U.S. Paid Maternity Leave

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sugspop's picture
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 1418
U.S. Paid Maternity Leave

I don't want to sound like an advertisement, but I was just looking through my Working Mother magazine and something caught my eye... Here's what it said:

The U.S. is one of only three countries in the world that offer no legal guarantee of paid maternity leave (the other two are Papua New Guinea and Swaziland).

Working Mother is hosting a petition for U.S. paid maternity leave on their Facebook page.

facebook.com/working.mother

I just signed it and thought I would share.

lesleynka's picture
Joined: 04/26/11
Posts: 1845

But don't your employers have to give you 12 wks off by law & then you can get money through your state's disability?

I am not sure that this is true nationwide. That's why I am asking others....what's the policy/options of those of you in states besides CA?

sugspop's picture
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 1418

If the company has less than 50 employees, they don't have to give you any leave! AND, if it is all unpaid anyway, many women can't afford to take the 12 weeks if it is available (and men too!). In NM there is NO state funds or disability available. No assistance whatsoever.

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

"lesleynka" wrote:

But don't your employers have to give you 12 wks off by law & then you can get money through your state's disability?

I am not sure that this is true nationwide. That's why I am asking others....what's the policy/options of those of you in states besides CA?

Or if you work for a non-profit, like me. I get 12 weeks off but its unpaid.

jac81's picture
Joined: 11/22/10
Posts: 1131

"lesleynka" wrote:

But don't your employers have to give you 12 wks off by law & then you can get money through your state's disability?

I am not sure that this is true nationwide. That's why I am asking others....what's the policy/options of those of you in states besides CA?

You are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You and your company has to fit the requirements to qualify for it though. Such as, you have to work a certain amount of hours per week and I believe you have to had been there for at least 12 months and your company has to have a certain amount of employees. I pay for Short Term Disability through my job and that is what I am using for maternity leave, but it only pays a certain percentage of your check and it's only for 6 weeks so the other 6 weeks is unpaid.

lesleynka's picture
Joined: 04/26/11
Posts: 1845

"sugspop" wrote:

If the company has less than 50 employees, they don't have to give you any leave! AND, if it is all unpaid anyway, many women can't afford to take the 12 weeks if it is available (and men too!).

I work at a company w/ under 50. I guess legally they don't have to give me my leave, but they are very family oriented & I get 12 weeks & they don't even have to be consecutive!

And I am like the women that can't afford. In CA you can get 2 wks before & 6 wks after the child is born, but you only get about 50% of your salary. That is why I was thinking I wouldn't be able to take one at all! Luckily, Ed is on hold for a really great job that I think will get us through the pinch.

One more thing that really gets me heated....there are only 2 woman at my job, me & one other that is post-menopausal. This means I am the ONLY woman that can take maternity leave & it's still UNPAID! Grrr.

sugspop's picture
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 1418

"lesleynka" wrote:

I work at a company w/ under 50. I guess legally they don't have to give me my leave, but they are very family oriented & I get 12 weeks & they don't even have to be consecutive!

And I am like the women that can't afford. In CA you can get 2 wks before & 6 wks after the child is born, but you only get about 50% of your salary. That is why I was thinking I wouldn't be able to take one at all! Luckily, Ed is on hold for a really great job that I think will get us through the pinch.

One more thing that really gets me heated....there are only 2 woman at my job, me & one other that is post-menopausal. This means I am the ONLY woman that can take maternity leave & it's still UNPAID! Grrr.

I work at a company with less than 50 employees and they don't have to give you anything. With DS I got 6 weeks unpaid... And, because they are a smaller company, they don't have benefits like short-term disability, that you can use either. I had to pull teeth to get 3 months at 50% salary! That is very "generous!" Companies are not legally obligated to pay anything whatsoever, and most companies do not offer any pay during the leave.

If your leave would be unpaid by your employer, what is this 50% of your salary you are talking about? Is that a state benefit? From my research, CA seems to be one of the few states that offer any pay for new moms on maternity leave. There is certainly no program like that here.

My DH's work offers disability payout to moms, but not dads (yet). He can take up to 12 months off under FMLA, but we can't afford for him to go unpaid for 3 months with me only making 50% of my salary for 3 months.

I think it is CRAZY that we are one of the only countries that doesn't offer PAID ML as a standard benefit! And I think the FMLA laws are a pathetic attempt at supporting families and new moms. I was intrigued by the fact that this magazine is starting a petition and wanted to sign and share. It's time for some changes I think!!!!

HaganBaby's picture
Joined: 10/17/07
Posts: 334

lol, I'm only laughing because when I found out I was pregnant I expected that I would have the wonderful pregnancy benefits I knew that Calif had because I figured everyone would want pregnant people to be that taken care of. When I found out that Alabama basically allows you to have FMLA because THEY HAVE TO and nothing else I got very vocal about my disapproval on facebook.

My brother in law and sister in law both took offense that I AM ALWAYS hating on their state and I should just move back. Then my SIL deleted me lol. I can't say that I care much, but this thread reminded me of that lol.

