Author Topic: Maternity Leave - US  (Read 27360 times)

iris lily

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2016, 12:59:34 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. =(

I know! Having to deliver work products is such a buzzkill.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2016, 02:44:57 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. =(

I know! Having to deliver work products is such a buzzkill.
Well, but...barring emergency deliveries, pregnancy and babies are something you can actually plan for, approximately.

So, your female employee is pregnant and due in July?  And plans to take 3 months FMLA?  Start planning NOW, train people to pick up the work, and split it up fairly.  Perhaps hire an intern to take on lower level work from other employees, and transfer her work to those employees.

So, you have two male employees whose wives are pregnant and due in August and September?  Figure out what needs to be done to get the work done on schedule.  If that means shifting work "forward", or re-prioritizing, or bringing on part-time staff...then do it.  There are things that mess up the ability to do work that are unplanned - earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, deaths, injuries and illnesses, to name a few.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I essentially did the work of *two* people for 3-4 straight months.  I picked up work from my boss and two other senior people:
Boss: had an extended illness (several weeks) and surgery (several weeks)
Senior guy #1:  a three week vacation
Senior guy #2:  a two week vacation and a 1 week vacation

I wasn't sleeping worth crap anyway, so might as well do extra, no?  So really, was it any big deal for me to be out for 11 weeks for the birth?  I think not.  If *I* was capable of doing their work for 3-4 months, they were perfectly capable of picking up my work for 11 weeks.

With every single person who actually takes time off to recover, or bond, or whatever - one would HOPE that companies get better at *planning*, and not the kind that means you work the people who are left like dogs with no extra compensation, just to fuck them over and make them mad at everyone else.

nobody123

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2016, 02:50:44 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. =(

I know! Having to deliver work products is such a buzzkill.

And somehow the rest of the civilized world manages to do it while offering maternity leave.  Yes it's a pain in the butt when someone takes extended time off, but it's not like the birth of a child is a surprise.  You have months to prepare, and it provides an excellent opportunity to cross-train someone.

iris lily

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #53 on: March 22, 2016, 03:00:27 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. =(

I know! Having to deliver work products is such a buzzkill.
Well, but...barring emergency deliveries, pregnancy and babies are something you can actually plan for, approximately.

So, your female employee is pregnant and due in July?  And plans to take 3 months FMLA?  Start planning NOW, train people to pick up the work, and split it up fairly.  Perhaps hire an intern to take on lower level work from other employees, and transfer her work to those employees.

So, you have two male employees whose wives are pregnant and due in August and September?  Figure out what needs to be done to get the work done on schedule.  If that means shifting work "forward", or re-prioritizing, or bringing on part-time staff...then do it.  There are things that mess up the ability to do work that are unplanned - earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, deaths, injuries and illnesses, to name a few.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I essentially did the work of *two* people for 3-4 straight months.  I picked up work from my boss and two other senior people:
Boss: had an extended illness (several weeks) and surgery (several weeks)
Senior guy #1:  a three week vacation
Senior guy #2:  a two week vacation and a 1 week vacation

I wasn't sleeping worth crap anyway, so might as well do extra, no?  So really, was it any big deal for me to be out for 11 weeks for the birth?  I think not.  If *I* was capable of doing their work for 3-4 months, they were perfectly capable of picking up my work for 11 weeks.

With every single person who actually takes time off to recover, or bond, or whatever - one would HOPE that companies get better at *planning*, and not the kind that means you work the people who are left like dogs with no extra compensation, just to fuck them over and make them mad at everyone else.

Sure, much of the leave associated with pregnancy can be planned in advance, some not. Had my fair share of the "nots" to manage. Then there were those who had  quite a number of maternity leaves. It was my goal to get out before one employee had baby no. 6. Or was it 7? Anyway, I  made it.

