Author Topic: Maternity Leave - US  (Read 27342 times)

alwayslearning

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Maternity Leave - US
« on: March 04, 2016, 10:20:40 AM »
We are looking forward to welcoming our baby in a few months and I wanted to see what everyone experienced for maternity/paternity leave. I have 4 weeks paid leave and 2 weeks to work from home. Are 6 weeks really enough? I'm worried I won't be fully healed or emotionally ready to return to work at 6 weeks.

Also, my mom and mother-in-law have each offered to help during the day as my husband goes back to work, but I don't know how often is best for them to visit. 2 x per week, 3 x per week?

1. How much maternity leave did you and your spouse/partner have? Was it paid?
2. How often did you have family come visit or help after the baby was born? What visiting schedule was most helpful?
3. What did family do at your house that was most helpful?

abhe8

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2016, 10:51:39 AM »
Congrats!!

For me, 6 weeks is not enough. I prefer 12.

I've had paid, unpaid and a comb of both. With my first, i was back in school some after a week. Next baby I had 4 weeks. Next two I had 4 mo each. Loved this. This time I'll take the 12 weeks paid. A lot of it depends on the health of mom and baby and stress and schedule of the job you are returning to. Also stress and schedule of your spouse's schedule.

Now, my dh is home full time, so no drop off and pick up at daycare, no worries about sick days. I can come home for lunch, which makes pumping and nursing much easier.

My mom and mil each came for a week, after the week dh was home. This is the first baby since he has been home full time, and I'm looking forward to having him around all the time. (Of course. We have four other kids, so it's different then just a newborn.) I'm still hoping my mom will come a week, but honestly, mil is not helpful at all these days. Wants to sit and hold the baby and be on her phone. "I'm just so helpful, " she says a million times. But this is not helpful at all. I hope she comes only a day or two.

The most helpful things they did were cook, clean, laundry and watch my other kids so I could sleep. Mil was easy more helpful with this after the first baby.

Don't underestimate the sleep deprivation. It was painful, to say the least, especially with my first.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 10:59:59 AM by abhe8 »

NewMustachian

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 11:20:35 AM »
Congratulations! I am due with my second in a few months also.  :)

I was not able to get FMLA leave with my first because I had not worked at the company for a year, so they offered me 8 weeks leave (6 paid, 2 weeks unpaid).  Ultimately I decided to stay home with my first for 6 months, then got a part-time job with another company.  My DH had 2 weeks paid leave and then took every Friday off for the next few months. 

My mother came up for a week right after the baby was born.  This was helpful, but it would have been more helpful for me to have her come up after DH went back to work.  I found that I got sick a lot after the baby was born and had a really hard time with the sleep deprivation so staggering the help would have made more sense. For me, it took a long time to recover physically but everyone is different. 

With the visiting, it will depend on you, your baby, and your dynamic with your mother/MIL.  One thing I found really helpful was having people bring over prepared meals, or meals that could be frozen & reheated.  Cooking/feeding ourselves was a huge challenge. 

MrsDinero

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 11:50:50 AM »
IMO 6 weeks is not enough, but it is going to come down to your recovery.

Physically I was feeling fantastic (other than sleep deprived) after 1 week, hormonally/emotionally I was an absolute mess.  Mood swings, crying for no reason, etc.  Things seemed to get better around the 10 week time frame and started working again at 12 weeks but I was still ultimately diagnosed with postpartum depression. 

I took a total of 12 weeks off (all of my FMLA) and will do so again with my next child due in September.  I used a combination of PTO, STD, and unpaid time.

Mr. D took 2 weeks PTO and then stayed home for 2 weeks (he travels for work).  I told him I didn't care how he did it as along as he was home for the first 4 weeks.  He actually ended up being home for almost 6 weeks.

ETA: When it was time to come back my boss did offer me extra time if I needed it.  I turned it down because I needed to get back to "normal".   Maybe the best thing is to see if it possible to take more time off if you need it.   How much time you will really NEED is so hard to predict until after the baby arrives. 
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 01:15:27 PM by MrsDinero »

lthenderson

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 12:12:18 PM »
My wife went back to work after six paid weeks with the second child and we got along fine. I stayed home after that and took care of the child so daycare and such wasn't an issue.

As far as guests/in-laws/parents dropping by, we really never had a problem with them visiting. Babies sleep a lot during the first few months so it there was time to visit between feedings and everyone could get their fix holding a sleeping baby. We tended to go to bed early since a full night's sleep wasn't an option for the first couple months so we didn't have any evening visitors.

Probably the best thing I did to help out during those first six weeks was even though my wife was breastfeeding, I took a shift of feeding during the middle of the night. She would pump the extra milk from during the day and put it in a bottle. She generally took the first shift feeding naturally and then I would get the second middle of the night shift and feed the baby using a bottle. This gave my wife a good 5 or 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep in the middle of the night. She couldn't go longer than that without needing to unload so she would get the early morning shift. Once she went back to work it was all bottled breast milk but by then, both of our kids were sleeping through the night.

Goldielocks

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2016, 12:48:26 PM »
My hormones did not settle, and I was not healed, really, until 8 week mark (when I could climb a flight of stairs again and actually complete simple math problems).

For both pregnancies, I had Short term disability pay of 66% my salary for the first 6-12 weeks, if it was not already spent by sick time taken before.  Benefits were covered during that time, then I had to pre-pay my healthcare benefits.

