maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    hi all - i have a two-part question.  1: what is the state law (MA) on maternity leave (i could ask HR but it's a family business and i just don't want to go there yet!).  i know most people take 3 months off, but does that involve some sort of disability leave?  i keep hearing "2 months" being thrown around too?  2: what is your plan for maternity leave - are you all saving vacation days to leave before your due date, or working right up to the end?  my doctor stressed me out by saying i might not want to work the last month of my pregnancy (not to mention what if i have to go on bedrest?) - and i'm getting (family) pressure to limit my time off as it is, and i can't afford to tack on another month BEFORE the babies!  :)  tia!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Hi Stefani,
    I'm assuming you work for a private company, so I think in those cases each policy is different.  However under MA law, I believe they have to give you at least 8 weeks off without you losing your job.  Whether any of that is paid is determined by your individual employer.

    I work for the state, therefore have a government job, and am in a union, therefore the maternity policy for me is different than for people who work for private companies.  So, for example, there is no such thing as "short term disability" for employees here, whereas I hear that is a common type of maternity leave for private companies.

    My employer pays for 10 days of maternity leave, but I can take more than that without losing my job.  So I have no choice but to either use vacation or sick time (or take time unpaid, but then I lose sick time accrual, etc) for maternity.  Because of that, I am hoping to hold out and work up until I go into labor!!  Luckily I've had a pretty good pregnancy, and am hoping that holds... But if I do need to take off extra time beforehand, I have worked that flexibility into my request.  Oh - spend some time writing up your request for time off.  Some coworkers showed me what they wrote, and I adapted it for myself making sure to work in language like "these plans might change..."

    When you are ready, definitely make an appointment with HR and bring paper and a pen to write down everything they say. I would also recommend, if you're comfortable doing so, talking to any women who've done the maternity leave thing at your company to ask if they have any words of wisdom.  I did this, and was able to ask HR many questions that:
    a) I would not have thought to ask, and
    b) they would not have offered answers to unless I asked.

    Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for needing maternity leave!!  It's not like the last month is going to be a vacation for you, you're carrying twins for heaven's sake!  That time off would be for the safety of you and your babies, and that is #1 priority.  You know your doctor would write something for you if work needed convincing...
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    By law, employers with 50+ employees have to comply with the FMLA guidelines, meaning 12 weeks of leave without fear of losing your job.  some private employers provide short term disability, which is what most women do to pay for their leave.

    My situation is different, I'm a federal employee and their policy stated 6 weeks off for v-birth, 8 weeks for c-section. Then I get to take my FMLA leave on top of that, so totalling either 18 or 20 weeks off. All of this is unpaid. I'm allowed to take my own sick time or vacation time to pay myself. I could have added those weeks onto my leave if I wanted, or paymyself.

    I worked up until I gave birth. that was my plan, though I cried the night before my due date saying I really didn't want to go to work on my due date. DH told me to stop working, take the rest of the time and relax. Well, I went into labor that night so that decision was taken from me.

    With twins you're in a different boat. You might have to take off time before they arrive.

    Best of luck!
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Hi Stefani,

    I think that really lucky women get 3 months of paid maternity leave. Most women get no paid maternity leave. Two state laws attempt to provide some form of unpaid leave:

    Maternity Medical Leave (this is confusing and you might do well to read the q&a on the final page):
    http://www.mass.gov/mcad/maternity1.html

    Family and Medical Leave
    http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-fmla.htm

    http://www.masslegalhelp.org/employment-unemployment/time-off-personal-need#1
    You can take FMLA leave or SNLA leave - if:

       1. your employer has at least 50 employees, and
       2. you have worked for your employer at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months (an average of about 24 hours per week).

    To take leave under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA), you must

       1. be female,
       2. work for an employer with at least 6 employees and
       3. complete your probationary period (up to 6 mos.). If your work does not have probation, you need to work full time for the same employer for at least 3 months in a row.


    There's also short-term disability.

    My company provides maternity leave, but I sat down with our HR woman to discuss my options and she suggested I go out on short-term disability because it was better than our maternity leave package. I suggest you discuss it with the appropriate person at your company as soon as you feel comfortable doing so.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from canukgrl. Show canukgrl's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I work for a big company (like 70K employees globally) and I am paid for 6 weeks @90% for v-birth and 8 weeks for a c-section - via short term disability.  Then I think I am allowed to take either 4 or 6 weeks more (to total 12) legally, and I can use my 4.5 weeks vacation time to pay for it (we don't get paid sick time, but I don't have a limit either, so it works out most of the time)

    But I have a great boss and an even greater VP, who thought I was insane to planning to come back around Thanksgiving.  As a mother of 2 August babies (granted, they are now in their 20's), she advised me to stay off until January... so when we called off the house reno, I decided almost immediately to do exactly that!  There is a bunch of re-orging going on, but there kinda always is, and that makes me a little nervous, but we'll just see how it goes.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from arugulacm. Show arugulacm's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    As noted in prior posts, FMLA just makes them hold your job for you if you take off up to 12 weeks.  Doesn't mean that they have to pay you.  Hopefully your company has a STD policy, so you will get some pay during your leave. 