This thread is about maternity leave, but its not a stretch to talk about other FMLA leave snce the larger theme seems to be societal support of work leave. Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

nobody123

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #54 on: March 22, 2016, 03:11:30 PM »
This thread is about maternity leave, but its not a stretch to talk about other FMLA leave snce the larger theme seems to be societal support of work leave. Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

I don't get why you would be upset at the pregnant person when the other 5 presumably left for emergencies that gave you zero notice.

Margie

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #55 on: March 22, 2016, 03:20:40 PM »
I had heard that the US had horrible mat leave policies but wow these are worse than I would have expected from a first world country.
In Canada we get one year at 55% pay (employment insurance pays)  Except for government employees and ones with very generous plans who get "top ups" up to 85%.
Employment insurance is paid partially by the employee and employer (around 750 year for employee and 1.4 X for employer per year)
It hasn't killed our economy.  the full year went into effect in 2002 and it has definitely been a help to allowing families time to get established.
Hopefully American laws will change!
As an aside I probably would have lost my mind or inadvertently killed a patient if I had been expected to make good decisions at six weeks post partum.  I was so sleep deprived some days I thought this would be a good torture method!  hahaha   With my second, it the sleep deprivation was easier to handle but it was nice not to have to be working with a toddler and baby.
Good luck!


iris lily

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #56 on: March 22, 2016, 03:48:16 PM »
This thread is about maternity leave, but its not a stretch to talk about other FMLA leave snce the larger theme seems to be societal support of work leave. Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

I don't get why you would be upset at the pregnant person when the other 5 presumably left for emergencies that gave you zero notice.
Dude, I was upset with ALL of them.  It was the year from hell. It solidified my goal to
Get the Fick out.

And advance notice of being gone for weeks is still beng gone for weeks.


I'm a red panda

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #57 on: March 23, 2016, 06:43:10 AM »
Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

Man, I would love that perfect world where we could plan to get pregnant at a certain time and it actually happen. I would be thrilled if I could make reproduction work on a certain time line.

 Could we also plan for pregnancies to end with a baby coming home from the hospital?  I'd hate to think my team was thrilled when I called them 2 months before I was supposed to be out to tell them I wouldn't need the 12 weeks off after all...
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 06:45:02 AM by iowajes »

nobody123

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2016, 06:58:51 AM »
This thread is about maternity leave, but its not a stretch to talk about other FMLA leave snce the larger theme seems to be societal support of work leave. Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

I don't get why you would be upset at the pregnant person when the other 5 presumably left for emergencies that gave you zero notice.
Dude, I was upset with ALL of them.  It was the year from hell. It solidified my goal to
Get the Fick out.

And advance notice of being gone for weeks is still beng gone for weeks.

So you never took a sick day over your entire career?  Life happens, expecting your employees to be robotic slaves to the company is a bit of 1950s thinking.  I don't get how a human being can be upset that a colleague got sick, had a baby, took a long vacation, etc.  Now, if you company has that 1950s way of thinking and won't let you adjust resources / timelines to the reality of your team's legally-approved absences, I could see being mad at the company.

iris lily

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #59 on: March 23, 2016, 08:55:10 AM »
This thread is about maternity leave, but its not a stretch to talk about other FMLA leave snce the larger theme seems to be societal support of work leave. Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

I don't get why you would be upset at the pregnant person when the other 5 presumably left for emergencies that gave you zero notice.
Dude, I was upset with ALL of them.  It was the year from hell. It solidified my goal to
Get the Fick out.

And advance notice of being gone for weeks is still beng gone for weeks.


So you never took a sick day over your entire career?  Life happens, expecting your employees to be robotic slaves to the company is a bit of 1950s thinking.  I don't get how a human being can be upset that a colleague got sick, had a baby, took a long vacation, etc.  Now, if you company has that 1950s way of thinking and won't let you adjust resources / timelines to the reality of your team's legally-approved absences, I could see being mad at the company.

I can be upset about whatever I like, and it was a long slog that Year of
The FMLA. What mattered was action, and each employee got their government mandated leave.

For perspective, an FMLA absence took place about once every two or three years in my group of 20+ over the decades.