Then unpaid leave up to 6 mos for the first and 1 year for the second.  During the unpaid time, EI paid out about 40% of my salary, but that was only available if I had enough work credits in the years prior.  (This is Canada's system for mat leave - guaranteed time off, plus EI money if you have credits)

By choice, I returned to work at 16 weeks (DH took over for a month), and there was no problem other than missing the baby,  then 7 mos for my second.

I highly recommend taking 4-6 mos if you can save up enough for one or both of you to take time off work.

HR also reported that it is much easier to find someone to cover maternity leave of 1 year compared to 3 or 6 months, so employers actually found it a bit easier when the limit was extended.

Gin1984

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2016, 12:55:39 PM »
I had a week off, which my husband also took, then went back to class (I was in grad school) for one of my two classes then the next week back to the other.  I was studying by the second week.  I went back to lab at eight weeks.  Which I thought was fine.  If I had not been in classes, going back at six weeks would have been fine.  However, many daycares won't take the infant until 6 weeks and if your child was born on say a Tues-Fri, you will end up needing an extra week off.
What time is your husband taking off?

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2016, 01:10:46 PM »
We are looking forward to welcoming our baby in a few months and I wanted to see what everyone experienced for maternity/paternity leave. I have 4 weeks paid leave and 2 weeks to work from home. Are 6 weeks really enough? I'm worried I won't be fully healed or emotionally ready to return to work at 6 weeks.

Also, my mom and mother-in-law have each offered to help during the day as my husband goes back to work, but I don't know how often is best for them to visit. 2 x per week, 3 x per week?

1. How much maternity leave did you and your spouse/partner have? Was it paid?
2. How often did you have family come visit or help after the baby was born? What visiting schedule was most helpful?
3. What did family do at your house that was most helpful?
I live in California.  California allows:

4 weeks before baby - FMLA + PDL (Pregnancy disability leave) - Disability pay (~55%)
6 weeks after baby - FMLA + PDL (8 weeks if C-section) - Disability pay (~55%)
12 weeks after PDL is over - CFRA.  6 weeks of this partially paid Paid Family Leave

(Depending on size of company).  So up to 22 weeks for regular delivery, 18 post delivery.

Kid #1, water broke at work.
Took 13.5 weeks off, all after baby was born.  2 weeks paid (sick time), remainder partial pay from PDL and PFL.
Definitely needed the first six - was that long before got a good breastfeeding rhythm.  Was ready to go back at 10 weeks (going a little crazy), but would have preferred part time.  Boss didn't go for that.  Going back at six weeks WAY TOO EARLY.
Husband took 2 weeks off at first.  Paid family leave.
Then he took the remainder of his six weeks over the next year.

Kid #2, took off 2 weeks before due date.  He was born on due date.
Went back to work at 9 weeks, part time (25 hrs a week) to ease back into it.
Went back to work 32 hrs/ week at 3 months (learned my lesson with #1, and by now at a new company, new boss, supportive of the shorter part time hours).
Husband only took a week off.
Had the "sweet spot" of an HR manager who pushed for me to get my full pay when out. 

I do not think that six weeks is enough.  I think 12 might work, but I was okay going back at 9 and 10.  For me, what was more important, was working part time.  Trying to do 40 hours with nursing and pumping is brutal.

With #1 mom visited at 8 weeks and in laws a bit after
With #2 MIL visited for 2 weeks starting when the baby was 4 weeks.  It was great to have her.  My husband was on several business trips those first weeks.  (25% of the first six weeks).  My MIL and spouse left when the baby was 6 weeks (on the same day).  That was a really rough week.  Three days straight the baby cried for 5 hours.  I'm not exaggerating when I say I almost smothered him.  I was hanging on by a thread.

So, more time is better, and yes, have help if you can get it.  You'll know what feels right when you are there.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 01:15:20 PM by mm1970 »

little_brown_dog

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2016, 02:10:33 PM »
Had the standard 12 week FMLA leave. The first few weeks were partially paid through disability and my vacation/sick days. Then I chose to use up the rest of my vacation time until that ran out around week 10. The last two weeks were unpaid, but by that point I had decided not to return and had already given notice a couple weeks prior. They made my last day the day I was supposed to return from mat leave.

Most helpful thing from family was stocking our fridge with easy to heat/prep meals by the time we got home from the hospital. While we were there, they came over and took care of everything. They did our laundry, picked up, and got the baby's sleeping area ready (I went into labor spontaneously a few weeks early in the middle of the night, so things certainly weren't baby ready yet). It was awesome and just allowed us to focus on taking care of the baby and getting settled.

SomedayStache

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 02:58:07 PM »
I have 4 weeks paid leave and 2 weeks to work from home. Are 6 weeks really enough? I'm worried I won't be fully healed or emotionally ready to return to work at 6 weeks.

So, working from home for 2 weeks in no way, shape, form, or fantasy land should count as part of your recovery time. 

From what you have said you have 4 weeks paid time off.  In my opinion, no that is not enough.

With my first child I returned to work at 6 weeks post partum.  This was a terrible thing to do to myself and my baby.  My colicky baby was still up for most of the night and I still couldn't sit down on a chair without feeling pain (yay third degree tear!)

For my later babies I took 12 weeks (FMLA max allowed.  I would have taken more if it was an option).  A lot of that was unpaid, more than half probably but if was a choice between going into credit card debt to stay home I would have gladly made that choice.  (It wasn't!  We planned for all the unpaid time - but I say this to illustrate how strongly I feel that 6 weeks is nowhere near enough).

