Some mothers-to-be need the income from their job as well as their husbands. They can’t afford to lose their job position when it is time to deliver the baby. Fortunately, maternity leave allows women to take some time off of work to recuperate from delivery and get used to a new routine with a new baby in the house. If you are expecting, there are a few things you should know about taking maternity leave.
First, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that took affect in 1993 allows women, men, adoptive, and foster parents to take 12 weeks off from work for the arrival of a baby. The leave, however, is unpaid. There is also a catch to this law. Any company that has less than 50 employees does not have to abide by the law. So if you work for a small firm, you aren’t guaranteed the maternity leave. You also have to have been an employee of the company for a full year before maternity leave is granted.
Second, some women qualify for disability during their maternity leave, but the disability is not tacked on to the maternity leave, it is in addition to the maternity leave. So if you qualify for 12 weeks of disability, this will occur during your 12 weeks of maternity leave. Your boss does not have to hold your position for 24 weeks, just the original 12. Keep in mind that the disability payments will not equal your paycheck. Usually they are about 60 percent of your wages.
Third, if you take a few weeks off before your baby is born, this counts as part of your maternity leave. Lets say you use the last 3 weeks of your pregnancy to get ready for the baby instead of going to work. Then you would have 9 weeks remaining to stay home with your baby after he is born.
Fourth, you’ll want to discuss health insurance with your employer. Some employers that normally take money out of your paycheck each week for health insurance will require you to pay that sum during the 12 weeks you have off. That means you’ll be out of a weekly paycheck, and you’ll have to come up with the fee for the health insurance. It is best to plan ahead and save the amount of money you’ll need to cover this time.
Finally, make sure that you request maternity leave in writing at least 30 days before you plan on taking it. Otherwise, your employer doesn’t have to grant the maternity leave.
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