StarBright

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2016, 09:58:20 AM »
If you have a desk job and can get some work from home time, I'd take it. Newborns sleep a lot and it is possible to get work done.

My company did not offer FMLA (less than 50 workers) or any leave at all and I work remotely so I had a weird maternity leave.

I had three weeks of paid vacation saved up that I could use. I took a couple of days "off" after birth and started working half days the next week. I was back to full days by week 5.

Honestly, I was working while I was in labor and I was sending emails within 12 hours of giving birth.  My boss "generously" told me "to take the time I needed" as long as I was still hitting all my deadlines.  It was not ideal but I did it with two births.

The plus side is that working from home allowed me to be with my newborns and get my hours in as needed. When my husband was a grad student we were able to keep the oldest home until he was six months, then part time day care and he didn't start full time daycare until he was 14 months. My youngest started full time daycare much sooner but still later than if I'd had to be in an office at week 4.

The system (or lack there of) in the US is a bummer. My youngest child was born two years ago and I've just never really felt as healthy as I did before children. I wonder if I would be healthier and have more energy if I had had some sort of real leave time.

I added my lame story just to show that even when it sucks - working from home right after giving birth can be done.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2016, 10:45:10 AM »
Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

Man, I would love that perfect world where we could plan to get pregnant at a certain time and it actually happen. I would be thrilled if I could make reproduction work on a certain time line.

 Could we also plan for pregnancies to end with a baby coming home from the hospital?  I'd hate to think my team was thrilled when I called them 2 months before I was supposed to be out to tell them I wouldn't need the 12 weeks off after all...
Yeah, pretty much this.  While I know the occasional person who was able to plan their pregnancies, I certainly couldn't!! Took more than 1.5 years each time.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2016, 10:46:53 AM »
This thread is about maternity leave, but its not a stretch to talk about other FMLA leave snce the larger theme seems to be societal support of work leave. Perhaps in a perect world my emloyees would have planned to get pregnant at a time when 5 of their colleagues were not out .

I don't get why you would be upset at the pregnant person when the other 5 presumably left for emergencies that gave you zero notice.
Dude, I was upset with ALL of them.  It was the year from hell. It solidified my goal to
Get the Fick out.

And advance notice of being gone for weeks is still beng gone for weeks.


So you never took a sick day over your entire career?  Life happens, expecting your employees to be robotic slaves to the company is a bit of 1950s thinking.  I don't get how a human being can be upset that a colleague got sick, had a baby, took a long vacation, etc.  Now, if you company has that 1950s way of thinking and won't let you adjust resources / timelines to the reality of your team's legally-approved absences, I could see being mad at the company.

I can be upset about whatever I like, and it was a long slog that Year of
The FMLA. What mattered was action, and each employee got their government mandated leave.

For perspective, an FMLA absence took place about once every two or three years in my group of 20+ over the decades.
I guess maybe you should just be happy that you never needed one?  I gather that if you had to take FMLA for birth, illness, injury, or whatever - it would really suck to be fired while you are out.  Can you imagine?  OH, you have cancer and need chemo?  You're fired.

No job, no insurance, just eff you!

Goldielocks

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #63 on: March 24, 2016, 10:53:52 AM »
I had heard that the US had horrible mat leave policies but wow these are worse than I would have expected from a first world country.
In Canada we get one year at 55% pay (employment insurance pays)  Except for government employees and ones with very generous plans who get "top ups" up to 85%.
Employment insurance is paid partially by the employee and employer (around 750 year for employee and 1.4 X for employer per year)
It hasn't killed our economy.  the full year went into effect in 2002 and it has definitely been a help to allowing families time to get established.
Good luck!
Well, it is not quite as good as you make it... but still very good.

My point for below is that the benefits do not have to cost much to be extremely beneficial to society.  It is baffling why the US is not with the program for guaranteed extended leave, at the very least.