If you intend to work from home at all then you should plan your 'help' to come during those times.  You don't say if your mom/ MIL are local or not.  If they are local and can be flexible then I would wait to make any hard and fast plans because you will know better what is best for you after the baby comes.  If you have to navigate plane tickets and schedules then you should plan to have help immediately when your spouse returns to work.  Stagger the help.  In general - things get easier over time so having help in the earlier weeks is potentially more helpful than the later weeks.

bogart

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2016, 08:33:50 PM »
Congratulations on your soon-to-arrive LO. 

I think having some flexibility to do what you need to do is probably the most important thing, and hard to predict what that will be.  But helpful family (I am not 100% clear from how you describe yours whether they are truly helpful or just ... intend to be) is a huge boon in that regard.

I took 2 months totally off work, and then went back very p/t (16 hours/week) for 1 month, less p/t (24 hours/week) for 1 month, and then resumed and stayed at 30 hours/week for the remaining year (after that I went back to 40 hours/week).  My DH took just a couple weeks off, and that was fine, but he did have flexibility in his work schedule (as did I), so we were able to juggle things around.  We also used 16 hours/week of paid childcare and about 16-20 hours/week of grandma care.

During the first few months post-partum, the single most valuable/useful thing to me was being able to hand my baby over to DH or my mom and say, "I don't want to be disturbed for 2 hours" (and then I would go take a nap).  The second most valuable/useful thing was easy-to-grab food.  The third was probably someone else doing the laundry.

milliemchi

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2016, 07:50:17 AM »
With my first, I got 13 paid weeks off (of which I worked through 4), and no, that was not enough. Both me and baby had health issues that were somewhat elusive to sort out, which made recovery really slow. Because I had to go back to work so early, it took years to get back to normal. We had no help though. My mom came for 8 weeks while my husband was gone for 9 for fieldwork, that's all, but I was already working at that point and the damage was done.

With my second, I had 12 weeks paid (with a little bit of work throughout), and then I worked part time for the next 12 weeks, and that was just right. But this was with no health issues, a baby that fed and slept reasonably well, and included a live-in nanny that also cooked for us (while hubby worked nights).

OTOH, I had a friend who went back to school almost immediately (though her parents were there to help), and a friend who returned to medical residency after four weeks, twice, (mom came for first 7-10 days), and they both did fine workwise, so we know these things are possible.

We did have a relative come visit to help by cooking for us the first week of the first baby.  But she had no kids, and so had no clue, and the visit was very counter-productive. She is a very nice, gregarious, and chatty person who kept me up when I should have been sleeping, and her cooking were these elaborate meals, when all we needed were some calories that were not junk food. Older women who had raised kids would probably work out better. Knowing what you need and telling the help exactly what to do is how to go about it (if they're willing to listen), but it's hard to know what you'll need when it's the first one.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2016, 10:11:35 AM »
First, congrats!

You will probably not be able to work full-time from home with a four-week-old infant unless MAYBE you had an easy birth and good recovery AND your MIL/mom are willing to provide full-time childcare in your home. Even then, it's questionable. I needed too much rest to be working then.

I have one friend who went back to work at six weeks and never looked back. I was still bleeding and busy developing a yeast infection under my c-section incision. It's not a sure thing--you might be able to, you might not.

As far as visiting, you might need to see what kind of birth you have. With my first, I was terrified to be alone with him for the entire first week. I'd had a c-section and I couldn't get off the couch holding the baby without help. (With my second, I was much more confident.) Be ready when they come with a list of what you want them to do--take out the trash, make some food, go to the grocery store, start a load of laundry, just hold the baby so you can nap, etc. Don't fall into the trap of giving THEM the baby while YOU do chores. They can hold the baby when they finish the chores :-).


milliemchi

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2016, 10:22:02 AM »
Oh, yes, I forgot to add... I was never able to work from home, even when my mother was there all day. My boss offered me to work from home, and after about a week, I chose to go back to the office as I couldn't get anything done at home. YMMV

MerryMcQ

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2016, 10:30:01 PM »
Hold baby in place you can't hear while you sleep... Honestly, the lack of sleep was so much harder than anything anyone said prepared me to comprehend.

After sleep, get them to bring you food.

After that, basic chores... Laundry, dishes, bathrooms, etc.

But really, if someone could have just taken the baby for 3 hours so I could sleep, that would have been amazing...

little_brown_dog

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2016, 05:59:06 AM »


You will probably not be able to work full-time from home with a four-week-old infant unless MAYBE you had an easy birth and good recovery AND your MIL/mom are willing to provide full-time childcare in your home. Even then, it's questionable. I needed too much rest to be working then.


+1 - especially if you are breastfeeding. If you have a normal breastfeeding experience, you will face some mild to moderate challenges, and it is not uncommon for breastfed newborns to eat every hour or even more frequently. This is because they can only take so much at a time, and many newborns are particularly inefficient at eating until they get the hang of it which can easily take 6-8 weeks. If you are like me and had a catastrophic breastfeeding experience and you want to keep trying (see my post for what a particularly difficult breastfeeding experience might look like http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/i-hate-breastfeeding-looking-for-supportencouragement/) then it is fair to say that your entire life will revolve around breastfeeding, making work almost impossible.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 06:01:28 AM by little_brown_dog »

sheepstache

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2016, 07:33:28 AM »
Yeah, to be clear the FMLA entitles you to minimum twelve weeks unpaid leave with continuation of health insurance (with you covering whatever premiums would be due anyway), meaning you're guaranteed your job back at the end of that (unless a good case can be made that you would have lost it even if you weren't on leave, e.g., your entire department was eliminated). This mostly covers people who work full time, who have been with the employer for at least a year, and who work for an employer with at least 50 employees.

