Author Topic: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave  (Read 3970 times)

MrsCoolCat

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FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« on: September 21, 2016, 07:38:37 AM »
Hi everyone! I wanted to know ur opinions on maternity leave regardless of paid or not especially when you are not FI? For those that decided to SAH was it worth it? Was it hard to get back into the work force afterwards? I'm curious. I may very well have a situation (but in Feb 2017) where I have to decide what's more important. First few months with my firstborn and probably having a Scarlet Letter in terms of jobs afterwards or my career & just see my baby whenever I can like most hardworking 9-5 parents. I understand we all got bills to pay. Thank you in advance for ur opinions.

ender

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 07:43:08 AM »
Are you FI?

Every situation is slightly unique. Every person/family has different priorities. Nearly every field is different for "getting back into it."


mm1970

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 09:37:56 AM »
There are so many things that go into it.  There's a recent thread on here about it.

What I recommended to my friends is to plan to go back.  And to go back.  Because, in my opinion, it is *way* easier to quit later than it is to go back later.

As far as mat leave goes, in CA you are entitled to:
4 weeks before the birth (PDL, partially paid)
6 weeks after the birth (PDL, partially paid) - 8 weeks for c-section
12 weeks after PDL ends (CA family leave) - 6 weeks of which are partially paid by PFL.

I'd recommend that folks who can (work for a large enough employer) actually plan for the full time off.

I took 13.5 weeks with #1 and 11 with #2 (though I went back PT at 9 weeks, 2 of those were before he was born).  I was itching to get back into work a little bit.

Some people start back and are miserable.  You don't know which one you are going to be.

mm1970

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 09:38:44 AM »

catccc

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2016, 10:33:32 AM »
I stayed home w/ my first after taking my 12 week paid maternity leave.  (I highly suggest taking your paid leave regardless of your intentions.  My sister planned on staying home with her twins for a year, but turns out she really missed her job and went back after they were a few months old.  IMO, maternity leave is a time to figure out if you are going back or not, because the reality might be different than the intent.  At least that's how I justified taking nearly 3 months and not going back...) 

After a little over a year, I was back to work.  In late 2009, no less, which was not a good time to be looking for work, if you recall.  But I'm highly employable in an in-demand field, accounting.  Being out for a year was not an issue.  I took consulting work after a year before finding a permanent position.  It was very easy to explain to potential employers that I'd been home with my baby as a personal choice, but I have been doing consulting work as my schedule allowed, and was ready to go back to a permanent position.  I took the months off of my resume, so nobody knew unless they asked for specifics that I'd really been not working for a year and consulting for just the last couple months.

With my second, I went back to work, but I really milked that FMLA for all it was worth.  I used my 6 weeks of short-term disability pay, then 2 weeks of saved vacation time, which accounted for 8 of my 12 weeks of FMLA.  Then I went back to work 3 days a week for a month or so, then 4, and then eventually back to 5, using my remaining 4 weeks of FMLA intermittently to make the unpaid days off each week "allowable" by HR.  I would actually just submit my hours to HR so they knew how much to pay me, and how much FMLA I had left.  It was pretty much perfect, and a great taste of what FI and part time working might be like.

I wouldn't take my SAHP time back for anything.  I really loved being home with my first.  It was a sacrifice for sure to not work in a bad economy, not to contribute to retirement plans when things were on a super sale, and to go from my family making about $100K to making about $20K.  (My salary at the time was $80K, DH continued working and made between $20K-$25K.)  Luckily, we planned for this and lived on his income alone for about a year before baby's arrival.  So during my year off, we did not spend a penny of our savings or investments.

What do you do?  Might there be some flexibility with your employer after baby arrives for an alternative schedule or part time work?

erutio

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2016, 10:47:33 AM »

Is this your first? If it is, I can pretty much guarantee how you feel now will be different than how you feel after you deliver and go home.   And how you feel when you first get home and when you've been home for awhile may be different also.  Part of mustachianism is being flexible and being willing to adapt, and if you have different options, keep them open.

Anyways, congratulations, and welcome to the journey!

little_brown_dog

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2016, 10:56:45 AM »
I went on 12wk mat leave and then quit to be a SAHM - never returned to full time work. My job was just not conducive to the type of parent I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live (stressful, long commute, required baby to spend long hours in daycare). Now a year later, I'm back doing really part time work (a few hours a week) for one of my old teams. It's remote work so I can do it while the baby naps. Everyone wins - I'm making a little money, still in the workforce, the team gets extra help from an experienced person, and I still get the SAHP life.

