Unpaid Maternity Leave – thoughts?

posted 1 year ago in Career
Post # 16
Member
1499 posts
Bumble bee

American women need to band together and demand better from employers.  A few weeks and often unpaid at that is not ok. 

Post # 17
Member
7422 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Peachytalk :  “American women need to band together and demand better from employers.  A few weeks and often unpaid at that is not ok.”

 

we get a chance to band together and demand better, every two years. We need to get better at voting and also at running for office.

Post # 18
Member
438 posts
Helper bee

My husband’s company offers 6 months paid paternity leave (full pay) and 12 months maternity leave. My company offers nothing. I’d have to take unpaid leave and use vacation/sick time (which would equal about 5 weeks). I always joke that when we have kids, he’ll get more time off than me and I’m the one having the damn baby.

We will be able to afford it because both of our jobs pay well and we have a good cushion in savings but I have no idea how women in the US afford to have babies if they aren’t in a very comfortable financial position or working for a company that offers paid leave. It sucks and makes me SO ANGRY. 

Post # 19
Member
1984 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Horseradish :  Exactly.  There’s one party that supports women- and family-friendly laws, and there’s one that doesn’t.  If you care about yourself or other women and families being able to have any kind of work-life balance, you should vote for the former.  They’re also the party that brought us FMLA, the 40-hour work week, has been *trying* to bring us the Equal Rights Amendment for 50 years, etc.

Post # 20
Member
14900 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

As I understand it, actual paid maternity leave is rare.  Usually it’s covered by 6 weeks of short term disability, which is not the same as maternity leave by can just be used during that time.  Up until 3 years ago, my company had no paid leave, now it has 3 weeks.  Still not much, but it’s something.  So now with the 6 weeks short term and 3 week “real” parental leave, I can get 9 weeks.  Would I have left the company if there was no maternity leave?  No, I had alreayd been with them 9 years and had been TTC for a while knowing there was no leave other than short term.  I wouldn’t base my job choice on this, but it would be a perk (along with other things) I might look for if I were job hunting.

Post # 21
Member
6303 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

UK bee. The bare minimum here is 90% of your average weekly earnings for 6 weeks, then £145 or 90% of average weekly earnings for 33 weeks (whichever is lower). Many employers, particularly education/state health care etc are much more generous and typically pay around 90% for 3 months, followed by 50 for the remaining 3 months. You are guaranteed job security for 6 months, and most offer it for 12 months ie you can take 6 months paid leave followed by 6 months unpaid and come back to a job (though in the case of the latter employers can restructure and do not have to take you back on the same terms/pay).

We have it OK here, but it could still be improved.

FWIW I’m CFBC and generally support maternity leave, or, more specifically, parental leave. Although I think those who remain childfree should have similar benefits ie be allowed to take sabbaticals/travel etc. I also think child care should be much more affordable to lessen the need for parental leave. 

Post # 22
Member
420 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

My company is so small it doesn’t fall under FMLA, but they are a great mom and pop set up so while I wouldn’t have paid maternity leave, I would have job security. My best advice if any Bees don’t have paid maternity leave, the minute you find out you are pregnant (or are going to start trying soon) go into stork mode. Start saving every single penny you can to cover the loss of income during that time.

Post # 23
Member
1360 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Canadian bee here so 1 year  at 55%

Post # 24
Member
491 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

UK bee here, baby due in October. My company offers six months full pay and then I’ll be on government maternity pay for the next three months, which is £145 a week. My job is secure for 52 weeks so there’s the opportunity to take the remaining three months unpaid.  However, job security is often a myth and a woman in my industry recently told me that 40% of women on maternity leave are made redundant in the UK. She herself was made to reinterview for her job within three months of her child’s birth and was made redundant. Hoping that doesn’t happen to me and that I can go back to work part time. I live in London and childcare is very expensive so on the days that I work, my salary will almost entirely be going on nursery fees 🙄🙄 it’s ironic but what can you do! We’re slightly financially better off if I keep working, and once the baby is 3, childcare is free so it makes sense for me to keep working.

 

Post # 25
Member
9325 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

US here. No paid maternity leave here, and I work for a company with otherwise great benefits.

I have short term disability through my employer which covers 6-8 weeks at like 80% I think. And a pretty generous PTO bank I could (and did) use as well.

No I would not quit a job I liked because of it, as long as they allowed me to take time unpaid at least.

Post # 26
Member
1217 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

No maternity leave available for me.  I am FMLA eligible and have 60 sick days and probably about that many vacation days saved up, so I will use that time to make my FMLA time fully paid.  I would probably take another month unpaid if there’s a way to do so, but friends who have tried to do that haven’t had much luck.

Post # 27
Member
1976 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre

I live in Canada where parental leave is paid 55% for one year, some employers top it up.

Post # 28
Member
1003 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I get 16 weeks fully paid, can add PTO on top of that but I likely won’t as husband will be a Stay-At-Home Dad (well, he’s a real estate investor, so he does work, just not a 9-5). I also work from home, so the transition will be easier, though I was 110% clear that I will NOT be watching a baby during the work day and need minimal distractions while I work. As in, I will close my office door and please don’t expect me to be on call to answer questions about bottles, can I change a diaper, etc. It’s not fair to me and my professionalism, my employer, or even just me and my workload.

I turned down a great job that maybe I would like a little better? to stay at this one with the paid maternity leave and great flexibility. 

Post # 29
Member
1003 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

mrandmrsnunes :  My husband is Canadian, but hasn’t lived in Canada since he was 22….more years that he’ll admit. hehe.

Just out of pures curiousity as neither of us want to move to Canada, I asked him what happens if women get pregnant right away, say 3 -5 months after they give birth? do they get 2 (or more and more) years off? Do they have to go back for a certain time in between?

he had no idea – do you? 

Post # 30
Member
13522 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

My jobs offers 16 weeks of fully paid family leave (so maternity/paternity, caring for a sick family member, etc) per year, and allows mothers to take an additional 8 weeks fully paid (STD at 100% of salary ot accrued PTO) with no questions asked. 

Not going to lie, part of the reason I came to the firm was the family leave/work-life balance ideas.  I wasn’t fully set on having kids when I joined the firm, but I also knew that these would be benefits that would help me regardless (caring for sick/ill family members as parents get older).  Now that I’m TTC, I’m very thankful for this benefit.

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