Author Topic: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy  (Read 2121 times)

Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
"Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« on: January 18, 2018, 11:50:14 AM »
My wife and I are thinking about starting to try to have a kiddo in the next year or so, and so we wanted to dig through all of her employers paperwork to make sure we have all our ducks in a row (changing healthcare plans from cheap to better pregnancy/delivery care, higher FSA contributions, etc), and one thing we noticed is that she doesn't have a standard "short term disability" but rather a "Paid Sick Time" policy that seems very close to STD.

To be eligible, she needs to submit a note from her doctor every 21 days during the "sick time" indicating that she still can't work. If she has a normal, vaginal delivery, how long will a doctor give her? This will be our first mini mustache, so some quick googling shows everything between 6-12 weeks.

The only reason we really care is because at this point, she is eligible for 8 weeks at 60% pay during her "Paid Sick Time" and then up to another 19 weeks of $150 a week, which won't even cover the health insurance premiums!

If we wait to deliver the kiddo until March 1st, 2019 she will be eligible for 12 weeks at 60% pay.

At this point, we're leaning towards waiting until late summer to try to conceive so she can get another month's worth of pay, BUT if doctor's will only give her the approval for "paid sick time" between 6-8 weeks anyways, then it wouldn't matter and she would have to either go back to work or go on unpaid FMLA if we delivered prior to March 2019.

Any thoughts or experiences appreciated!!
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 11:52:21 AM by Mgmny »

MrsWolfeRN

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 641
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2018, 12:33:36 PM »
Does your wife have vacation that she can use after the paid sick time runs out? I only got 5 weeks of disability (I have a week waiting period before STD kicks in) but was able to accumulate 7 weeks of PTO to get a 12 week leave. I had C-section the first time and vaginal the second time and the amount of STD didn't change. I think 6 weeks is standard and you only get more if you have major complications.


Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 12:46:49 PM »
Does your wife have vacation that she can use after the paid sick time runs out? I only got 5 weeks of disability (I have a week waiting period before STD kicks in) but was able to accumulate 7 weeks of PTO to get a 12 week leave. I had C-section the first time and vaginal the second time and the amount of STD didn't change. I think 6 weeks is standard and you only get more if you have major complications.

She does, but only 12 days a year for now. And we're already using 8 of them this fall for a trip to Italy, so she really won't have much left for the pregnancy. We're not really concerned about the time off aspect, but wondering if it makes sense to wait to have the baby in March 2019 if we can get another 4 weeks of "Paid sick time."

You're thinking that most doctors would just approve 6 weeks though anyways? If that's the case, she already has 8 weeks of "Paid Sick Time" available to her, so we don't need to wait until March to get another 4.


kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 626
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2018, 12:52:07 PM »
6 weeks is utterly standard. Most doctors won't even blink at 8 weeks as 'sick'. 

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6297
  • Location: United States
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2018, 12:58:03 PM »
Most doctors (around here at least) won't write off more than 6 weeks after a vaginal delivery; but that is the standard in the US, so I don't think you'd get less. You aren't sick or disability after that point unless there are complications.  Her doctor might write her out of work before the delivery though if she has discomfort.


but wondering if it makes sense to wait to have the baby in March 2019

Man, people who can plan their deliveries to the month baffle me.  You're lucky if you are able to get pregnant exactly when you intend to, and then the baby comes exactly when you expect.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 01:08:24 PM by iowajes »

tyrannostache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2018, 01:17:47 PM »
Does her employer put any parameters around how long she can use the "Paid sick time" for different types of deliveries? It's worth an inquiry to her benefits manager. For STD, mine allowed 6 weeks for vaginal birth, 8 weeks for c-section.

As for what a doctor will approve, I'm assuming most are willing to sign for whatever length works best for you. When I brought my STD forms for my OB to sign, she asked me what dates I wanted to put on them. Since I was only eligible for STD at 60% pay for the first 6 weeks after delivery, I just chose a date 6 weeks out.

FWIW, my employer offers 2 weeks of paid parental leave, then you can use any accumulated vacation. In my case, I got about 7 weeks total at full pay (6 weeks of 60% STD, supplemented 40% by sick time accrued, then 1 week of accumulated vacation), then nothing for 6-8 weeks. I went back part-time when baby was about 15 weeks old, and was back to full-time by 18 weeks or so when DH took a several weeks of unpaid FMLA leave on his own to care for the new babe. We just made a point of setting aside some cash in savings to make up for both unpaid leaves. It was really nice to be able to ease back in to work at my own pace.

Like others have said, you can't exactly plan when you conceive or deliver. Honestly, if you can manage to save up to cover the difference, I don't think it's worth it to attempt to plan such a major, uncertain life event around a potential difference of 2-4 weeks of partial pay.

Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 01:37:11 PM »


but wondering if it makes sense to wait to have the baby in March 2019

Man, people who can plan their deliveries to the month baffle me.  You're lucky if you are able to get pregnant exactly when you intend to, and then the baby comes exactly when you expect.

Well, it's pretty easy/simple to NOT have the baby BEFORE March 2019 which is when more "Paid sick time" becomes available. We wouldn't shoot for March, but rather not start to try until March 1st happens before an anticipated delivery. So, we aren't trying to nail down a month, but rather not start trying until 9 months from a month (it could take a year to get pregnant or longer, who knows!), because if we get the extra paid sick time (sounds like we won't), then it's worth like $3500 to us to wait until August of this year to start trying rather than starting in May or June like we originally considered.


Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2018, 01:46:00 PM »
Does her employer put any parameters around how long she can use the "Paid sick time" for different types of deliveries? It's worth an inquiry to her benefits manager. For STD, mine allowed 6 weeks for vaginal birth, 8 weeks for c-section.

No. It's all based on a doctor's note that has to be re-issued AT LEAST every 21 days during the "Sick Time". The policy doesn't even mention pregnancy or any other types of specific illnesses or diseases. The only requirement was a doctor's note indicating she can't work for "x" days which has to be updated every 3 weeks during the sick time.

As for what a doctor will approve, I'm assuming most are willing to sign for whatever length works best for you. When I brought my STD forms for my OB to sign, she asked me what dates I wanted to put on them. Since I was only eligible for STD at 60% pay for the first 6 weeks after delivery, I just chose a date 6 weeks out.

FWIW, my employer offers 2 weeks of paid parental leave, then you can use any accumulated vacation. In my case, I got about 7 weeks total at full pay (6 weeks of 60% STD, supplemented 40% by sick time accrued, then 1 week of accumulated vacation), then nothing for 6-8 weeks. I went back part-time when baby was about 15 weeks old, and was back to full-time by 18 weeks or so when DH took a several weeks of unpaid FMLA leave on his own to care for the new babe. We just made a point of setting aside some cash in savings to make up for both unpaid leaves. It was really nice to be able to ease back in to work at my own pace.

Like others have said, you can't exactly plan when you conceive or deliver. Honestly, if you can manage to save up to cover the difference, I don't think it's worth it to attempt to plan such a major, uncertain life event around a potential difference of 2-4 weeks of partial pay.

Well, we figured if a doctor would give us 12 weeks of pay, planning to wait until August to start trying instead of starting in May was worth like $3500 of pay. In our opinions, waiting 3 months to start trying is worth $3500. However, it sounds like 6 weeks is pretty much the max/standard that we'll get barring any complications, so we should be set with the 8 weeks offered to her through her policy.

Her company offers no maternity leave whatsoever other than this "Paid Sick Time" and the law-enforced unpaid 12 weeks of FMLA. My wife might choose to do the full 12 weeks of FMLA regardless, but if the doctor only gives her an "excuse" for 6 weeks, then she will only get paid for the 6 weeks regardless of how much longer she takes.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6297
  • Location: United States
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2018, 01:52:20 PM »
Your doctor may write the note as "off work" for family bonding time, since the doctor also has to do the FMLA paperwork.  But it is unlikely they would write it as sick/disability; she COULD go back to work.

Have you asked her HR how they handle pregnancy? Unless it is a tiny company, your wife can't be the first pregnant woman

wordnerd

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 898
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2018, 02:38:12 PM »
Yes, 6 weeks for vaginal, 8 for C-section is standard. Depending on your doctor, they feel comfortable writing more. My provider was willing to write a note suggesting I get 12 weeks off in order to support the breastfeeding relationship with my son, but wouldn't say I was "sick." So, I got 6 weeks.

Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 02:42:24 PM »
Your doctor may write the note as "off work" for family bonding time, since the doctor also has to do the FMLA paperwork.  But it is unlikely they would write it as sick/disability; she COULD go back to work.

Have you asked her HR how they handle pregnancy? Unless it is a tiny company, your wife can't be the first pregnant woman

Thanks!

She hasn't asked HR. She's thinking about asking a coworker that has had a couple of children while employed there. She's the only female in the company that does her job (out of maybe 50 or so men) and the only one in her territory that does her job, so I don't think she wants to alert her HR that she is considering getting pregnant. Although illegal, it could still negatively impact her - especially if we don't actually decide to start trying for awhile anyways. 

Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 02:43:27 PM »
Yes, 6 weeks for vaginal, 8 for C-section is standard. Depending on your doctor, they feel comfortable writing more. My provider was willing to write a note suggesting I get 12 weeks off in order to support the breastfeeding relationship with my son, but wouldn't say I was "sick." So, I got 6 weeks.

Thanks! sounds like the consensus is that there is no reason to wait to be eligible for 12 weeks! Thank you!