Other states may have different requirements but it can't be less than what the federal policy would give you.

This also covers paternity leave, adoption, care of a sick family member, but that's OT.

One shitty aspect of the policy that I'm going to run into is that if your partner is also an employee at the company, you only get 12 weeks between you. But I understand the intention is to prevent discrimination against married people being employed by the same company.

My workplace has the policy that you need to use up all your paid leave first (vacation, sick time, etc.) and that counts towards the twelve weeks. E.g., if you have four weeks total paid time, you take all that and then have 8 unpaid weeks (plus some disability but that's through NY state).  People don't seem to mind this because they feel twelve weeks is enough and like getting their paycheck for part of that time.

But I'd be curious if anyone knows if that's a legit condition the employer can enforce according to the legislation or if it's just a preference they're expressing.

aprilchem

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2016, 07:19:46 AM »
I'm fortunate to be in academia - our institution allows for essentially one semester off, and I've finagled my way into the role of maternity leave advisor so I get women the most weeks I can possibly get them.  Faculty maternity leave is at full pay.  This policy didn't exist until baby #2 for me, so for him I was able to be off from April-Februrary (I took the fall semester off).  With baby #3 (who was born in July) I was off from June-February (again, taking the fall semester off). 

I know that is a REALLY sweet deal for the US.  With all the challenges of my job it's a benefit I'm very grateful to have had.

Just FYI for once the baby is born, there are now laws in the US that protect a woman's right to breastfeed OR pump when she returns to work.  You are guaranteed a place to pump that is not a bathroom with a lock on the door and adequate breaks to do so. 

alwayslearning

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2016, 09:24:09 AM »
Thank you to everyone for your response! I love hearing everyone's experience with maternity leave, breastfeeding schedules and family assistance. I wanted to be sure to answer a few questions posted:

1. Family - I am lucky to have both my mom and my MIL in town. They are both very helpful, but not overbearing. They've offered to help once the baby arrives, I just wasn't sure exactly what that meant. I wanted to be sure to give them helpful responsibilities, but not too much to where I feel overwhelmed by someone else doing everything for me. I love the idea of them helping with food and watching the baby while I take a shower or hopefully a nap.

2. Work - I've been with my job for 5+ years, however, the company is VERY small. Because of this, FMLA doesn't apply. The maternity leave that I'm receiving is really just taking all of my vacation time at once. :( I'm the first female employee to be expecting a baby. They have had fathers take a few weeks for paternity leave, but I'm the guinea pig for the first pregnant woman/maternity leave policy. I think we are all kind of guessing to see what's best. I'm afraid at 6 weeks I still won't be sleeping much and the breastfeeding will be still in the "learning" phase.

From everyone's response, it seems like 6 weeks is going to fly by and I may not be ready to jump back into work full-time.






mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2016, 10:48:35 AM »
Quote
My workplace has the policy that you need to use up all your paid leave first (vacation, sick time, etc.) and that counts towards the twelve weeks. E.g., if you have four weeks total paid time, you take all that and then have 8 unpaid weeks (plus some disability but that's through NY state).  People don't seem to mind this because they feel twelve weeks is enough and like getting their paycheck for part of that time.

But I'd be curious if anyone knows if that's a legit condition the employer can enforce according to the legislation or if it's just a preference they're expressing.

My company has this policy, and I am in California.  So whenever I talk to a pregnant woman in California, I recommend they check the policy at their company.  Because honestly, at my current company, your best bed is to use ALL  your vacation before you have the baby. 

In any event, when I had my second child, I had 3 weeks of vacation on the books. Our company policy stated that I had to use all of it before going on disability.  HOWEVER, CA state law covers this and says that they can only require you to use "up to 2 weeks of earned vacation or PTO".  So, I talked to HR and told them that I was only going to use two weeks, and that's on the paper that I signed when I went out on leave (it said "all", I crossed it out and changed it to two weeks).  (Honestly, my old HR person was great, she managed to get the company to pay me full salary when I was out.)

In any event, my last company when I had my first kid did not have that policy, so I was able to save my vacation while on maternity.

TL;DR - check your state laws.

MrsDinero

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2016, 10:54:17 AM »

The maternity leave that I'm receiving is really just taking all of my vacation time at once. :( I'm the first female employee to be expecting a baby. They have had fathers take a few weeks for paternity leave, but I'm the guinea pig for the first pregnant woman/maternity leave policy.

In this case I would recommend you negotiate as much time off as possible.  If you are the first woman to take maternity leave then you will most likely set precedent for every woman to come after you.  Would you be able to take unpaid leave for more time?  how about work part-time hours for several weeks after coming back?

Guesl982374

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2016, 11:00:07 AM »
1. How much maternity leave did you and your spouse/partner have? Was it paid? Wife got 3 months, I got 0 days (yes, not even the birth, had to use vacation and FMLA). I ended up taking 2 weeks vacation at the beginning and 2 weeks FMLA unpaid when my wife went back to work
2. How often did you have family come visit or help after the baby was born? What visiting schedule was most helpful?Once every other day/couple of days. I would have preferred less visits but I get it.
3. What did family do at your house that was most helpful? Cook/bring food, clean, babysit so we could nap

While US maternity leave policy is horrendous, because salaries are generally higher in the US and because LBYM you can choose to utilize FMLA or just taking time off between jobs. You can literally choose to have 6 months with baby before going back to work/looking for another job. Remember, it's a choice.

milliemchi

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2016, 11:14:41 AM »
While US maternity leave policy is horrendous, because salaries are generally higher in the US and because LBYM you can choose to utilize FMLA or just taking time off between jobs. You can literally choose to have 6 months with baby before going back to work/looking for another job. Remember, it's a choice.

