Post # 1
- Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island
Hi all. I am 8 weeks pregnant and planning on taking 3-4 months off from my job for maternity leave. I work for the federal government and I have all the leave that I need already saved up. So I’ll be paid and not have to worry about anything on that front. I’ve also held the position for 3 years and received a promotion every year. I know they really value me. However, here’s the problem.
I just got accepted to a year long training program. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time and was finally eligible to apply for this year. When I applied, I wasn’t pregnant yet. Now that I’ve been accepted, I immediately went to the program manager and explained that I’m pregnant and wondered how this would/could affect my participation in the program. At first, she said it wasn’t an issue at all and that other women have done it. Then today I got an e-mail request for a meeting where she expressed concern about my ability to complete the program without having to jump over too many major obstacles. I’m confused at the flip flop and now I don’t know how to proceed.
I’m thinking of saying that I am very committed to participating in as many events as I can (which is true). Is it reasonable for her to ask me to come in to the office for a day here and there during my 3 months maternity leave? I think that’s what she’s going to say. Some of the sessions are formal classroom trainings, and I’m hoping I can just log in remotely to participate in those. But I guess I just want to know if you think it’s reasonable for me to have to come in to participate in person. Can an employer even ask you to do this? This is my first baby so I don’t know what kind of shape I’m going to be in and if it’ll even be feasible for me to come in. Any experience or advice you can share would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Post # 2
I would look into the medical leave laws in your state, in Michigan you are able to take up to 12 weeks if you meet the requirements.
Post # 3
- Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island
KateriPetrie: FMLA says I can take 12 weeks. I know I’m not going to get fired for taking maternity leave. That’s not the issue.
I am afraid that they’ll kick me out of the training program since I’ll be gone for a quarter of it. I’m trying to find a way to stay in the program, and I think that means coming in to the office for about 6-8 events over the course of the 3 months I’ll be out.
Post # 4
Christy42213: I wouldn’t worry about until you speak with the manager. I would take a hard look at what is best for you and your family’s future. It may mean giving up this training opportunity until a future point. If it is a yearly program, what would be the concequenses of putting it off one year.
Post # 5
It is a reasonable request for your supervisor to want you to attend in-person training occasionally. It’s also reasonable of you to decline and enroll in this program at a later date.
The program itself probably has minimum attendance requirements and if you can’t meet those, then you won’t pass.
The logistics of an instructor managing in-person participants with dial-in/remote users is detrimental to all. In most cases, course materials (especially interactive ones) should be done in a single format: either everyone remote/dial-in or everyone in person. While you can (and should) still ask if you can participate remotely, don’t be surprised if the answer is No. The instructor should have final say on that, and if in their judgment it would take away from the in-person students to have the instructor also have to manage remote attendees, then you will either need to come in to the office for those events or enroll at a later date.
As for the flip flop, it may not be a flip flop at all. You may be at a different point in your pregnancy and new motherhood than other women at certain key milestones (maybe the other women had their babies earlier and their children were older and better able to be left in someone else’s care for these events, for example) or maybe the course materials, delivery, or government requirements have changed. I would not take this personally or assume I had been singled out.
Post # 6
Christy42213: Hey, best guess based upon my experience:
Your FMLA will cover your employment, and hold your position, per what you wrote! The participation in the program you applied for, and have been accepted would probably be (for lack of better words) compared to if you were going to school while pregnant, and thereafter. There may be options for you to participate from home, but it may require you to attend class…etc. I think if your boss recommends participating in the program while you are on maternity leave, it would be the only way for you to finish the program…
My best friend finished a 9-month training program (while working) to advance her career in our field. She had her baby, and spent her entire maternity studying for the State Boards. She was balancing being a new mom, and being at the library, making notecards, going to study sessions, etc. She took the test a week before her maternity leave ended, and came back Licensed, etc. She chose to apply for the program, of which the company paid for, and therefore had one shot to pass the exam on the company’s dime (or else she would need to front the money). It was for her career, but not her career/position, so she needed to do those things during her leave 🙁
Post # 7
I think it would actually be pretty generous of them to allow you to continue in the program at this point. If you want to complete the program now I would just attend the few days, if that is what your boss asks of you. If not, the maybe delay the program until after you are back from leave.
Post # 8
Horseradish: <—–What she said. I work for the federal government as well (and have had 2 kids since coming to work here). I would either give up my slot or go in occasionally to keep up with the class.
Post # 9
I don’t see anything wrong with this…it isn’t a requirement of your job, it’s a requirement of an optional training session you chose to sign up for. If they need you to come in, and you don’t want to, then just push the training. It’s not necessarily ideal, but I’d argue that if everyone else has to be there it’s not fair to them that you don’t.
Post # 10
Horseradish: +1 All of this.
I see training as school. While there are provisions to make reasonable requests, no one can demand that an instructor who teaches her class in a physical classroom should set up an online version. It’s not fair to anyone involved. That’s why people who can’t attend the class need to find an alternate class or push off the timeline. (Or suck it up and go.) This is especially true in training classes, at least in my experience. A lot of my training classes had a practical element to them (ie recognizing physical hazards, using a fire extinguisher).
You don’t have to go to the training, but recognize that you wouldn’t get an automatic pass. Just talk to the manager and see what your options are.
Post # 11
The only thing that would give me pause is the technicalities surrounding coming and going with work during a regulated medical leave. There is a lot of legalities and red tape surrounding that. I was recently out of work on medical leave and it was an absolutel nightmare to come back on a reduced schedule. Talk with HR more about how that would work before making a decision.
Post # 12
- Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island
crayfish: Can you elaborate on what technicialities you faced?
Post # 13
Christy42213: I echo crayfish. I was told I absolutely could not work while on maternity leave due my being on disability leave. I would check with HR. I hope everything works out.
Post # 14
I may not be so helpful here seeing as I am not US. However, I know that the UK has certain limitations regarding work during maternity leave. If you come in too many times during your leave, your leave is then considered to be over, and you are expected to return to work full time… I would check to make sure that this would not apply to you.
Post # 15
FloridaGatorBride: crayfish: Excellent point and OP definitely should check into this because the very act of going to training can be seen as “working” (because it is in the workplace for your employer, etc) which may void your leave. I do not know how it works with FMLA so you really need to look into this.
My sister is a technical trainer for a city government and there was a big issue when a firefighter got injured on the job. He was to be re-trained into an IT professional role. But because he was going to employer-furnished classes, it actually violated his workman’s comp. They had to get the unions and the city counsel involved to re-write the charter of career retraining and it wasn’t a fast process.