Canada -- my qualifying statements about the "awesome" maternity leave....
-The 55% EI pay maxes out at $22,800 per year... or 55% of the average full time pay, so half of women would receive much less than 55%.. 
-Minimum, you need to have earned EI credits (about 600 hours of EI contributions in previous 52 weeks) to qualify -- which catches some people short if they have hourly shift jobs that are hard to keep while pregnant, or if you are self-employed.
-The $'s are based on your best 22 weeks of pay in the prior 52 weeks...  so to max it out, you need to have worked for at least 22 weeks in the prior 52 weeks.
-Because of the EI, quite a few private employers do not provide added funds, except for a few weeks of STD / health benefits after birth, if they have group benefit plans (some don't).


1. The key benefit is a guaranteed return to work after 1 year leave of absence, without a cap of the 50 employees that the USA has.  This costs the government nothing directly.   This right applies to both men and women since 2002.... and the longer leave is actually easier for companies to backfill with temporary contracts.

2. The secondary benefit is the top up for between 20% and 55% of your previous salary, if you receive the EI benefit and no other income.

3. And of course, the benefit that they do not charge you to have a birth in a hospital, nor for well baby/mom visits, followup care for complications and immunizations.!!!  I truly can't believe the cost to give birth (and have checkups) in the US.  That alone is a major drag on the family finances.

Daleth

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #64 on: March 24, 2016, 11:56:47 AM »
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.

Preference. 12 weeks of unpaid leave is federal law for most employers (anyone with more than 50 employees and any elementary or secondary school regardless of how many employees they have), and it applies to any employee who has worked there for at least 12 months and 1250 hours, even if the 12 months you're counting were not consecutive (in other words seasonal employees and the like may be covered if they've worked there for a total of the requisite amount of time).

Assuming FMLA applies to your workplace and you, you get 12 weeks unpaid, period. If you also want to use the paid vacation time you've banked, that should be in addition to the 12 weeks. Under no circumstances does an employer covered by FMLA get to cut your 12 weeks unpaid to anything less than 12.

Here's a primer on who FMLA applies to: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #65 on: March 24, 2016, 01:54:21 PM »
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.

Preference. 12 weeks of unpaid leave is federal law for most employers (anyone with more than 50 employees and any elementary or secondary school regardless of how many employees they have), and it applies to any employee who has worked there for at least 12 months and 1250 hours, even if the 12 months you're counting were not consecutive (in other words seasonal employees and the like may be covered if they've worked there for a total of the requisite amount of time).

Assuming FMLA applies to your workplace and you, you get 12 weeks unpaid, period. If you also want to use the paid vacation time you've banked, that should be in addition to the 12 weeks. Under no circumstances does an employer covered by FMLA get to cut your 12 weeks unpaid to anything less than 12.

Here's a primer on who FMLA applies to: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm

Bolded part is not true.  Not true in CA, not true in NY:

http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/disability/disability-rights/maternity-leave-rights-in-new-york

"The FMLA requires only that employers offer unpaid leave. However, if you have accrued paid leave (such as vacation time), you may choose -- or your employer may require you -- to use it during your FMLA leave. This allows you to get paid for at least some of your leave, but it also means you must use up your accrued time off. You may use accrued time off only for the purposes allowed under your employer's policy. For example, you may not be able to use accrued sick days during your parental leave, if your employer's policy makes sick leave available only to those who are ill. "

My second company in CA required me to use my paid leave while on FMLA, so that I wouldn't be out for even longer. (In CA, for a vaginal birth, you could be out for up to 22 weeks - 4 before the birth and 18 after, due to FMLA and PDL and CFRA). 

The only way to get around that here (or in this case I assume?) would be to use your vacation while you are pregnant and go out on maternity leave with zero PTO on the books.  The bad part: you do NOT get to save your vacation for actual vacation, or for needed time off when kids are sick.  The good part: you aren't using "vacation" for something that is most certainly not a vacation!!

seattlecyclone

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #66 on: March 24, 2016, 01:58:06 PM »

Assuming FMLA applies to your workplace and you, you get 12 weeks unpaid, period. If you also want to use the paid vacation time you've banked, that should be in addition to the 12 weeks. Under no circumstances does an employer covered by FMLA get to cut your 12 weeks unpaid to anything less than 12.