Oh, I'm going to take issue with this... I have a fantastic job that suits me really well, and I am a good asset to the employer. I am also a highly highly trained professional which means potential jobs at my level are dispersed around the country. I don't want to be forced to move cities, pull kids out of school, displace my husband from the job he now holds, lose current friends, potentially sell my condo, etc. in search of another job just because I happen to need more than 12 weeks to recover from birth if it doesn't all go as planned. No, no, no... The US maternity leave policy is horrendous. Let's just leave it at that. Splintering your career into bits and pieces in between children is not the right solution.

chemgeek

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2016, 12:46:10 PM »
OP, what state are you in? Some states have laws that go lower than the FMLA limits  and also include legally required paternity leave. Unpaid of course, but it's there.

alwayslearning

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2016, 12:49:02 PM »
OP, what state are you in? Some states have laws that go lower than the FMLA limits  and also include legally required paternity leave. Unpaid of course, but it's there.

Texas - Unfortunately, one of the states that does not go lower than the 50 employees required.

sheepstache

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2016, 02:51:13 PM »
Quote
My workplace has the policy that you need to use up all your paid leave first (vacation, sick time, etc.) and that counts towards the twelve weeks. E.g., if you have four weeks total paid time, you take all that and then have 8 unpaid weeks (plus some disability but that's through NY state).  People don't seem to mind this because they feel twelve weeks is enough and like getting their paycheck for part of that time.

But I'd be curious if anyone knows if that's a legit condition the employer can enforce according to the legislation or if it's just a preference they're expressing.

My company has this policy, and I am in California.  So whenever I talk to a pregnant woman in California, I recommend they check the policy at their company.  Because honestly, at my current company, your best bed is to use ALL  your vacation before you have the baby. 

In any event, when I had my second child, I had 3 weeks of vacation on the books. Our company policy stated that I had to use all of it before going on disability.  HOWEVER, CA state law covers this and says that they can only require you to use "up to 2 weeks of earned vacation or PTO".  So, I talked to HR and told them that I was only going to use two weeks, and that's on the paper that I signed when I went out on leave (it said "all", I crossed it out and changed it to two weeks).  (Honestly, my old HR person was great, she managed to get the company to pay me full salary when I was out.)

In any event, my last company when I had my first kid did not have that policy, so I was able to save my vacation while on maternity.

TL;DR - check your state laws.

Thanks!

Yeah, the thing is I'm due right around the time the calendar flips to the new benefits year, so there's no way for me to use it before then. They are flexible about letting you keep some sick/personal days but they would also let you take unpaid days if the need arises under these circumstances, which would be just fine for mustachians.

Really the reason it's annoying to me is because of the partner thing. Say I take four weeks paid leave and then have eight weeks unpaid leave left. He can take all his paid leave but then if he wants unpaid leave, it seems it takes away from my eight weeks. Which is annoying just for being illogical. If my paid time counts towards the 12 weeks, so should his. Seems like it should be they both count or neither counts. I feel like if we have to split the time, we ought to get the full unpaid 12 weeks.

I'm having a frustrating time finding the actual state policy on this but it occurs to me I could ask my union.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2016, 03:16:59 PM »
Quote
My workplace has the policy that you need to use up all your paid leave first (vacation, sick time, etc.) and that counts towards the twelve weeks. E.g., if you have four weeks total paid time, you take all that and then have 8 unpaid weeks (plus some disability but that's through NY state).  People don't seem to mind this because they feel twelve weeks is enough and like getting their paycheck for part of that time.

But I'd be curious if anyone knows if that's a legit condition the employer can enforce according to the legislation or if it's just a preference they're expressing.

My company has this policy, and I am in California.  So whenever I talk to a pregnant woman in California, I recommend they check the policy at their company.  Because honestly, at my current company, your best bed is to use ALL  your vacation before you have the baby. 

In any event, when I had my second child, I had 3 weeks of vacation on the books. Our company policy stated that I had to use all of it before going on disability.  HOWEVER, CA state law covers this and says that they can only require you to use "up to 2 weeks of earned vacation or PTO".  So, I talked to HR and told them that I was only going to use two weeks, and that's on the paper that I signed when I went out on leave (it said "all", I crossed it out and changed it to two weeks).  (Honestly, my old HR person was great, she managed to get the company to pay me full salary when I was out.)

In any event, my last company when I had my first kid did not have that policy, so I was able to save my vacation while on maternity.

TL;DR - check your state laws.

Thanks!

Yeah, the thing is I'm due right around the time the calendar flips to the new benefits year, so there's no way for me to use it before then. They are flexible about letting you keep some sick/personal days but they would also let you take unpaid days if the need arises under these circumstances, which would be just fine for mustachians.

Really the reason it's annoying to me is because of the partner thing. Say I take four weeks paid leave and then have eight weeks unpaid leave left. He can take all his paid leave but then if he wants unpaid leave, it seems it takes away from my eight weeks. Which is annoying just for being illogical. If my paid time counts towards the 12 weeks, so should his. Seems like it should be they both count or neither counts. I feel like if we have to split the time, we ought to get the full unpaid 12 weeks.