My recommendation is to plan to take the standard FMLA 12 week mat leave and see how it goes. You can't really know for sure if you want to be a SAHM before you are responsible for caring for a baby 24/7. If by 6-8 weeks you are feeling that you like the SAH life, then give your team plenty of notice and just tell them you had a change of heart. Leave graciously with lots of compliments and well wishes, and let them know that if they need any help in the future that they should keep you in mind.

mm1970

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 02:04:29 PM »
I went on 12wk mat leave and then quit to be a SAHM - never returned to full time work. My job was just not conducive to the type of parent I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live (stressful, long commute, required baby to spend long hours in daycare). Now a year later, I'm back doing really part time work (a few hours a week) for one of my old teams. It's remote work so I can do it while the baby naps. Everyone wins - I'm making a little money, still in the workforce, the team gets extra help from an experienced person, and I still get the SAHP life.

My recommendation is to plan to take the standard FMLA 12 week mat leave and see how it goes. You can't really know for sure if you want to be a SAHM before you are responsible for caring for a baby 24/7. If by 6-8 weeks you are feeling that you like the SAH life, then give your team plenty of notice and just tell them you had a change of heart. Leave graciously with lots of compliments and well wishes, and let them know that if they need any help in the future that they should keep you in mind.
Pretty much this!

Stress and a long commute, work flexibility - those are the real kickers for me.  I would quit before dealing with a long commute or highly stressful job.

SisterX

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 02:42:28 PM »
Whatever you choose, just don't beat yourself up about it. I felt so, so guilty when I went back to work and ignored the moments of relief that actually being at work gave me. When I had the chance to be a SAHM I took it. Then I realized, I don't actually love it. Now I've gone back to part-time work and realized that, even if all I do is make enough to pay for childcare (although I'll be making a little bit more) it's worth it to me. (Convincing my spouse was a little bit harder, but not much.)

This question comes up all the time and the truth is that you won't know the answer for you until after you have the kiddo. I know, it sucks to have that uncertainty. I'm sorry. Take the leave that's available to you after having the kid, and use that time to decide what you want. Just, whatever you do, don't ever feel guilty (or let others make you feel guilty) for your choice. The only person besides you who gets a say in this decision is your spouse/partner. There's no shame in wanting more time with your baby or in wanting to go back to work and feel like yourself for a few hours a day. I don't think that asking others for their experiences will help much because, in the end, you are not them. Their experiences are not yours. Only you can decide, and it depends on so many factors that you just don't know yet. Relax for now and take your leave. If you can't bear the thought of going back at the end of your leave, then don't. If you find that going back to work is a bit of a relief (it's very, very hard to be the everything for another human being all day every day) then do that.

Good luck.

MrsCoolCat

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 09:29:29 PM »
Thank you everyone! I'm sure it'll work itself out, but I love reading everyone's opinions & how no two ppl think the same. It's cool for a lack of words. 😉

HappierAtHome

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 11:20:41 PM »
This thread makes me grateful I live in Australia. My work will give me 13 weeks off at full pay, or 26 at half pay, and then holds my job for two full years after going on mat leave if I don't choose to come back sooner. Most women here take a year off and that is considered standard and normal and fair, though I've heard of a few who have taken six months (26 weeks at half pay).

Anatidae V

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2016, 03:26:31 AM »
This thread makes me grateful I live in Australia. My work will give me 13 weeks off at full pay, or 26 at half pay, and then holds my job for two full years after going on mat leave if I don't choose to come back sooner. Most women here take a year off and that is considered standard and normal and fair, though I've heard of a few who have taken six months (26 weeks at half pay).
+1. Although my work used to give you 6 weeks when you left, and 6 weeks pay when you got back, as lump sums I think. Lots take a moment th off before the due date as well. Yet I still appreciate all the responses here, because there really are so many ways to do it once you let yourself be flexible...

SisterX

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2016, 02:47:27 PM »
This thread makes me grateful I live in Australia. My work will give me 13 weeks off at full pay, or 26 at half pay, and then holds my job for two full years after going on mat leave if I don't choose to come back sooner. Most women here take a year off and that is considered standard and normal and fair, though I've heard of a few who have taken six months (26 weeks at half pay).

Here in the US, we're still just grateful not to be getting the treatment my mom had. She was told she could take 3 days off for having my eldest brother. (This was after she actually had him, while she was in the hospital.) When she said she couldn't possibly come back that soon because she'd had a c-section her boss magnanimously offered 5 days. When she said that still wouldn't work, she was fired. This was in the late 70s.
And yes, while I'm grateful that I didn't receive the same treatment, the way we treat mothers in this country is atrocious. But it's pretty much on par with the way we treat all workers. (Lack of paid sick leave, lack of vacation, lack of effective protections in many ways....) Don't you internationals realize that your greatest value is in being a resource to be used and spit up at your company's discretion? Sheesh.

