal experiences with maternity leave. Did you have a positive (or negative) experience? How did you approach your maternity leave with your employer? How did it impact you financially? If you're willing to share your story, please reach out to [email protected] ASAP. Thanks!

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Re: Thoughts on maternity leave?

  • I am actually very annoyed with my maternity leave!!  First,  let me say that I am so glad that I took Short Term Disability because if I had not I would be screwed!  Let me start by telling you that I am 100% commission based employee.  While I am gone I only get paid 50% of my commission and that is only on things that I have Pre-Sold before leaving for maternity leave!  So, basically I have to literally work my butt of to sell 3 months of sales just to make 50% of my pay!  So,  then I asked myself what the heck am I busting my tail for just to get 50%?  Well 50% of 100% is better than 50% of 25%.  I have not left for maternity leave yet.  I am 35 weeks pregnant and I am only taking 10 weeks of my maternity leave to boot!  Back to the thank God I took Short Term Disability because they are paying me 60% of my pay.  The thing with all of this is I have worked with systems before and I know they are always slow and I am wondering when I will actually "get paid" while I am gone.  Will it be in a timely manner?  Only time will tell! opinion on maternity is not very positive and I fell like it will only get worse as times goes on!
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    I started a job 6 months before I got pregnant, I have to accrue sick leave and vacation time to be paid while I was out. After 1 year I could apply for FMLA, and in addition to the 12 weeks that gave me, I could use 4 more weeks per union negotiations. I was terminated 3 days before FMLA started. So now I can take all the time I can afford at about 40% pay until unemployment runs out.... and I have to be willing and able to take on a new job in my 3rd trimester with twins while anticipating maternity leave....
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  • I think maternity leave in the US sucks.  My job will hold your position for one year but you only get paid for the amount of time you are considered unable to work (6 weeks postpartum for a vaginal birth, 8 weeks for C-section) AND you only get full pay if you have enough of your own sick days to cover that time. 

    I was out for 6 months with my first and I will be out for 9 months with this baby.  The only way DH and I are able to make this work is by having a large chunk of savings that we will be using while I'm out of work and by going under his health insurance.  I can't imagine some poor mothers who are basically forced to come back to work after only 6 weeks.

    Wow you are lucky- they hold your job for 1 year.... mine only holds it for the 4 months mandated by state, I only get paid for accrued leave (though that appears to be your case as well). So, I am going to have 8 weeks off. I don't have a choice- we can't afford for me to not work since the insurance is affordable at my job and we need the income (at least some of it). If insurance wasn't a factor I could work part time somewhere, but such is life I suppose.
  • Maternity in most places are terrible. Depending on you time with employer your allowed to carry over unused time (vacation & sick) is that an option for some of you? That's what I did. In additionmy job allowed me to build time working a little later than my scheduled hours (we have the option of overtime cash or overtime time). I just built about 4 months in time. Plus I get the 6 week maternity leave and my plan is to also burn my unused annual vacation time. I just thought some of this could be an option for some of you.
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  • I can only accrue sick leave (which I've been saving for almost 8 years) - any vacation leave has to be used before the end of the year. We don't get any paid maternity leave nor can we work overtime hours and bank them. Thankful I have built up enough for two months.... so sorry for bbw5292- 2 weeks isn't even enough for you to heal well ( hope you don't have a c-section or any complications).  But you have to do what you have to do I guess.  Best of luck girls.
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  • cici+lavelcici+lavel member
    edited December 2014
    Maternity Leave in Kentucky is a nightmare. The laws here and even the Family Medical Leave Act are written so open to interpretation that there are tons of loopholes in it. The company I work for pays Short-term Disability in 80/60 (which is always nice). In order to take FMLA you HAVE to qualify for disability. Which basically means you don't get to take leave early unless you're on bed rest but there's no taking off in order "nest". This is my second pregnancy and with my first one I ended up having a lot of complications due to a genetic disorder, while I still have complications for the same reason with this pregnancy, but since I'm not on bed rest the third party my employer uses to initiate and manage our leave denied it since I don't currently qualify for disability until my delivery date. I requested leave from December 12-February 20th, since I'm due December 31st it's denied until then.
  • I work at Amazon. I'm a high risk pregnancy so I was able to get short term disability. I get 60% of my pay but for only 4 months. Once I have the baby I get 2 months full pay. After the two months I need to be back at work or I lose my job. I can't imagine what other women are going through.
  • My employer does not offer maternity leave so I have to use banked sick time and vacation days after the delivery if I still want compensation. That is included in the 12 week alotment from FMLA. I recently had a discussion with my departmental boss and he is willing to give me additional time past those days to work from home until I am ready to come back. I do wish I could spend longer at home to recover and bond with the new baby like the options given to many other mothers around the world.
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  • I qualify for FMLA unpaid leave 12 weeks.... I saved vacation time and sick time for 2+ years to cover 7 weeks paid and if everything goes perfectly my short term disability should cover the rest, but I can't be sure until I have the baby and the paperwork is filed.
  • My work offers ST disability - 8 weeks for cs, then an additional 9 weeks of parental leave paid at 100%. I can then use any vacation time at the end. In total I will take about 5 months.
  • Our company is only a few years old and when I got pregnant they had to create a policy. We are a small company and not entitled to FMLA guidelines. Basically the policy is that my job is protected for as long as the doctor feels it is necessary for me to be home. I can take all of my PTO, but get no special paid maternity leave. I don't have STD but wish I had taken out a policy before getting pregnant.