I'm having a frustrating time finding the actual state policy on this but it occurs to me I could ask my union.
Wait, do you work for the same company?  I missed that.

Yeah, the same company rule (12 weeks total) ... sucks.

cats

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2016, 12:04:12 PM »
I am also in California and will be taking 15 weeks (currently on week 2).  I'm doing:

5 weeks of sick time
1 week disability from the state
6 weeks paid family leave from the state
3 weeks of vacation time

For the US it is a longish maternity leave, but it already feels like nowhere near long enough! I have job protection for up to 24 weeks so I may take some unpaid time after if we have trouble finding a daycare.

My husband took a full week off after the birth and is now doing 2 weeks of part-time (he goes into the office in the mornings, then comes home in the afternoons).  If spreading paternity leave out part-time is an option for your other half, I would definitely recommend it.  I'm recovered enough that I don't really need someone around to take care of me, but it is nice to have someone around in the afternoons so that I can really relax and take a nap, or to catch up on housework, etc.

I would definitely encourage you to take as much time off as you can afford to or talk your employer into.

From a physical perspective, I would say recovery from the actual process of giving birth has been fairly fast for me and if it were JUST about recovering from that, I could definitely go back to work in as little as 2 weeks.  The baby is 12 days old right now and we went on a 2 mile walk this morning, things feel a little tight/swollen in my pelvic area still but I have no pain.  I do notice I get tired more easily, not sure if this is due to sleep deprivation or the amount of blood that has recently exited my system.  I definitely have to be careful not to stand up for too long at once, but I have an office job so if I were going back to work that would be a non-issue, I can sit on my ass as much as I like!  FWIW I had a vaginal delivery with but a fairly long labor (17 hours at the hospital, plus loads of cramping bad enough to keep me awake at night for several days before), and wound up with a small tear that required a couple of stitches.  I also skipped the epidural b/c I had read that going without could speed up your recovery time, so that may be contributing to my recovery, though I really can't say as I don't have anything to compare to.

All that said, having a baby is about a lot more than recovering from the birth process.  Last night was the first night in 2 weeks that I got 2 unbroken hours of sleep--so while I might be physically capable of showing up at an office right now, my mental capacity is nowhere near 100%.  I *think* our kid is pretty good overall, but that doesn't mean he's perfect or never fusses.  Similarly, breastfeeding is mostly going well (that is, he is gaining weight and it is not painful for me), but at the same time I can see that there are ways in which it could be going a lot better (he sometimes takes a while to latch on and then keeps dropping off, so we aren't very efficient), and I am really glad I will have some time at home to figure those things out.  Also, if you are planning to BF, all the lactation consultants at our hospital strongly recommend JUST directly breastfeeding and not using a bottle to feed pumped milk for the first month, to avoid nipple confusion.  So if you want to BF, it seems like at least a month off is a good idea, and really more like 6 weeks as you'll probably want a couple of weeks to build up a pumped milke stash, practice bottle feeding and make sure the baby knows what's going on.

From meeting with friends who have given birth recently, I've also noticed that of the ones who looked really tired at first, the tired look seemed to drop off around the 2 month mark.

Emotionally, I have (so far, knock on wood), felt randomly weepy here and there, but nothing really major or alarming.  I suspect I will get pretty sad at the idea of sending him to daycare in a couple of months, but I already miss some aspects of my job as well, so I think I'll be able to adjust.

Greenpez

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2016, 09:24:40 AM »
 I'll cast another vote for the 6 weeks being too few category, with the caveat that everyone is different. Since you are the first in your company you may want to set up different amount based on how you deliver. My wife went back 8 weeks after a c-section and struggled some physically. Now that #2 is on the way she is already planning on 12 weeks (we are fortunate that she has that option!)

 

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2016, 02:13:26 PM »
I'm curious, how many fathers received paternity leave? Was it paid with PTO or strictly out of paternity leave?

My husband is thinking about taking some time to spend some extra time with our baby, but it seems like his company will only let him take PTO. Is this the case with most employers?

KCM5

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2016, 02:25:28 PM »
I'm curious, how many fathers received paternity leave? Was it paid with PTO or strictly out of paternity leave?

My husband is thinking about taking some time to spend some extra time with our baby, but it seems like his company will only let him take PTO. Is this the case with most employers?

Yes, PTO or unpaid FMLA (with the caveat that if both partners work for the same company they are only allowed 12 weeks of protected leave combined).

Our parenting leave options are abysmal.

ysette9

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2016, 02:35:18 PM »
The US system is appalling and embarrassing.

That aside, I feel like 6 weeks is definitely too short of a time. 6 months is probably about right. My baby came six weeks early so after six weeks she was only up to the point where everyone else was saying hi to their little creature for the first time.

I had 8 weeks maternity leave (C-section) paid from my work and 6 weeks of partial pay child bonding (or whatever they call if) from the state of CA. If you possible can, definitely live in one of the two or three states that has some form of paid leave. After I went back to work my husband took his 6 weeks of partial pay from the state to be home with our daughter. Going back to work is tough, but knowing my baby was being cared for by her daddy helped tremendously.

The family help thing is a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. Yes, it can be very helpful and it can be so wonderful to just leave the house and go for a walk by yourself for half an hour. On the other hand, I am an introvert so having people in my house all the time comes at a high emotional cost. You'll have to assess yourself and weigh the pros and cons. I do strongly recommend that both you and your partner (if you have one) take off time to be with your baby so you both independently learn to be primary caregivers. I've read that studies show doing this early on makes both parents more equally involved, leads to more equitable distribution of household labor, and leads to more satisfied marriages. On a personal note, I think it helps us that each of us trusts the other 100% with the care of our daughter and isn't trying to micromanage the other from afar*.

