Post # 46
mamawifeme : first – i started by recognizing that maternity in the US sucks. Second, even if you can’t stack it, 12 weeks is still far more than the 4 you’re claiming to get. Yes, you only get four PAID, but you can take 12 (and plenty of jobs in the US don’t give ANY paid). If you’re willing to quit while on leave to find a new job, i don’t see how this is amy different from taking the 12 weeks (6 unpaid) that you could take at your current job. It sucks regardless, but if you’re willing to quit during leave then it seems a little absurd to claim you can’t afford to take 6 unpaid weeks.
Daisy_Mae : that’s fair. I didn’t know you couldn’t stack it. Still, that’s 12 weeks that OP can take which is 3x what she is claiming is available to her. She COULD take 12, but she doesn’t want to because it isn’t paid (which i get being upset about, but the post itself is misleading)
Post # 47
livster : that was the most “selective hearing” response. Look, I’m all for better maternity leave. And i 100% understand if you must return to work at 6 weeks because you can’t afford to take time off. My response was actually motivated by the idea that OP said she’s THINKING OF QUITTING HER JOB WHILE ON LEAVE. I’d have been much more sympathic otherwise. But surely if OP can afford to up and quit while on leave, she can afford to just take the unpaid leave?
Post # 48
camenae : It’s too late to purchase my own policy; i’ve looked through them. The one offered by my company will not pay benefits within 9 months of the effective date.
Post # 49
princessandthepear : we should really advocate both. It shouldnt really be one or the other. Mothers need to bond with their babys. Why is it that dosg can not be sold before 8 weeks in order to ensure bonding, however, human babies do not matter in that sense.
Post # 50
The whole US system of PTO sucks. I’m a European living in the States & while I love many things about it, this is one of the major things that is really lacking here.
In most European countries, people get 4-12 paid weeks off, PER YEAR, just for holidays and/or sick leave. No pregnancy required. In N. America, most jobs barely give 2 weeks – and that’s if you’re lucky. This kind of pits Child-Free Workers against Parent Workers, even on a subconscious level. Mothers & fathers aren’t going to get decent child leave while vacation time in general is so stingy because people look after their own interests at the end of the day. It’s unrealistic to expect people with no children to back better maternity/paternity leave policies when they’re not going to get anything out of it (except perhaps more work). It also creates a(nother) work-place bias against women, since they’re usually the ones who need parental time off the most.
What really needs to happen is – ALL workers gotta to band together & demand proper time off for everyone. If your child-free co-worker is guaranteed a good chunk of paid time off as well, they’re going to fight WITH parents for long-term paid/partially paid parental leave. If Child-Free Chris gets 6 weeks off per year, they’re a lot more likely to back Parent Paul’s 3 month leave to bond with their child, right? But people in this country seem to only talk about this when they’re expecting & by then, it’s too late.
Currently in the US there’s a trend of co-workers being asked to transfer some of their PTO to expectant parents as a ‘gift’, placing this responsibility on fellow colleagues rather than on the company. That’s totally unfair & it honestly doesn’t make for goodwill among co-workers, esp. considering American workers get so little PTO in the first place.
Voting is a good place to start but so is trying a grass-roots effort at your company to try & get more PTO for all employees, not just the parents/parents-to-be. My hubby & his colleagues got an extra week by doing research, making a presentation to their board & extoling the benefits of more vacation time. It can happen but everyone’s got to work together.
Post # 51
catskillsinjune : It’s very frustrating when people misintrepret my words. My companys policy specifically says, maternity leave is 6 weeks of week 2 weeks is unpaid during the elimation period. Your are medically ready to return after 6 weeks following a vaginal delivery. We do not provide time off to care for new baby or famiy member. That is the exact language. YES, every employer meeting # of employee standard has FMLA – that is not maternity leave per sa. Also, I NEVER said that I did not want to take FMLA. MY post literally has a question on how FMLA would work. I also, literally said, I want to quit to be in a comapny with better benefits for the future.
Post # 52
What do you do with a four week old baby when you have to return to work? Do day cares take them so young? Is that right such a young baby to be away from its mother for so long during the day?
Post # 53
mamawifeme : i understand being frustrated when people misinterpret your words 🙄
if ive done so, I’m sorry. My response was to your original post, in which you asked nothing about FMLA and mentioned possibly ‘quitting during maternity leave’. I was simply saying that if you’re willing to risk quitting during your leave (which means not getting paid) then you might as well take the full 12 weeks (6 unpaid) to which you are entitled.