BuildingmyFIRE

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
  • Location: North of the Wall
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2018, 03:34:29 PM »
I might go against the grain on this one.  I would wait actually until she has vacation time saved up again. Pregnancy is weird and affects every woman's body differently.  You don't yet know how her body is going to react, and what complications might arise, (though I hope none obviously)!  Seriously consider waiting until she can take sick days to use during her pregnancy.  The laws in this country are breathtakingly bad.

pegleglolita

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 03:40:39 PM »
Good grief the US is seriously effed up when it comes to maternity/parental leave.  Sad! 

AmberTheCat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 04:52:55 PM »
i remember when i had my first two I thought i'd talk my doc into signing something where i could use all of my accumulated sick leave. I  worked for a small govt entity that was too small for FLMA  but generous with sick leave.

doc would only sign for 6 weeks sick leave both times.  I was able to negotiate more time off (2 weeks both times) with company using a combo of vacation hours and no pay.  Enjoy that trip to Italy! now's the time to travel; then start saving up vacation days! good luck. 
not young, but newbie here!

Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2018, 06:29:50 AM »
I might go against the grain on this one.  I would wait actually until she has vacation time saved up again. Pregnancy is weird and affects every woman's body differently.  You don't yet know how her body is going to react, and what complications might arise, (though I hope none obviously)!  Seriously consider waiting until she can take sick days to use during her pregnancy.  The laws in this country are breathtakingly bad.

This is probably good advice for most workers, but she is in a pretty good place if she ever gets sick. As I mentioned before, she's the only one in the region that does her job, so she has a ton of autonomy and creates her schedule most days. She's in sales, so she's either working from home or visiting her customers locally/regionally and maybe goes into their regional office 1-2x per week. If she gets sick, she can just re-arrange her schedule, which is INCREDIBLY convenient for her and REALLY makes up for the fact that she only gets 10 days of vacation a year.


Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2018, 06:31:32 AM »
Good grief the US is seriously effed up when it comes to maternity/parental leave.  Sad!

Very true - her company has a really bad maternity leave policy. The majority of her company's workforce is hourly warehouse and manufacturing jobs, so their time off policy and maternity policy definitely leaves something to be desired.

Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2018, 06:33:55 AM »
i remember when i had my first two I thought i'd talk my doc into signing something where i could use all of my accumulated sick leave. I  worked for a small govt entity that was too small for FLMA  but generous with sick leave.

doc would only sign for 6 weeks sick leave both times.  I was able to negotiate more time off (2 weeks both times) with company using a combo of vacation hours and no pay.  Enjoy that trip to Italy! now's the time to travel; then start saving up vacation days! good luck.

Thanks! Her "Paid Sick Time" policy also "reserves the right to a second opinion by another doctor." So, if 6 weeks is industry standard, and we get a super friendly/nice doctor who gives her 12, the company very well could have her go to a "normal" doctor and for a second opinion. I think we're just going to assume they will give her 6 weeks at this point, and if she takes more time off we'll just go with unpaid FMLA.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6297
  • Location: United States
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2018, 07:26:56 AM »
Make sure your wife is eligible for FMLA.  I work for a company of 2,000 people, but my location isn't actually eligible.  (Thankfully my company doesn't suck, and they offer what they call "FMLA-like" leave).  A large portion of US workforce isn't actually eligible, and that catches many people by surprise. 


Mgmny

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2018, 09:35:44 AM »
Make sure your wife is eligible for FMLA.  I work for a company of 2,000 people, but my location isn't actually eligible.  (Thankfully my company doesn't suck, and they offer what they call "FMLA-like" leave).  A large portion of US workforce isn't actually eligible, and that catches many people by surprise.

This is super interesting. do you know any background on it? Her employee handbook has a section on FMLA, so i would assume she's eligible (it doesn't say otherwise?). The handbook also describes a process for requesting a Leave of Absence so, worst case we go that route if she wants a few extra weeks of unpaid leave.


mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5396
Re: "Sick Leave" for Wife after Pregnancy
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2018, 06:23:55 PM »
Make sure your wife is eligible for FMLA.  I work for a company of 2,000 people, but my location isn't actually eligible.  (Thankfully my company doesn't suck, and they offer what they call "FMLA-like" leave).  A large portion of US workforce isn't actually eligible, and that catches many people by surprise.

This is super interesting. do you know any background on it? Her employee handbook has a section on FMLA, so i would assume she's eligible (it doesn't say otherwise?). The handbook also describes a process for requesting a Leave of Absence so, worst case we go that route if she wants a few extra weeks of unpaid leave.
It's based on the size of the company and the number of employees at your particular location.  Employer must have 50+ employees within a 75 mile radius.

Also she has to have worked 1250 hours in the 12 months prior.

6 weeks after is standard, and often 4 weeks before, depending.