*Okay, I did insist that my husband put sunblock on the baby and he insists that I cut her grapes in half, but we're otherwise doing a pretty good job of this!

Congrats and good luck!

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2016, 02:44:07 PM »
I'm curious, how many fathers received paternity leave? Was it paid with PTO or strictly out of paternity leave?

My husband is thinking about taking some time to spend some extra time with our baby, but it seems like his company will only let him take PTO. Is this the case with most employers?
My husband received CA Paid Family Leave (partial pay, paid for by taxes).  He didn't bother with PTO I don't think.  With the first kid, he took all 6 weeks (2 at the start and the rest here and there during the first year).

With the second he was so busy he traveled 25% of the first six weeks (just about killed me). So I only think he took maybe 2 weeks of PFL.

Greenpez

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2016, 04:29:59 PM »
I'm curious, how many fathers received paternity leave? Was it paid with PTO or strictly out of paternity leave?

My husband is thinking about taking some time to spend some extra time with our baby, but it seems like his company will only let him take PTO. Is this the case with most employers?

Yes, PTO or unpaid FMLA (with the caveat that if both partners work for the same company they are only allowed 12 weeks of protected leave combined).

Our parenting leave options are abysmal.

My company recently changed its policy. Baby 1 I got 1 week of paid paternity leave, baby 2 I get 8!

chaskavitch

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2016, 09:23:00 AM »
I'm curious, how many fathers received paternity leave? Was it paid with PTO or strictly out of paternity leave?

My husband is thinking about taking some time to spend some extra time with our baby, but it seems like his company will only let him take PTO. Is this the case with most employers?

Yes, PTO or unpaid FMLA (with the caveat that if both partners work for the same company they are only allowed 12 weeks of protected leave combined).

Our parenting leave options are abysmal.

My company recently changed its policy. Baby 1 I got 1 week of paid paternity leave, baby 2 I get 8!

Wow, 8 weeks of paternity leave is amazing!  My husband was just offered 3 weeks paid paternity leave, and I'm pretty sure that's only because it is a very small company who know they're underpaying him (as per industry standard, anyway), and they want to keep him happy.

My coworker whose wife just had a kid gets 2 weeks of paid paternity leave, I think.  That seems pretty standard around here.

MrsDinero

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2016, 09:38:37 AM »
The US system is appalling and embarrassing.


It really is, when you think that our kids are supposed to be ones to continue to push the country forward and they are starting off disadvantaged. 

So many politician push for "family values" but don't push for family bonding and mother's recovery at birth.

I also don't agree with anyone who says we are breastfeeding culture, when in fact we are breast pumping culture because we don't give mothers enough time to physically "be there" for the babies. 

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2016, 11:00:04 AM »
My company just announced 4 weeks of full paid parental leave (mother or father, birth or adoption).

The mother can then take the remaining part of FMLA as short-term disability (father cannot unless the child has a medical condition that would otherwise meet it) on 50% pay.

After the 12 weeks of FMLA, you can submit a written request for an additional 8 weeks in extreme circumstances (say- your baby is in the NICU...)  This is unpaid, and you lose your benefits (you can get on COBRA for insurance), but your job is held.


Previously it was just FMLA or "FMLA-like" leave (for the offices that don't qualify for FMLA).  Up to 12 weeks, unpaid unless you had PTO.  Mother could qualify for short-term disability while a medical condition lasted (so I think that is 6 weeks for routine vaginal, 8 weeks for routine C-section)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 11:55:28 AM by iowajes »

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2016, 01:56:49 PM »
My due date is August 22, though I expect to go longer.

I'm currently a graduate student and an adjunct lecturer.  I will be taking the entire fall semester off, no pay (except collecting my usualy scholarship money). 

My wife is taking 4 weeks parental leave + 3 weeks stockpiled vacation.   If we feel this is not enough she will take some unpaid FMLA.

Starting the last week of January I will go back to teaching 1 day per week.  Wife will stay home with babe this day.  I will work from home (writing dissertation) the rest of the days.

Gin1984

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2016, 02:09:33 PM »
The US system is appalling and embarrassing.


It really is, when you think that our kids are supposed to be ones to continue to push the country forward and they are starting off disadvantaged. 

So many politician push for "family values" but don't push for family bonding and mother's recovery at birth.

I also don't agree with anyone who says we are breastfeeding culture, when in fact we are breast pumping culture because we don't give mothers enough time to physically "be there" for the babies.
Except that is their point.  They want women to have no choice but to quit work because of untenable work conditions because they want women to stay home.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2016, 04:00:30 PM »
The US system is appalling and embarrassing.


It really is, when you think that our kids are supposed to be ones to continue to push the country forward and they are starting off disadvantaged. 

So many politician push for "family values" but don't push for family bonding and mother's recovery at birth.

