Unpaid Maternity Leave – thoughts?

posted 1 year ago in Career
Post # 2
9607 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

therobinsparkles :  mine offers paid “sick leave” that’s 90 days long after delivery.. so its close enough to maternity leave.  I also get a month of vacation each year, so I could take 4 months for maternity leave if I wanted.  (Im not sure what I’ll do yet–I need to keep in mind that any actual illness for the rest of the fiscal year wouldn’t get ‘sick leave’ because it’d all be used up for maternity leave, so I need to save some ‘vacation time’ in case if somene gets sick..)

I knew when I was on the job hunt I wanted to get pregnant the first year I was working (didn’t happen cus TTC took longer than expected) and it was important to me that I’d get decent leave and other benefits relating to baby.  (e.g. it gets me on a priority list to a great daycare that’s nearby and less expensive than avg.–even if I change jobs in a year or two, once you’re in you’re in.)  This job doesn’t pay as much as other jobs that would’ve had worse parental benefits, so I guess in a way I already put my money where my mouth was and chose maternity benefits over pay. 

Post # 3
718 posts
Busy bee

I live in Cali, so we have a pretty good state minimum maternity leave -about twelve weeks with partial pay, untaxed. Given the appalling state of affairs in the rest of the country, I really can’t complain.

My employer only does a little better than the state minimum though, and hasn’t kept up with the local market, so I am actually tempted to switch jobs. But there are other reasons (compensation, growth) I want to make the switch. 

Post # 4
2094 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Paid maternity leave is quite rare in the U.S.  That does vary quite a bit from place to place and profession to profession.  But generally, leave is unpaid.  Unfortunately!!

If I could plan it perfectly, I would try to find a job with a great benefit package (include some amount of paid family leave) BEFORE getting pregnant.  Unfortunately my field is very competitive and my state has no requirements on this matter, so most places have no incentive to offer decent leave.  My job doesn’t offer paid maternity leave.  We don’t qualify for FMLA (too small) so they could easily fire me instead of offering unpaid leave *eyeroll*

I’m trying to work out coming back to my job part-time after our baby comes in October.  Due to the nature of my job, continuing a full-time position isn’t an option.  I’m assuming any maternity leave will be unpaid.  We will just live on my guy’s salary, and I’ll use my remaining vacation time (probably only ~2 weeks).  If I come back, I’ve asked for them to continue to pay for half my health insurance premium as they do now.  If not, I don’t think it’s worth it for me (both financially, and also from a personal value standpoint) to come back.  I have a master’s degree and 7 years of experience with this company…. if that’s not worth a bit of benefits, then I’m not interested.

Post # 5
4683 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I’m self employed so I have the option of paying into employment insurance to get paid mat leave or just save up for it. I chose to save up for my mat leave as EI in Canada for mat leave isn’t that great (max 15 weeks) and id have to keep paying into EI after, making me pay MORE than what I was originally getting on leave. Not worth it for me.

Post # 6
2826 posts
Sugar bee

I live in Canada so we get one year partially paid – 55% of your salary is paid by the government – and some employers will top it up. 

If I lived in the states whether or not a company offered overtime would definitely influence my choice of job. Not only because I can’t imagine going back to work after 6 weeks or even 3 months – and think it’s immoral – but because it likely indicates how they treat their employees overall and their female employees in particular. 


Post # 7
669 posts
Busy bee

If you’ve chosen to or had the option to pay into short term disability you can get paid that way while you’re on leave. When I got a job with the county they said in orientation that if there’s any possibility you may be getting pregnant in the next couple years to opt into it. Otherwise most people I know saved up their sick days and vacation days. Pretty rare in the US to have your company pay you during maternity leave. 

Post # 8
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

Wow, I must be luckier than I realized! I am still quite young so I’m not concerned yet with maternity leave, but I do plan to stick around with the company I’m at now. I’m a US bee, and my company offers 10 weeks fully paid maternity leave, plus an additional 6 weeks fully paid “parental leave.” On top of that I get 3 weeks vacation and a week of sick time, so all in I could take 20 weeks of paid leave.

Once Fiance and I start considering pregnancy, if I’m not with my current company anymore, I’d try to make sure I was at a company with decent benefits for maternity leave, but I’m not sure it would be a huge deal breaker if everything else about the job was perfect. Fiance will have a steady good paying job, so if I had to take partially paid/unpaid materntiy leave it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I wouldn’t consider a job with unpaid materntiy leave though if I wasn’t sold on the rest of the benefits/salary/job that were offered.

Post # 9
626 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I’m in the US and other then 3 months job security, there’s really no such thing as paid maternity leave at my company. However they do have short-term disability, for which giving birth is applicable. It’s 2/3 of my salary paid. I’m not sure for how long though, I need to check on this ASAP, lol. 

My previous job (which I quit earlier this year) didnt have any sort of monies available, so I signed up for Aflac short term disability, which I was able to take with me when I left that job. So it’s looking like I’ll be able to cash out on two insurance policies, which should cover me financially for the 3-4months I’ll be out. 

Post # 10
7637 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

therobinsparkles :  mine offers 8 weeks full salary plus short term disability is separate (caps out at $900 week, but because we pay our own premium isn’t taxed). For me payment isn’t as big of an issue as being able to take extra time. 12 weeks is NOT enough and I took 22 weeks with my daughter. If they hadn’t given me the time I likely would have quit and found a new job when I was ready. I plan on asking for 16 next time I get pregnant. 

Post # 12
9175 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

US bee. I get about 6.5 months, fully-paid. I could’ve also taken up to a month off before my due date on full pay, but I took 3 weeks (and LO ended up coming 10 days early, so I really only got a week and a half). After that first 6.5 months, I can use up my vacation days or take as much time as I want unpaid. Very grateful… although dh gets a year off at full pay so he’s the luckier one!

We could handle unpaid leave only from a financial perspective, but I can’t imagine working at a place like that bc of the “wtf really?” factor.

Post # 13
59 posts
Worker bee

As a Scandinavian living in the UK, and expecting to have kids in Scandinavia. This makes me feel so lucky.

Post # 14
6535 posts
Bee Keeper

US Bee who ran a small business, no paid leave, and went back to work part-time two weeks after the birth of my first child, full-time by four weeks post-delivery. I’m so jealous when I hear about months and months of maternity leave paid, so incredibly jealous. 

Post # 15
2539 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

US Bee. My current job offers 12 weeks (3 months) fully paid. I can also use sick time (I get 10 days a year) and vacatoin time (I get 17 days a year) to extend. They also offer an additional 12 weeks unpaid if you want to extend to 6 months. I will probably go for about 4 months (16 weeks) when we have our next baby.

When I had my son 4 years ago, the place I worked at the time did not offer any paid leave, so I was off for 8 weeks unpaid. I was able to make it work but it was difficult. That was also prior to graduating college (I got my undergrad when he was a few months old, had him right before my last semester of college) and so my job at the time was not a “career” type of job. 

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