    My company has a STD policy.  As far as I know, most STD policies make you take 1 or 2 weeks unpaid (but you can use vacation time for the unpaid week) BEFORE it kicks in.  So my plan covered 6 weeks, the first of which was unpaid.  Thus, I received X% of my salary for 5 weeks.  But, there was a cap (pre tax) on benefits - so I didn't even get a full 5 weeks - more like 3.5 - at least it was something.  I took off 4 months in total - most of it unpaid (including 1 week before the due date - to have time to do things that I hadn't had time for b/c I was working so much). 

    My husband's plan was better - his covered 8 weeks, first weekunpaid, with no cap, plus his had a higher % of salary paid.  I don't think it was a STD plan - but something similar that his company offered.  He took a couple weeks vacation when DD was born.  Then when my leave was over, he took off his 8 weeks. 

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I am entitled to (and taking) 12 weeks leave.  I am paid for eight weeks of that, a percentage of my salary based on years of service, then I can "cover" the unpaid remainder with vacation time.  I'm hoping to work up to my due date to "save" all that leave for maternity.  I haven't discussed my reentry with my boss yet, but am hoping to come back PT for a couple of weeks (to cover me through the holidays), then FT by beginning of next year.  I'll probably wind up taking unpaid time during those PT weeks, but hopefully cover most of my leave with vacation. 


    I'd start talking to them now, Stefani, especially since you're carrying twins and might need to go out early.  I mean, they know you're pregnant, so it shouldn't come as a big shock, and if you're getting the sense that they're going to want you to take less leave than you're comfortable with, I think knowing what the bottom-line is will help you plan.  I have my daycare lined up based on my expected return date, for instance, so if my company had other ideas about what that date is going to be?  That's a real problem if there's no slot for me the month prior. 

    I think it's good to know what the law covers you for, but I'd resist the urge to cite state law or anything in the first conversation.  Your goal is to gather information, in my opinion.  Negotiating leave can be tricky, so you want to keep as many avenues open as possible for as long as possible.  Again, just my two cents. 

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I just need to take a moment to:
    a) be thankful that I get my 10 paid days of maternity, and, simultaneously
    b) be jealous of everyone who gets more paid maternity leave through STD, etc... :), and
    c) marvel at how the letters "STD" change depending on your phase of life... for me they've gone from meaning "something you get if you're not careful whose skin you let touch yours in intimate places" to "save this date for my wedding" to "does my company have short term disability for maternity leave".
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I should add: these posts make it sound really complicated, which it is and isn't.  It's complicated b/c it's generally NOT a simple "Give birth and get paid as if nothing happened for X number of weeks" thing.  And it varies so much from company to company and, like the PP's said, the state law just mandates that you have a job to go back to, nothing more. 


    I found the simplest thing was to go to my HR rep and ask HER what our company did, then start proposing/negotiating from there.  And I'm glad I asked, b/c I had thought I got a percentage of pay for the full 12 weeks, and the discrepancy would have been a small disaster had I not found out when I did; we started saving a little more each month to cover. 

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Poppy -- ha.  And I'd like to give a shout-out to her SOLID comment about writing up a leave document. 

    I also highly recommend writing up a proposal as to how you'll handle your maternity leave, both the transition period prior to your due date, any accommodations for leave prior to (can you telecommute if you're on bedrest, for example), how much leave you want to take and what kind of contact, if any, you'll be OK with during your leave, how you plan to return to work (FT, PT, flex-time) and any post-leave flex time requests (job-share, telecommuting, etc ...). 

    This is more for your boss than HR, but depending on how big the company is and how family-friendly your manager is, THIS is where you can negotiate and work out something that could really make your life that much easier post-baby. 
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Stefani,

    FMLA is 12 weeks.  MMLA is 8 weeks PER CHILD, which means, if you're having twins, you get 16 weeks.  For my employer, MMLA over-rode FMLA b/c I was having twins.  My employer is large enough to have a "leave administrator" in HR and I spent about an hour on the phone with her plus other short conversations and emails.  Although it was never an issue, I did ask about what would happen if I went on bedrest and she seemed like she was being intentionally vague and I don't think I every really got a straight answer about it.  I wanted to know how that would be counted relative to my maternity leave, and if I would have additional short-term disability coverage.  I basically got the impression that they handle it on a case-by-case basis and that as far as disability was concerned, it would depend on the circumstances and diagnosis.  But, I never actually got a straight answer.