Del Griffith

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2016, 03:32:15 PM »
I raised a similar question here recently and got some really thoughtful responses -- check it out if you are interested in reading some more about people's experiences:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/how-did-you-decide/

I hope I did that right and the link works :) People gave some great insight into different factors they considered.

MrsCoolCat

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2016, 08:15:27 PM »
Thanks!

startingsmall

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2016, 08:41:27 PM »
There are so many things that go into it.  There's a recent thread on here about it.

What I recommended to my friends is to plan to go back.  And to go back.  Because, in my opinion, it is *way* easier to quit later than it is to go back later.

As far as mat leave goes, in CA you are entitled to:
4 weeks before the birth (PDL, partially paid)
6 weeks after the birth (PDL, partially paid) - 8 weeks for c-section
12 weeks after PDL ends (CA family leave) - 6 weeks of which are partially paid by PFL.

I'd recommend that folks who can (work for a large enough employer) actually plan for the full time off.

I took 13.5 weeks with #1 and 11 with #2 (though I went back PT at 9 weeks, 2 of those were before he was born).  I was itching to get back into work a little bit.

Some people start back and are miserable.  You don't know which one you are going to be.

Wait... so CA employers hold your job for a total of 22 weeks?!?! Wow!! I knew that CA had some generous family leave laws, but had no idea it was THAT generous!

With my daughter (my only, so far!), I was put on bed rest at 34 weeks. She was delivered via C-section at 37 wks, due to my rising blood pressure, her amniotic fluid levels being abnormally low, and her being breech. FMLA only required my employer to hold my job for a total of 12 weeks, but they ended up being generous... I stayed out of work until she was 11 weeks old, so a total of 14 wks out of work. My disability insurance paid 60% of my salary for one of the three weeks before she was born and the 6 weeks after she was born, and I also had a couple of weeks of vacation time. The rest was unpaid, but well worth the hit to our savings.

It was hard to go back to work, but I was glad that I did. Once I got past the initial shock of the first week or two, I found that I enjoyed having some variety back in my days. For that reason, I'd recommend that anyone who isn't fully committed to the idea of being a SAHP at least try to go back to work at 12 wks (or whenever your leave runs out). Give it a few weeks and see how it goes. If it sucks, you can always give your notice... but you might find that you enjoy it. In a perfect world, I'd rather be working PT instead of FT, but I learned during my maternity leave that I'm just not cut out to be a SAHM.

mm1970

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Re: FMLA & ur thoughts on maternity leave
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2016, 09:55:58 AM »
There are so many things that go into it.  There's a recent thread on here about it.

What I recommended to my friends is to plan to go back.  And to go back.  Because, in my opinion, it is *way* easier to quit later than it is to go back later.

As far as mat leave goes, in CA you are entitled to:
4 weeks before the birth (PDL, partially paid)
6 weeks after the birth (PDL, partially paid) - 8 weeks for c-section
12 weeks after PDL ends (CA family leave) - 6 weeks of which are partially paid by PFL.

I'd recommend that folks who can (work for a large enough employer) actually plan for the full time off.

I took 13.5 weeks with #1 and 11 with #2 (though I went back PT at 9 weeks, 2 of those were before he was born).  I was itching to get back into work a little bit.

Some people start back and are miserable.  You don't know which one you are going to be.

Wait... so CA employers hold your job for a total of 22 weeks?!?! Wow!! I knew that CA had some generous family leave laws, but had no idea it was THAT generous!

With my daughter (my only, so far!), I was put on bed rest at 34 weeks. She was delivered via C-section at 37 wks, due to my rising blood pressure, her amniotic fluid levels being abnormally low, and her being breech. FMLA only required my employer to hold my job for a total of 12 weeks, but they ended up being generous... I stayed out of work until she was 11 weeks old, so a total of 14 wks out of work. My disability insurance paid 60% of my salary for one of the three weeks before she was born and the 6 weeks after she was born, and I also had a couple of weeks of vacation time. The rest was unpaid, but well worth the hit to our savings.

It was hard to go back to work, but I was glad that I did. Once I got past the initial shock of the first week or two, I found that I enjoyed having some variety back in my days. For that reason, I'd recommend that anyone who isn't fully committed to the idea of being a SAHP at least try to go back to work at 12 wks (or whenever your leave runs out). Give it a few weeks and see how it goes. If it sucks, you can always give your notice... but you might find that you enjoy it. In a perfect world, I'd rather be working PT instead of FT, but I learned during my maternity leave that I'm just not cut out to be a SAHM.
Yes, 22 weeks (24 if you have a C-section), assuming your employer is large enough that you qualify for CFRA. (50 employees)