Unpaid Maternity Leave – thoughts?

posted 1 year ago in Career
Post # 31
4236 posts
Honey bee

kw617 :  You can only start you maternity leave in a certain timeframe around giving birth- like up to a few weeks before your due date/a few weeks after you give birth. But other than that, yes. 

Like, I had a baby in December. I go back to work in January. If I got pregnant now (geez that was horrifying to type), that would give me a February-ish due date. So I could start my year of maternity leave in February.

Post # 32
2636 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I’m an Aussie bee. Here we get government paid maternity leave which covers about 3 and a half months. Businesses have the option to offer their own maternity leave plans, but not many do that these days (I guess their thinking is why would you pay your employees when the government will do it?). If you opt to use the plan offered at your job, you have to forego the government paid plan and vice versa. We can also leave our positions for up to 12 months and our positions must be saved, although it will be unpaid after the government leave has run out (you can use annual leave, long service leave, etc).

I’m actually going on maternity leave in about 5 weeks. I have 5 or 6 weeks in annual leave saved up, so I’ll use 3 weeks between finishing work and baby’s due date. Then I’ll be unpaid until the baby is born and my maternity leave kicks in. I’ll add the extra week or 2 of annual leave onto the end of this, so I’ll get about 4 months paid and 8 months unpaid before I have to go back to work or resign from my position.

Post # 33
253 posts
Helper bee

therobinsparkles :  I have nothing to input on this question. I’m literally just commenting to say…




Post # 34
7910 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I get paid 100% during 6 wk of maternity leave, but pay structure is such tht i’ll lose out a bit when i come back still.

I never considered mat leave policy in choosing my work. I’m lucky to be paid well enough that I can take a temp loss of income. I guess the decision to leave a job with no paid mat leave would depend on financial situation and pregnancy plans timing.


Post # 35
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I am offered 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave, I can save up vacation which is a little over 3 weeks but that’s it. I am the bread winner in my marriage and my husband’s salary would not support our bills for a long amount time. 

I’m in the US.

Post # 37
4060 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

kw617 :  you have to have worked the equivalent of about 4-5 months full-time in the last 12 to qualify for mat leave benefits. So you’d likely come back from mat leave early, work 4-5 months (varies by region), and then go back on.

Post # 38
6100 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

The place I was working when we had our first child didn’t offer paid maternity leave- despite the fact that it was an organization with a lot of wealthy clients, was a spiritual center AND purported to be so much about compassion, etc. (*ahem- bullshit) 

My current employer offers fully paid maternity AND paternity leave because the CEO and leadership team say that it’s important to support families and staff members with famiies. I’m not sure how much time it is- I think around 4 months and then I can make use of my accrued vacation time which is currently 5 weeks a year. I’m really appreciative. It makes a significant difference in how I’ve approached my thinking of having an additional child.

It’s challenging to say that I wouldn’t ever work for a place that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave because I know that not everyone has that option or choice, but I certainly wouldn’t be loyal to them or feel any compunction about not returning after taking my leave which is what I did the first time. It was going to cost more to put the baby in daycare, do the commute, pay the tolls and gas etc. than to just stay home with him so I quit. (*side note- I know that this can cause repercussions for some work places so it’s not something I necessarily advocate)

Post # 39
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

US bee here, no paid leave but I’ve been saving my PTO for over a year now. In addition to PTO I get “extended illness days” which accrue at a slower rate but can be used during maternity leave. I think when baby boy comes I should have about 5 weeks paid leave. I might see if my job will let me use 32-35 hours PTO per week to spread it out a little longer. We also started a separate “baby savings” when I found out I was pregnant, so we’ve just about saved up the 6 weeks of pay I’ll be missing.  My husband gets 2 weeks paid paternity leave, so that’s nice. 

Post # 40
1185 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

US bee here – my company offers 2 weeks paid 100%, then short term disability for 6 weeks and we can use PTO after that. If we don’t have enough PTO, FMLA covers until the 3 month mark unpaid for the remaining time.

My husband gets 3 months paid. I have friends who have 1 year paid. They work at the Gates Foundation. I have a client who pays 100% for 3 months. I’m actually shocked that my company, as large as it is, has such crappy maternity benefits. I am seeing a big shift, at least in this area  A lot of organizations seem to be re evaluating and improving their benefits  

Post # 41
5821 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’m in the US and paid maternity leave is pretty much standard in my industry. I got 16 weeks fully paid and I wouldn’t consider an employer offering less than 12 weeks. It infuriates me that women in the US have to deal with this bullshit.

Post # 42
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I guess I didn’t realize just how lucky I am. I am a U.S. bee and I get 5 months of paid maternity leave, plus I could use my sick and vacation time for another 7-8 weeks. My company also offers ramp back, where you can would half time of 3/4 time for 6 weeks following your maternity leave.  

I would hate to work anywhere that didn’t have similar benefits, and my heart really goes out to anyone who has to go back to work after only a few weeks. 🙁 

Post # 43
828 posts
Busy bee

I live in NYC. As of 2018, employers here have to offer 20 weeks paid to the primary caregiver and 12 to the secondary. Prior to this law passing, my job offered 12 paid weeks for primary and 3 for secondary with no gender discrimination. We had a guy in IT take primary parental leave (his wife didn’t get leave, so he qualified) and no one so much as blinked. We also get minimum three weeks of vacation, 6 personal days, and sick time as needed. No one tracks PTO, either, so it’s kind of on the employee to follow the rules. 

Post # 44
1580 posts
Bumble bee

Never heard of it…but seriously I was sitting with 2 male coworkers the other day.  1 says to the other, “It would be so rad if they actually gave us paternity leave.”  The other guy sits for a second then says, “Wait, we don’t get paternity leave??”  1st guy says, “No dude, and there’s not actually real maternity leave either.  It’s just cashing in your sick days and then applying for FMLA.”


Post # 45
10651 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

American companies really need to smarten up.  Darling Husband was working for a company and his division was bought out by an American company, they really had nothing in Canada before that.  They paid more than it was worth too.  They hadn’t done their research – both in the industry here, complaining about things like lack of central places (rural means rural here, our cities and small towns aren’t surrounded by large numbers like in the US) and benefits.  There was lots of grumbling at head office about ‘she’s been gone HOW LONG?!’ and BS like that regarding a few Canadian employees on parental leave – they were lucky that they didn’t come into legal issues with some of the comments being made.

They since left, selling at a big loss.

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