    The positive side is that although I am considered "full time" (salaried with benefits) I only work from 9-3 with an hour lunch break. I am able to work from home and bring the baby with me as needed. I have streamlined a lot of processes so I can pretty much get everything done that I need to by working very little. So the plan at this point is I will take up to two weeks PTO when the baby arrives, then work from home for 6 weeks following that. Then I will work out a flexible schedule of working from home, bringing the baby to work, etc. until the baby is 6 months. At 6 months we plan to use day care for the up to 6 hours a day I'm at work. 

    My husband started a new job in October and won't have much PTO built up. He is going to take 2 weeks off anyways just to spend time with our new child. I don't have much family around and he is my biggest support system, so this was very important for us and worth the cost. 
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  • schnitz9 said:
    I'm a bit jealous as my husband has a better deal than I do.  He works for bank of america.  They give all their employees 12 weeks full 100% paid leave.  They call it maternity, paternity, or adoption leave.  They are a wonderful company to work for.  They also have an IF plan where they pay for IF treatments if they are needed.  I've always told him I don't care if he ever hates his job (BTW he loves what he does) he is never allowed to leave.  Their insurance is amazing I haven't had to pay for anything yet in my prenatal care. They used to pay for parking and commuting passes (cut that out about 2 years ago with cut backs). I'm actually working from home and taking a 12 week unpaid leave.  I don't want to use any of my 4 weeks vacation time.  I realized when I come back in june and I have no PTO if me or the baby get sick I'm kinda screwed.
    I work for Bank of America as well, and you're right they do have a great leave policy - I think really the only one I've heard of for such a long paternity leave (although very few fathers take all 12 weeks).  Unfortunately, their 12 weeks of paid leave is only valid if you've been with the company for a year or more, and my baby will be more 6 weeks before my 1 year with the company, so they will give me the 12 weeks but all unpaid :(  But reading some of the other posts, I will consider myself lucky to get the time off.  It will be tight, as having a new baby is a scary thing financially and then to have to take an income cut in the household makes it even more difficult.  But its nice to have the option to stay home with baby.
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  • I work for a small business, so no fmla protection. I purchased an aflac short term DI policy before getting pregnant, so I will get 6 weeks at 70%. After that I'm bringing baby to the office till she is crawling. I'm really lucky to have such a flexible boss, but I'm nervous about having no real guarantee. He could change his mind about baby at the office or replace me while I'm on maternity leave; I have no legal rights. So I'm hoping for the best. He can be fickle.
  • smsnyder0307smsnyder0307 member
    edited December 2014
    I work for GoDaddy and if you have been employed there for 1-2 years, you are eligible for 6 weeks at 100% pay. And if you need to take any additional time, you can use whatever PTO, sick or vacation time that you have. I plan to take off the 6 weeks and hubby is taking off 3 weeks, but his leave is all unpaid. After I go back to work, he will be using his vacation time to take a week off with the baby. As I only work 4 days a week, I will still have three days off a week with the baby and that is what I love about my schedule with them.
  • I'm getting six weeks maternity leave.  After six weeks, I will be going back to work in the full craze of tax season (60 hour work weeks).  But hey, I guess that is what I get for being a CPA and having a baby in January.  