As for how FMLA works, the gist is that if your employer has 50+ employees, then you’re entitled to 12 weeks unpaid. If your employer offers paid time off, this is counted against the unpaid 12 weeks. But you still get a minimum of 12 weeks off. If you’re unsure about how this affects you, I’d suggest contacting HR to enquire.
Post # 54
mamawifeme : I feel you! My current company offers no paid maternity leave. Only the 12 weeks of FMLA. The good thing about working there is they seem to value work life balance and are not super strict on work hours. I thought about short term disability but like you have mentioned, you cannot be pregnant the 10 months preceding the start of the policy. Just hang in there for now. I know a couple women who used their time on FMLA to interview for and land new jobs rather than return to their crappy companies.
Post # 55
jannigirl : when women go on mat leave the role is either filled by a fixed term contractor or often it is used for opportunities to promote internally which is actually great for a business – promotes career development and employee retention. in this case you would be in an ‘acting’ position for the period of mat leave cover, you get to earn more & increase your skills, and a temp would cover your position.
Post # 56
jannigirl : the cost to temporarily fill a role is a drop in the bucket compared to what long term employees contribute to their organizations over time. Not only that, but mother’s who return to work after 12 or 18 months of mat leave are bound to be more productive upon their return than a mother of a four week old coming back to work still sore, sleep deprived and hormonal.
Long mat leaves are viewed as a very worthwhile investment in the short and long term. All of society benefits in various ways when parents have the opportunity to spend the first year with their babies.
ETA… not hiring a woman of “childbearing age” is also discriminatory, which is illegal.
Post # 57
Hey Mama Im so sorry you have to stress about this. 4 weeks is simply not enough time. Can you work part time in the beginning? Might be a good way to bring in some income but not have to leave baby for 40+ hrs/week.
Post # 58
from a work standpoint in the UK, the government pays our statutory maternity pay so it doesn’t cost the employer. Some bigger companies will enhance the stat pay which is done at their own cost (difference between stat and enhanced is what they pay) it’s seen as a great benefit which makes your business attractive to top talent.
women can share their maternity leave with their partner as well. She can give them any leave she doesn’t use apart from the first two weeks which are compulsory for her.
we get 10 KIT (keep in touch) days which are optional but can be used to attend training / events / seminars etc and you’re paid your normal wage for those days.
we continue to accrue holiday as well while we’re off and women either use this to extend their leave or to go part time after their return. This would be a basic of 25 days leave plus 8 bank holidays (assuming the full 12 months was taken)
i was able to take 14 months off using holiday on top of leave.
a lot of companies will use mat leaves as an opportunity for someone to step up into the vacant role and then replace at the lower level (cheaper and great talent development) and if the women doesn’t rerun they have already hired the replacement.
nurseries here don’t tend to take infants until 6 months old as it is practically unheard of for a parent to return to work before then.
Nursery costs a bomb here too.
Post # 59
I feel you, OP.
I live in the US, and I have not yet sat down with HR, but from briefly reading through my company’s benefits, I believe I will be able to take at least 10 weeks of paid leave (6 weeks of maternity leave + 4 weeks of family leave). So all in all, I might be able to take 12-16 weeks of paid leave if I include my STO and PTO – IF my company/boss really lets me be away for that long.
And even with that, I am already strugging with the idea of sending a 10-16 week old baby to daycare for 8-9 hours a day. Maybe things will change after having the child (e.g. I just can’t stand being at home and I am dying to go back to work), but at the moment, I become stressed out just thinking about the different situations in my head. On top of that, daycare here is so expensive (close to or over $2000 per month) that my income would essentially be just paying for daycare! And that really makes me wonder if it’s really worth sending my baby off to daycare.
Thankfully, we are financially stable enough that my quitting won’t be a huge impact on our household and I will most likely be able to keep my other job to bring in a tiny bit of extra income (currently I work FT at one company and PT/freelance at another). But at the same time, I specifically moved to current company for better benefits earlier this year and it’s a wonderful company overall and I worked so hard to get here – so the idea of leaving the job is equally painful.
Really wish we didn’t have to stress out about this so much. 🙁
Post # 60
daisy123 : obviously it is illegal as a stated reason. Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen. This is the real world, and it definitely would happen. Not to mention that this seems awfully discriminatory against fathers? Unless, of course, they’re allowed the same benefits?