Here's a primer on who FMLA applies to: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm

You're not quite correct about this. See http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm. Employers are required to offer you 12 weeks off, and they are not required to pay you for that time. If they do decide to give some sort of paid leave, that paid leave can then count toward the 12 required weeks. Employers can even force you to exhaust your paid vacation at the beginning of the 12 weeks so you can't go ahead and extend your unpaid leave with paid time immediately afterward. As long as you have the opportunity to take 12 weeks off, the specifics of how much of that is paid is left up to the employer.

Daleth

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #67 on: March 27, 2016, 11:35:57 AM »
Yikes! I stand corrected.

CatamaranSailor

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #68 on: March 27, 2016, 06:03:03 PM »
My wife and I had planned for her to return to work after 6 weeks. But 1 week before she was due, she started crying and told me she didn't want to go back at all. She couldn't handle the thought of anyone except us raising our baby. Our "baby" is now 6' tall and in high school and she just went back to working full time this school year. For 14 years she was a stay at home mom and it was the best decision we ever made. I do not fault any mom who goes back to work, but I will say that if you want to stay home with your baby, do it. It was hard for us financially to take that hit, but she became a budget master and learned all the tricks to stretch every penny. I should also mention we were both teachers, so we weren't raking it in even when we were both working. If you want to continue with your career, you'll find a way to make it work...especially having family close by. But take as much time as you need...don't let some company policy dictate to you how much time you can spend with your baby. Maternity leave in the US is a joke.

wordnerd

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #69 on: March 27, 2016, 07:09:41 PM »
I'm three months out and recently went back full-time. I would not have been ready at six weeks (and I would not have been ready to telework either). I had an easy vaginal birth and felt mostly healed from that around 4-5 weeks. But, as others have stated, the effects on your body do not end with birth. Breastfeeding is a big one, if you choose that. My son was still eating close to every hour at 6 weeks. Sleep deprivation is another. At 6 weeks, most babies are still waking every 2-3 hours to eat. And, as one poster mentioned, the period of purple crying peaks at 6 weeks. Our son wasn't colicky but still had a couple of hours of crying a night.

Things started to improve around 8 weeks for us. And, now at almost 13 weeks, things are very manageable. Your experience will surely be different, but it's impossible to predict how. Family support will help (cooking, cleaning, and holding the baby while you nap or get out for an hour would all be helpful), but only so much.

All this to say, I would try to negotiate for more time. You say that you've worked there for 5 years and it's a very small company, so hopefully you have goodwill/personal relationships with the decisionmakers. If you decide to come back early (I did because I missed it some ways and wanted to save some leave), they'll be pleasantly surprised.

sheepstache

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #70 on: May 05, 2016, 08:33:04 PM »

Assuming FMLA applies to your workplace and you, you get 12 weeks unpaid, period. If you also want to use the paid vacation time you've banked, that should be in addition to the 12 weeks. Under no circumstances does an employer covered by FMLA get to cut your 12 weeks unpaid to anything less than 12.

Here's a primer on who FMLA applies to: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm

You're not quite correct about this. See http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm. Employers are required to offer you 12 weeks off, and they are not required to pay you for that time. If they do decide to give some sort of paid leave, that paid leave can then count toward the 12 required weeks. Employers can even force you to exhaust your paid vacation at the beginning of the 12 weeks so you can't go ahead and extend your unpaid leave with paid time immediately afterward. As long as you have the opportunity to take 12 weeks off, the specifics of how much of that is paid is left up to the employer.

Indeed, a lawyer at my union just confirmed this.  Unfortunately I'm due right after the yearly cycle for vacation starts :P

kanga1622

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #71 on: May 06, 2016, 02:19:42 PM »
6 weeks mostly definitely would not have been enough for me. I took 12 weeks with both my kids and still hated going back to work. Especially if you are breastfeeding you will want to be home longer if possible. They go through a growth spurt around 5/6 weeks and all I got done for the first 8 weeks was feeding and changing the babies.

