What’s up with our maternity leave?

Ever since I wrote about how to take maternity leave under the FMLA (family medical leave act) when having an unassisted birth and seeing how bad it SUCKS I have been thinking about the why! I am sorry if you work with me and are reading this but heck the United States can be doing so much better than this crap.

Let me start by saying to my fellow families I am so sorry that our government and these huge companies we work for don’t care enough for working families, this goes for dads too to give us a decent amount of maternity leave. The time we are allowed to take off is not enough and doesn’t allow a family to truly begin to bond.

Baby feet with a lipstick kiss on the bottom

What is the FMLA?

According to the United States Department of Labor, “eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.”

Yes, you read that right, we can take time off to guarantee our job is safe when we come back. The downside is you are not obligated to any pay while you are out.

Maternity leave stats

When I sat down to write this post I wanted to ensure I included facts and links for you to check out because well without them it is my option that the maternity leave in the United States just plain sucks! So here we go!

As of 2012, 59% of American employees were eligible under the FMLA. (1) (2). As of 2016, 12 states have enacted no additional laws or programs to support family leave before or after birth.[8] Fourteen states have addressed eligibility requirements by lowering the firm-size threshold from 50 or more employees down to as low as 10 employees. Seven other states have adopted more generous maternity leave lengths that allow longer absences for the purpose of child-rearing.

California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, for instance, operate programs that require private-sector employers to pay their employees who utilize maternity leave at partial replacement rates.[9]New York passed paid family leave legislation, which includes maternity leave, in 2016 — starting off at 8 weeks and 50% of pay in 2018, and reaching 12 weeks and 67% of pay in 2021.[10]

Washington state passed a paid family leave bill in 2007, but it lacked a funding mechanism and has not yet gone into effect. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia designate childbirth as a temporary disability thus guaranteeing mothers paid maternity leave through Disability Insurance (TDI) provisions.[11]

Breaking down FMLA

As you plan your maternity leave you’ll want to ask your human resource department how you need to request the leave and when you’ll need to file the claim. They may ask for proof of pregnancy, see the previous post on FMLA during an unassisted birth if you are going that way.

In my case, I would need to call and file a claim with Liberty Mutual 30 days before my estimated due date. Once I have opened a claim they will then send me paperwork to fill out and send back with a copy of a birth certificate so the claim can be completed.

Additionally, I would be able to take 12 weeks off and have a job when I came back from my maternity leave. But here is the kicker out of those 12 weeks only 6 weeks will be paid, the first one would be unpaid unless I used (PTO) paid time off because it is the processing time.

I want to remind you that under FMLA the company you work for is required to keep your position until you return but there is no laws or rules about being paid for this time. We are the only developed country with really nothing set up for new parents to have time off, be paid and actually be able to enjoy the time bonding with our new children.

We need change!!

How much time did your employer pay for you to be off?

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