    Before you jump to conclusions, FMLA does not apply to my employer as we have less than 50 employees.  So no, they do not have to give me anything especially not 12 weeks.  Also, I did not have short-term disability through work and didn't buy an individual policy.  (Note to self: buy short-term disability before next pregnancy).  I do love my job and have a wonderful employer; therefore, I will have great flexibility outside of tax season.  

    My friends and family keep saying "that won't be enough" and "you won't be ready to go back".  These comments make me want to scream.  I realize I won't be ready to go back to work after only 6 weeks, but I do not have a choice.  I wish they would just keep their comments and opinions to themselves.

    Luckily my mom is traveling half way across the country to stay with us from 6 weeks-April 15th to nanny.  She is the wife of a CPA and understands the pressures.  Thank you Momma! 
  • I only get 6 weeks, I guess I could get 8 weeks if I go on disability but we cannot afford it. I actually have to work through my maternity leave. Some work will be from home, other days I will have to go into the office to see my patients. I have no one to cover me. I had told my employer back in the first week of July (when I even found out I was pregnant) that I would be due in March. He never hired anyone to cover me, and I have 2 months left and still nobody to cover. I will have to see a patient 2 weeks after I deliver. The only good thing is that he is going to pay my salary instead of going on disability. Overall I hate it. I feel like I will be abandoning my baby.
  • I also work for a small company, so while FMLA is technically not an option they are more than willing to work with me on my schedule.  As of now, I am planning on taking 8 weeks off post delivery, assuming that I will work right up until my delivery date.  My company pays for a STD policy that doesn't pay much - (it winds up being about 20% of my weekly pay), and that will cover 6 weeks after the delivery.  We don't have much in terms of vacation benefits - two weeks per year that cannot be rolled over or accumulated.  So depending on where our finances are when I deliver I will most likely take the 6 weeks of disability pay and my vacation, and if I decide to extend beyond the 8 weeks it will be without pay.  Once I come back, I'll plan to work 4 days a week - and they are still considering that full time with benefits, which is very generous.
    The hardest part is that I work with mainly guys, and they're older with wives who stayed home with the kids.  So they all have said at one point, "if you decide you want to take a longer period of time off or decide not to come back at all, don't worry - we will understand and figure it out."  It's a wonderful gesture, however I am the bread winner between my husband and me, and we cannot afford for me to work any less than 4 days, or be off much more than 8 weeks.  It kind of breaks my heart every time someone suggests me taking more time because I would love to, but financially I just don't see it happening.  We've been saving but we also just bought a home and it's our first year with all those expenses as well. 
  • i'll be taking 6 weeks off like i did with my first child. i only get paid for the maternity leave if i have PTO to use. once my PTO runs out i will be making no money till i go back to work. 
    we have been saving up money so we'll be able to pay for things for the last few weeks. my PTO is just a fraction of what i normally make since i work off commission as well. 
    it does suck having to pay for a birth and also worrying about affording the bills.
  • As of right now I am only getting paid for the vacation/sick time that I have accrued. When I depart for maternity leave I will only be at my job for around 8 months and the company is too small to qualify me for FMLA. My boss said I can take off 'for as little or as long as I like' but we will 'discuss it as time gets closer'. I'm waiting on bated breath and saving as much money as I possibly can at this point because this isn't looking too promising! Bottom line: I know I'm not going to want to be away from the baby and back full time right away so I've been looking into part-time job options in my area just in case...
  • I took 2 months off with my first and they only paid me the vacations I didn't took for that year!. We were good because ever since I got pregnant we saved money for 3 months of rent and with my husband check we paid the elect, cable, internet, food, etc. so I believe, whether you earn enough to not worry about money while you are on maternity leave, you need to save money aside from your savings in order to have that backup in case something happens. I always believe that things happen out of nowhere and sometimes you are up high then shit happens! then what? so yes, US sucks for maternity leave!.