I did not have any daytime visitors after DH went back to work. Once he went back to work I just figured out how to muddle through the days and made it work. I had c-sections and really within 4-5 days the only tricky part was getting off the couch. :) Having fully prepped meals in the freezer was a huge help with our 2nd. It was great to be able to pull out taco meat, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce, etc. and just have DH heat things through while I fed the baby.

Both DH and I had leave saved up so I took 12 weeks off completely paid with the first and was about 2 days short of 12 paid weeks off with our 2nd. DH used 3 weeks of paid leave with our 1st and was home on summer break with our 2nd so wasn't paid but didn't expect to be either.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 02:24:31 PM by kanga1622 »

Fishinshawn

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #72 on: May 06, 2016, 05:07:05 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'm a dad, I took 12 weeks off for all three of the kids my current wife and I have together. I saved all my vacation time for the entire year, my wife is a stay at home mom, but I can't imagine going back to work after 6 weeks as dad, much less as mom...
Neither my wife or I have any close relationships with relatives, so none came to visit at all. 

Babies sleep  ALOT! I mean it, they are constantly sleeping all day, they just do it in much shorter spans. You need to sleep when they sleep. Take every opportunity you can to sleep. Then you are your husband split up days and nights, do shifts.  That way each of you is getting a decent 3-4hr block of sleep in that is relatively uninterrupted. I  can not say this enough though, don't try to stay up all day during the day with the baby, sleep when that kid sleeps or you will be hating life after a few days.

SomedayStache

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #73 on: May 08, 2016, 09:08:54 AM »


Babies sleep  ALOT! I mean it, they are constantly sleeping all day, they just do it in much shorter spans. You need to sleep when they sleep. Take every opportunity you can to sleep. ... I  can not say this enough though, don't try to stay up all day during the day with the baby, sleep when that kid sleeps or you will be hating life after a few days.

This is true.  Ironically most people do not understand the depth of this truth with their first child.  I sure didn't.  By child #2+ this sleeping when the baby sleeps nirvana is impossible.  The universe loves to laugh at us.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2016, 03:02:53 PM »


Babies sleep  ALOT! I mean it, they are constantly sleeping all day, they just do it in much shorter spans. You need to sleep when they sleep. Take every opportunity you can to sleep. ... I  can not say this enough though, don't try to stay up all day during the day with the baby, sleep when that kid sleeps or you will be hating life after a few days.

This is true.  Ironically most people do not understand the depth of this truth with their first child.  I sure didn't.  By child #2+ this sleeping when the baby sleeps nirvana is impossible.  The universe loves to laugh at us.

Yes.  Baby #2 my nights were 12 hours long for the first few weeks/ months (it's fuzzy).  I would go to bed at 8 pm, right after feeding the baby.  I would wake up with him 2-3 times a night to nurse/ diaper/ etc.  But each time, I was awake for 45 min - 1.5 hours.

By the time I was "awake" for good, it was 8 am.

goatmom

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #75 on: May 11, 2016, 12:12:09 PM »
There is no easy answer.  Some women are chomping at the bit to return to work.  Others are not ready for quite awhile.  I am glad to see all these dads getting time off.  My dh didn't get a day off.  He was given grief for having someone cover for him so he could be at the delivery.  Then right after the birth he was deployed.  As for when to have family visit - for me I guess I am an introvert because I never really enjoyed family visiting.  I feel uncomfortable having someone extra around when all I felt like doing was lounging around half dressed so I could breastfeed on demand. I kind of liked being left alone to stare at my little one and not have to worry about anyone else.

Cognitive Miser

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #76 on: May 11, 2016, 02:07:52 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.

Congrats!

No, 4 weeks is not enough.  Working from home will be close to impossible - all you will want to do while baby is sleeping is sleep yourself.  I had a C-section and was not even medically cleared to return to work by my physician until 8 weeks.  Most short-term disability policies pay for 6 weeks for vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for surgical delivery, so even insurance companies recognize 4 weeks off is not enough.  If you are breastfeeding, it will take 6-8 weeks for your baby to really get the hang of it.