    I did end up being on bed rest "lite."  I had a cerclage around 20 weeks, I think, and my OB didn't like that I had a 10 minute walk from the bus or the T or that I might be standing for half an hour b/c noone would give up their seat.  So, I was able to work something out with my boss and with the OB that made us all happy.  I had to come in to see him or the maternal-fetal medicine specialist once a week.  Since I was in Boston anyway, and my office is pretty close to his office and where I was seeing the MFMS, I would come in to the office on those days.  I would also choose another day to come in each week depending on what was going on that I needed to be in the office for.  The other 3 days I worked from home.  This was a nice arrangement b/c I was getting out and not stuck sitting around the house all day every day, but I was taking it easy and not overdoing it either.  (Coincidentally, we were having our kitchen re-done, so it worked out well that I could be there to answer questions/deal with the workers, etc.)  So, with that arrangement, I worked from home until 4 pm on the day I delivered, went to L&D triage for scheduled monitoring (by then, the issue was impending pre-eclampsia) at 5 pm, and had the babies at 9:10 and 9:11 pm that night.

    I got 60% pay for 8 weeks (I had a c-section; if it had been vaginal, I would only have gotten 6 weeks) under my employer-sponsored short-term disability plan.  For the first 8 weeks, I made up the 40% with vacation time, and then I never bothered to call my manager to change it, so I got 40% pay for the rest of my leave using vacation time.

    I don't know the specifics about company size and all of that as far as taking leave goes, but even if your employer isn't required to abide by FMLA or MMLA, you could always use those to support your case for taking up to 16 weeks.  Remember, with twins, chances are you'll deliver before your due date for one reason or another.  I would really wait and see how you're feeling as you get farther along.  I felt great despite the cerclage and then, my blood pressure.  Granted, I was slower and more tired, but I was in no rush to get the babies out and felt very comfortable working right up until I delivered.  If you take time off ahead of time, what are you going to do with that time?  I know some people regret taking time beforehand, b/c they were too uncomfortable to go anywhere/do errands, etc. and they ended up just sitting around for a couple of weeks waiting for the baby to come.  Other people were perfectly content to sit with their feet up and watch movies or read books for a couple of weeks.  So, I would say to see how you feel and re-assess each week.  My OB told me at 30 weeks just to say the word and he'd put me on bedrest so I wouldn't have to go to work.  But, since he was content with my work arrangement, and since I was taking my blood pressure at home and feeling good, neither of us ever felt it was necessary.

    My advice:  TAKE AS MUCH TIME OFF AFTER THE BABIES ARE BORN AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!  Has anyone else in the office had a baby within the past couple of years?  If so, what did your employer allow them to do?  And don't hesitate to play the twin card/MMLA rules to get more time.  Does your employer have a written policy about maternity leave?  I will tell you that there is absolutely no way I could have gone back at 12 weeks, and even at 16 weeks, it was hard.  I don't know why your family is encouraging you to limit your time afterwards, but, with all due respect, they have no idea what they're talking about :)  If you can take the time, take as much as you can!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from KT75. Show KT75's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I had a c-section so I believe my companies policy is to pay for 8 weeks.  My company has a great maternity leave policy where you can take up to 6months off and have your position held, you can take an additional 6 months off but not be guaranteed your same position.  We are not allowed to apply any of our vacation time to our leave.  We also have a gradual return to work program within the 1st year of the child's birth.  The benefit of that is that you are allowed to work 3 or 4 days a week.

    I fully agree with Daisy, take as much time as you can!  I took 6 months and then returned 4 days a week - It worked out really well for me.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I haven't spoken to HR yet, but have learned a lot from co-workers.  I get 6 weeks off at full pay (STD I believe) and then 6 weeks unpaid per the FMLA.  I have to use all of my sick days as part of the 6 paid weeks, since it's STD.  I believe I can also use vacation days, but would rather not since I'm due so early in the year.  I'm going to need those for all the doctor's appointments, etc.

    I recently learned that we don't have to set a date for our last day, so I can keep working up until we deliver if I want to.  I'll have to play it by ear because I have a long drive to work and I don't know how I'm going to feel at 35+ weeks.  But I would prefer to work as long as possible so I don't "waste" my leave before the baby comes.

    KAM, it sounds like you got 12 weeks of FMLA in addition to your leave, but I thought the FMLA just allowed for up to 12 weeks?
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I want to work at KT's company.