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  • Here is my story in its briefest form. I had a rough 1st & 2nd trimester Hyperemesis Gravidarum 2 hospital stays a week each, home health care for 3 months with at home IV fluids, and a 24-he Zofran pump to keep me able to drink enough to stay alive, $6000 worth of medical bills, 2 1/2 months where I couldn't work at all so I had to use FMLA. Oh and during FMLA I ran out of all my vacation and personal leave time so I had to start paying my job to keep up my health insurance and 401K benefits. All of this is during the pregnancy, so now I'm 35 weeks and I have been told I will have 1 month of FMLA allowed and "maybe" if it doesn't adversely affect the agency, they will let me take 1 more month so a total of 2 months off. Of which maybe I will have accumulated enough personal time to cover my benefits for 1 month (so zero take home dollars) and then the following month I would again have to pay my job to keep up my benefits. And I must come back to work after 2 months or lose my job. Meanwhile, in order to return to work, I will have to put my 2 month old baby in day care because the little family I have in this country all work.
    Bottom line, I'm already struggling with $6000 worth of unexpected medical bills, and soon I will be having no income again for 2 months and my brand new baby will have to face being exposed to all the day care germs extremely early in life. Oh and I breastfeed my babies exclusively, so in that 1 or 2 months I get to stay home with my baby, I also have to worry about trying to get a stockpile of milk for the day care. I so wish I were Canadian right now or at least that FMLA gave a dedicated 3 months for post-pregnancy and was applied differently for other illness. Suppose I was out sick for 4 months? Would I even still have a job and if I did, would they expect me to return to work immediately after my baby was born? These are not things mothers should have to worry about in a civilized society, but this is the American way. Capitalism before everything else...
  • Clearly America is lacking when it comes to parental leave. I just went on leave two weeks before my due date. My job requires me to be on my feet 100% of the time and responding to the needs of everyone there as quickly as possible. I'm shocked I made it this far, but we were truly worried about my health and baby's health. My doctor had to give a medical reason for me to stop working in order for me to keep my job (cuz apparently 16,000 steps a day should be no sweat at 38 weeks). I will get half pay for 6 weeks. From there I have to re-apply for unpaid leave, which also has to be approved based on a medical need. Maternal bonding means nothing to my company.

    I will also be required to retro pay my insurance premiums upon my return which will keep my paychecks tiny even after I return. For some perspective; I just found out that I took home around 16,500 for the entire year of 2014. That was working 40 hours for 52 weeks. I was also requires to work all major holidays.

