targetlover: I’m also a teacher in NJ, so I know this question!!! I’ve already had one LO and have another one on the way.
NJ is one of the few states that has it’s own family leave laws, so it’s different from the rest of the US. You should really, really read up in NJFLA law–my district was NOT interpreting the law correctly until I started reading up on it and actually called the NJ department of family leave in Trenton to ask questions.
If you have disability insurance (I had it through Aflac, but you have to sign up pre-pregnancy) and you give birth during the school year, then NJFLA states that you are first entitled to a disability period for yourself after childbirth, THEN you are entitled to 12 weeks for child rearing. Your disability and child rearing can NOT run concurrently. The fenderal FMLA laws say that CAN run concurrently, but since you are NJ, you get the extra time.
My district previously told everyone that disability and fmla run concurrently and each person gets 12 weeks total. That is not the law.
As far as sick leave, districts vary on this. I have a friend that teaches in another district in NJ and her district allows her to take disability, THEN any sick days she has, THEN 12 weeks child rearing. So she got quite a bit of time off. My district only allows (after I disagreed with them over it) the disability period + the child rearing 12 weeks. You can use your sick days to be paid during the unpaid 12 weeks, but you can’t take additional days, if that makes sense.
Since I just had a child 2 years ago, my leave will work like this: I give birth in August (summer holiday). My “disability period” is decided by my obgyn, who typically signs off on 6 weeks for vaginal and 8 weeks for C sections. This starts immediately after I give birth, regardless of the summer holiday–so I get 6 weeks starting the day I give birth, and will be paid by disability insuracne. Then, I get an additional 12 weeks for NJFLA child rearing which will go until midway through December–only 10 of those days will be paid from my sick days because I only have 10 days banked up since having my last child.
BUT don’t forget NJ’s FLI (family leave insurance). You print the paperwork online and send it in to the state and you get a family leave stiped–it’s like $500 a week for 6 weeks. It’s not a lot, but it’s something! Every person who has worked full time in NJ for 1 year gets to draw from FLI. Your workplaces has to fill out some sections of the paperwork, and you can’t send it in until you give birth.
Hope that helps!