    I never quite figured out how the short term disability worked in terms of vacation and sick time. I had my baby in January, and when I came back all of my sick and personal days were gone -- eaten up by my disability leave. But I had pro-rated vacation days for the year (minus the 3 months I was out). So now I'm wondering -- if I timed my next one for October, could I use up all my personal and sick time FIRST and then coast through my three months of leave, and get a fresh batch of days at the beginning of the year?
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from SilverFestiva. Show SilverFestiva's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    My company used to give 3 months paid - up until January of this year. Boo. Earlier in the year when I thought I would be on maternity this fall, I was planning on taking the 6 weeks, then working from home 2 days a week for the next 6 weeks and using the remainder of my vacation to cover the rest. there were holidays in there so that was working in my favor. I will plan to do the same when the time comes (maybe Spring 2011?). I do'nt know if the paid is considered short-term disability or not...I think most likely that's the csae.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from KT75. Show KT75's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Lemon, yes I'm very lucky not many people get benefits like that in the corporate world.  Whenever I think about changing jobs I remember that not everyone is as lucky and I need to stay until I am done having babies - haha.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    The Golden Stirrups
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    LOL is that a reference to the golden parachute?

    My SIL has no paid maternity leave at her company even though it seems to be fairly large.  I keep telling her to find a new job now since she's planning on starting a family, probably in the next 2-3 years.  Clearly finding a new job is easier said than done, but I hope she does.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I was thinking "golden handcuffs" but parachute works too.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from dz76. Show dz76's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I am 27 weeks along with twins.  I've decided that I will be going out on leave starting next week. Friday the 30th is my last day.  Since I will be starting to have even more doctor appointments what with the reg. ob, the maternal and fetal medicine people and my non stress test, I don't want to waste my time of in dribbs and drabbs.  I'm pretty sure that I will be able to get the note from my doctor explaining why I need to start my leave early (what a difference from my first, what was supposed to be my last day that time was the first day I was in labor at the hospital). 

    My company has shat sound the be the same STD policy as IPWBride.  So I will have to cover the first 20 biz days (cuz the 30 day deductable period use weekends too) with vacation time and then the disability will kick in at 60%, which is just not alot.  Since my actually delivery date is so up in the air because I'm having twins, I've simply told work I will be returning 8-10 weeks after deliver.  I could take longer (my company would be fine with that) but I can't afford too since a portion of r the 8-10 weeks will be unpaid.

    Stefani - I'm not sure how far along you are but keep in mind that many twin pregancy go out on leave between 28-30 weeks.  I couldn't believe my doctor when she told me that when I was 12 weeks but I am so uncomfortable and tired now, I'm not sure how I'll last another 2 weeks.

    IPWBride - You should double check with HR about when the deduction period starts.  Often with STD for pregnancy there are 2 dates that matter, Date of Disability (the day you stop working) and Date of Delivery.  The deduction period starts on the Date of Disability so your benefit kicks in 30 days after that date but the benefit of 6 weeks start of the date of delivery.  So if you can get a medical note stating you need to stop work say 2 weeks before your due date and your baby cooperates with you you could actually get 4 weeks.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Fram-yes, the FMLA and our policy (6 or 8 wks) are seperate. I was thankful to take off all that time. I actually went back two weeks early to save some FMLA time (it's good for up to a year from the start date) incase I needed to take time off with the baby. I wasn't working for the best boss at the time (she actually wanted a doctor's note saying I gave birth-both HR and my OB laughed off that request-as my no so sharp HR rep put it "we, can all see you're pregnant.") and I feared she'd deny me leave to spend with the baby if sick.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from Lostgrouse. Show Lostgrouse's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I plan on working right up until the baby is born.  Once the baby is born I get the first 6 weeks paid under STD at 60% (after an 8 day waiting period) and then I will be using some of my past comp time for the next 7 or so weeks (I get comp time for working more than 40 hours during tax season so it's saved up).  I have about 13 weeks of comp time right now available and while I would possibly use more, I'll be back at work in January for tax season once again.  I'm saving the other 6 weeks for next summer so I can not work on Fridays again.  
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Brighton1. Show Brighton1's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    I'm planning to take the full 12 weeks off.  I can use STD for 10 weeks at 100% pay and use vacation time for the remaining two weeks.  I'm really hoping to work right up until my due date, but we'll see if that happens!  DH is also planning to take some time off under FMLA, since he can use his extended sick time for the birth of a child. 
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Thanks KAM!  I'm not sure if I phrased my question well.  I thought that FMLA basically says that if your company doesn't have maternity leave, you can take up to 12 weeks off unpaid.  So if your company gave you 6 weeks maternity leave, you could take an additional 6 to get up to 12, not 12 in addition to the 6.  Does that make sense? 
    Maybe it has to do with how your employer handles the mat leave, whether it is STD, etc.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: maternity leave - question, and what is your plan?

    Fram-I think it's all how one's employer interprets the FMLA, and their policies. The fed govt, or the branch I worked for at the time, interpreted it be two different policies that can be combined, not a suplement to existing policy. Worked out extremely well for me, though totally unpaid since the Fed Govt doesn't offer STD.
     

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