    Let me tell you, I will be high-tailing my butt out of there as soon as I pay that insurance money back. I have a degree that I can put to better use, so my search will soon begin.
  • I work at a teaching hospital at a large university, and after reading all these responses I feel really lucky for our maternity leave program... If you've worked at least a year you qualify for 12 weeks of maternity leave essentially. 6 weeks under the FMLA and 6 weeks of sick leave (if you have the time, they are very generous with sick leave so I have more then enough) and this is all at 100% pay. You can even take more if you have the leave time saved and your supervisor allows it. Personally I am only taking 9 weeks, I am planning on working until 38.5 weeks. I feel for everyone stuck with unpaid maternity leave though-- with my first I was in that situation and it was horrible!!
  • Before I lost my teaching job, I would have been able to take 6 weeks plus unpaid maternity leave...Unfortunately I have been on unemployment until a month ago and now no job will hire me at 9 months pregnant. I did apply for short term disability with 3 different doctor notes. We shall see how that husband who is a teacher can use his 4 personal days but he can't take them all at once (and can't use his sick days). We can't afford for him to take un paid paternity leave (1 month) so as a FTM I will have my husband with me for 2 days only which honestly just makes me incredibly upset.
  • Oh my goodness... I realize how lucky we are in Canada. I get 1 year paid by Employment Insurance (gov't), at 60% of my salary. They have to hold my job (or give me one that pays the same) when I get back. Thanking my lucky stars I live here.
  • niknak1208niknak1208 member
    edited March 2015
    My previous two leaves were at the same employer but were still different. The institution I worked for had excellent benefits.  Your short term disability was 100% of your pay and started from your first day off work.  6 weeks for vaginal. 8 weeks for c-section. The 2nd half of your 12 weeks assuming you were taking 12 weeks .. you had to use vacation of course. My first child was born in 2008 and I was hourly so I didn't accrue as much vacation time. I only took 9 weeks off with him.  My 2nd child was born in 2012 and I was salaried for the same employer so I had a ton of vacation time. I was paid 100% of my pay the entire 12 weeks.  I ended up resigning and had so much vacation time that I had 4.5 months off work and was 100% paid the entire time. It was FANTASTIC! 

    This pregnancy was a surprise and I am salaried for a different employer now.  Leave here is quite different. They have short term disability but it's structured much differently. The base plan which is an employer paid premium, is 50% of your pay and starts on the 15th day of your leave. You have to use the very little PTO you accrue to be paid during your waiting period.  You can choose to buy up to a higher level of coverage which I did but it only gives you another $400/monthly.  6 week disability period.. even with C section.. the only way they extend it is if the physician medically supports it for 8 weeks. If you're eligible for FMLA, you can take your full 12 weeks but most people don't have enough PTO time saved up so the 2nd half of the leave is usually unpaid. 
    On top of that, the disability is through a vendor so your healthcare premiums stop coming out as soon as you are being paid disability. So while you're receiving 50% of your pay.. you are also responsible for your share of your benefit premiums while on leave. 

    In a nutshell, I've spent the last 28 weeks trying to save as much as I can in order to supplement my crappy disability benefits. :)  It's kind of scary actually. Happy to be part of the 12% who have paid leave but it's definitely not great. 

    My advice to all those who have upcoming leaves.. KNOW your FMLA rights. Understand your disability benefits.  KNOW your ADA rights as well. (American's with Disabilities Act).  Employers have to consider ADA if they are subject to ADA. Without FMLA, employers do have the right to post/fill positions.
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  • Luckily, I am a nurse, so it wasn't TOO tough to get my job back when I was ready.  I remember the uncertainty being pretty scary, though.  Even though it got tight financially, those weeks were some of the most precious times of my life!
  • edited April 2015
    I thanks all for me they given 12 weeks as maternity leave an after 12 weeks onwards they were deducting from my payee as many days I taken leave.Now I am in 40th week Edd in a week anyone is like me. 
  • I need to move to Canada :)
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  • I get 12 weeks unpaid leave under FMLA, though I am required to use any banked sick time I have toward that 12 weeks.  Initially, that ticked me off, but I am over it and am happy that I have enough time banked to be paid for 2 of the 12 weeks.

    I am really lucky in that I am a teacher.  Our last day of school is May 22, my due date is July 11 and we don't start back to school until August 6.  So, my leave will start on August 6, almost a month after LO is born.  I go back November 5.  I asked if I could stay home until the new year, but I was denied.  Apparently some people can, but you have to be employed for five years.  I am only in my third.

    Yeah, maternity leave in the US sucks, but what can you do?
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