I also don't agree with anyone who says we are breastfeeding culture, when in fact we are breast pumping culture because we don't give mothers enough time to physically "be there" for the babies.
Except that is their point.  They want women to have no choice but to quit work because of untenable work conditions because they want women to stay home.
Yes "family values" means MY family values, not yours.

ysette9

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2016, 04:20:27 PM »
Right. It'll either fall on deaf ears or be preaching to the choir, but we only have to take a look at Japan's economy to see how much a country suffers when we don't have family-friendly policies that encourage both parents to keep working after a birth. Mr. Abe is trying to change that to get more women in the workforce since they have such a problem with an aging/shrinking working population, but he has an uphill battle against their ingrained culture.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2016, 09:47:41 AM »
Right. It'll either fall on deaf ears or be preaching to the choir, but we only have to take a look at Japan's economy to see how much a country suffers when we don't have family-friendly policies that encourage both parents to keep working after a birth. Mr. Abe is trying to change that to get more women in the workforce since they have such a problem with an aging/shrinking working population, but he has an uphill battle against their ingrained culture.
Yes.   My company merged with a team in Japan, so I have a lot of interaction by phone/ email with our team there.  One woman out of maybe 10-15. 

It's a challenge for sure.  Everyone else is a tech person, she's more tech support.  (From what I gather, treated not very well.)  Well... it's a difficult position for me to be in also, trying to train engineers there.  I gather they really aren't used to senior engineers being women.  It's going okay, but probably mostly because it's primarily email and phone.

nobody123

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2016, 11:38:12 AM »
My boss was nice enough to give me the day off when both of my kids were born.  Had to use PTO for the rest of the days I wanted, so I ended up working half days for a week with the first and taking one total day off with the second.



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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2016, 08:17:05 AM »
My boss was nice enough to give me the day off when both of my kids were born.  Had to use PTO for the rest of the days I wanted, so I ended up working half days for a week with the first and taking one total day off with the second.
Glad you're not MY husband. 

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #44 on: March 22, 2016, 08:26:46 AM »
My boss was nice enough to give me the day off when both of my kids were born.  Had to use PTO for the rest of the days I wanted, so I ended up working half days for a week with the first and taking one total day off with the second.

Getting a day from your company is more than most in the US gets. PTO and unpaid leave is the norm.

nobody123

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2016, 12:06:49 PM »
My boss was nice enough to give me the day off when both of my kids were born.  Had to use PTO for the rest of the days I wanted, so I ended up working half days for a week with the first and taking one total day off with the second.
Glad you're not MY husband.

I only had 2 weeks of vacation at the time, and someone needed to pay the bills while she was on FMLA.  It's not like I took so few days by choice, which was my point.


SomedayStache

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2016, 12:26:08 PM »
You did have a choice - I'm not saying it was a good choice or a fair choice.  The options you were given (and I was given) are pretty piss poor.  You could have used your vacation, you could have taken unpaid time off, you could have found a new job.  (Please note this isn't an attack on you - but just a reply on the internet and meant more for the benefit of other readers who are planning on future children or currently expecting).

Our country as a whole will not obtain parental leave reform unless men start demanding for time off and until it becomes normal for new dads to take extended leave.

I am the sole income earner in our family and used the months of pregnancy to save money in preparation for the months of unpaid time I would be taking after my babies births.  We went 5 years without taking a vacation because I was saving all my annual leave for babies.   
I strongly hope that we have parental leave reform in this country so that future parents have better options than you and I were given.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 12:28:54 PM by SomedayStache »

iris lily

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2016, 12:37:38 PM »
I am so glad to be retired and not have to juggle work obligations due to maternity leaves. That and all of the other government mandated leaves got tiresome.

One year, the year from hell,  30% of my staff of 20+ took FMLSA leave.. And several of those were "intermittent" FMLSA which is the worst, the absolute godawful  worst. Employees are at work one day, gone the next, in for two hours the following day, then are are MIA for a couple days, then In for a week. Etc. Cant assign their work to someone else, cant hire temps to work in their seat. Paralyzing. And terrible for morale of those who must pick up the slack.

I am so glad to be out of the workplace and relieved of  responsibility of completing work without reliable attendance of employees.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 12:39:12 PM by iris lily »

nobody123

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2016, 12:47:30 PM »
You did have a choice - I'm not saying it was a good choice or a fair choice.  The options you were given (and I was given) are pretty piss poor.  You could have used your vacation, you could have taken unpaid time off, you could have found a new job.  (Please note this isn't an attack on you - but just a reply on the internet and meant more for the benefit of other readers who are planning on future children or currently expecting).

Our country as a whole will not obtain parental leave reform unless men start demanding for time off and until it becomes normal for new dads to take extended leave.

I am the sole income earner in our family and used the months of pregnancy to save money in preparation for the months of unpaid time I would be taking after my babies births.  We went 5 years without taking a vacation because I was saving all my annual leave for babies.   
I strongly hope that we have parental leave reform in this country so that future parents have better options than you and I were given.

I agree the system is crappy.  My vacation was / is use it or lose it, so I didn't even have the option of saving some up.  My wife used her full 12 weeks both times, and would have stayed home longer if possible.  I would have liked to take 2 full weeks off to help get the family into a new routine, but I needed to reserve some days in case the kid got sick, etc. 

The whole 'having to hold a job open for a year would kill the business' is a BS excuse, everywhere else in the world has figured it out.  There's no sane reason why we can't let parents divvy up 52 weeks of unemployment compensation after the birth / adoption of a child.

I was talking with a female relative in her late 40s (no kids) at a family gathering, and she was upset that some male members of her staff were planning on taking extended vacation time when their wives had babies later this year.  I was shocked.  She said "their wives are having the babies, they aren't.  Now my projects are going to be late."  When senior female leaders in a company are actively against paternity leave, it's going to be tough to get the ball rolling.

SomedayStache

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2016, 12:52:13 PM »
  When senior female leaders in a company are actively against paternity leave, it's going to be tough to get the ball rolling.

Refer to previous post by iris lily. =(