I had found a website when I first got pregnant that had a break down of what grades states would get for their pregnancy benefits and Alabama had an F lol. I wish I could find it again to share it,

lesleynka's picture
Joined: 04/26/11
Posts: 1845

"sugspop" wrote:

If your leave would be unpaid by your employer, what is this 50% of your salary you are talking about? Is that a state benefit?

Yes, it is part of CA state disability. You can only get it if you pay into it through state taxes taken out of your paychecks. Not all employers pay into it, although most do.

It is very generous about who can use it. You can basically take family leave (men or women) for up to 6 weeks a year to care for family members. It does not just have to be a mother & her newborn.

There are many, many, MANY benefits to living here, but it also needs to be taken into account that this state obviously hands out more than it can afford. =/ We are one of the most broke states in the Union & sinking fast!

fireflies11's picture
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 613

yes, I'm thankful that Oregon has extended 12-weeks (above FMLA) of protected leave to care for a newborn AND they allow the Father to take 12-weeks. So in a two-parent home, you can have up to 36-weeks of one parent home.

I would advocate for more protected leave, but not paid leave by the government. And here is why:

I like that my state gives us the additional protected time AND let's us keep our taxes. I am fortunate that I work for a large company that gives me up to 26-weeks paid disability. But that is a perk that drew me to that company. Many companies use benefits to lure and keep great talent. For the additional 12-weeks of family leave, DH and I saved, saved, saved these past few months and therefore I DO get PAID during this time. I guess it's all how you look at it. I can either trust the government to provide for me by taking my taxes out (forced, not my choice) or I can choose to forgo other things to pay myself (or forgo my maternity leave and go on vacation Smile ). It's been a tight budget for us the past few months (no cable, no "toys", eating out is rare) but well worth it to be able to take my full leave. But I like that WE made that decision, not someone else.

sorry if I sound political....just my thoughts Smile

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I think that's great, but as this is my last baby, I'm kind of annoyed that I have to get screwed with my maternity leave! This is my last baby, so it won't matter to me in the future anyway!!

Veni Vidi Vici's picture
Joined: 03/13/10
Posts: 113

we get a year in canada, you guys are so behind

_Jessicah_'s picture
Joined: 04/21/11
Posts: 1973

I work in West Virginia and we only get the 12 weeks unpaid through FMLA. I even work for the state of WV and don't get any additional "perks". If it wasn't for the 7 weeks of vacation and sick time I have accumulated I would not be able to take more than 2 weeks of maternity as we cannot afford for me to not get paid. It's pretty sad really.

sugspop's picture
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 1418

"fireflies11" wrote:

I would advocate for more protected leave, but not paid leave by the government. And here is why:

It doesn't have to be paid leave by the government! I'm sure that is only one of many options we could discover, if we just thought outside the box. With so many other countries offering paid maternity leave, and usually for at least a year, government taxing individuals for those programs can't be the only way. And, I would much rather my taxes go to care for families (whether that is maternity coverage via insurance or staying home with a newborn) than for the care and "rehabilitation" of inmates in prisons, for instance, but I don't get to choose that.

There are so many studies that show the benefits of parents being home with the babies for the first year, in the long run it would benefit our country and the "businesses" and "economies" that the government prioritizes over families.

When it comes down to it, 12 weeks unpaid to only certain working individuals just doesn't cut it. When I hear of people only taking 2-6 weeks of maternity leave because that is all they can afford, or that is all the PTO they have saved up (which is not an acceptable way either for families to get maternity leave! they should be able to have vacation days and sick days while preparing for baby's arrival), or because they weren't as prepared (surprise pregnancy, financial uncertainties etc.) as some to save up money in exchange for time with their newborn, it makes me really sad and it infuriates me.

I remember what it was like to have to go back to work when my DS was only 6 weeks old, and I will never get that time back. I'm only advocating for options and for this country to put families first for a change.

I just think there has to be a better way and I'm willing to support whatever baby steps make the most sense to start making some changes in these policies. I guess the FMLA was the first step (and that wasn't that long ago that it was created, right? Bill Clinton signed this one into law?), so what's next?

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

"Veni Vidi Vici" wrote:

we get a year in canada, you guys are so behind

Plus an extra 15 weeks on top of that, if you are unable to work due to pregnancy complications!

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

".hilary." wrote:

Plus an extra 15 weeks on top of that, if you are unable to work due to pregnancy complications!

Totally jealous over here lol! I wouldn't take that much time off... but the three months I would dance the happy jig for!!!

Joined: 11/01/07
Posts: 650

"sugspop" wrote:

If the company has less than 50 employees, they don't have to give you any leave! AND, if it is all unpaid anyway, many women can't afford to take the 12 weeks if it is available (and men too!). In NM there is NO state funds or disability available. No assistance whatsoever.

Lurker from Nov 11...
Same here in Ohio. I get 12 weeks, but I am using my own sick and vacation time. No state funds here. I work for the federal govt and get nothing extra.