So no, no, no - negotiate for more time off, or at least make the time off contingent upon the type of delivery you have.  Save up your money to take the extra time unpaid if you have to.  I took 12 weeks completely unpaid and it was just barely enough time (both physically and emotionally).  I saved in advance to cover the loss of income.  If you are adhering to MMM principles, you can do it!  Save those pennies and take that time with your newborn!

KisKis

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #77 on: May 11, 2016, 07:31:38 PM »
I disagree with the above.  6 weeks was plenty for me.  Like a previous poster said, it really depends on the individual. 

1. How much maternity leave did you and your spouse/partner have? Was it paid?

I used 5 weeks with my first, 4 weeks with my second.  It was fully paid.  I saved up vacation time for two years in preparation for each.  It was hard to leave them as sweet babies, but a part of me was also ready to get back to work.  I had saved extra time to work half days, but I never needed to use them.  I had vaginal deliveries, so my recovery time was much quicker than a c-section.  I did get 2nd degree episiotomies with both, but after three days of being stuck in a hospital bed, I was ready to go home and move around.  As another previous poster said, newborns sleep A LOT, but just in 3-4 hour stretches with maybe 30 minutes of wakefulness in between, so if you sleep with the baby, it's really not too bad at all.  I finished reading the entire Twilight trilogy during my first maternity leave (haha), so I must have had a good amount of downtime. I was in so much discomfort by the last month of my pregnancy, that the delivery was like nirvana for me and the month after of actually being able to sleep without my nose getting stuffed or hips slipping around, even if only for hours at a time, was completely luxurious.  Our kids didn't sleep through the night until at least 8 months, and I nursed for 23 months each, and it was fine even working full time.  Not saying it's not A LOT easier now that they are 4 & 7, but it wasn't anything like the horror stories we had heard.  We were lucky that we didn't have any reflux or colic to deal with, but my SIL's baby now is even easier than ours were.  We coslept so all I had to do was roll over to nurse at nighttime.  Really, the discomfort of full boobs was the worst part of having a newborn.  I am so glad to be done with breastfeeding.

DH's job is based on the tourist season, so he didn't have any time off.  Luckily, it rained on the weekend of both deliveries, so he was able to be at the hospital with me.  He gets winters off though, so he spends plenty of quality dad time with the kids.

2. How often did you have family come visit or help after the baby was born? What visiting schedule was most helpful?

My mom came to stay with us for a week the week after each baby was born.  She did all the grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, so that was really nice.  My in-laws are local, and they help A LOT, but I actually liked the bonding time alone with DH and baby during my maternity leaves.  We spent a lot of it just cuddled up in bed or on the couch.


3. What did family do at your house that was most helpful?

Left us alone.  :)  BUT, at 6 months, I was calling in all the babysitting time I could so that I could have grown up time again.  We didn't have our first full night away until after a year, but it was glorious.  ...except for the painfully full boobs.

Anyways, congratulations!  You will be fine.  We all survive, and many of us go on to have more.  Either it really wasn't that bad, or nature finds a way to wipe out the pain and leave only a warm glow of happy memories.  I'm good with both.  Honestly, six months to about a year was probably the toughest time for me.  When they are alert enough to want constant entertainment, but aren't able to properly communicate was the most tiring time for me.  It gets soooo much easier after they can talk, but I would take the first newborn month again in a heartbeat.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 07:47:09 PM by KisKis »

gluskap

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #78 on: May 18, 2016, 01:11:10 PM »
6 weeks is definitely not enough in my opinion.  Even if you are physically prepared to go back to work, I think having extra time to bond with your baby and to deal with the sleep deprivation and breastfeeding is essential.  Total time I took off was 5 months.  One month before I was due and 4 months after.  The whole time was partially paid leave.  You get 4 weeks before due date and 6 weeks after maternity/disability leave paid by EDD in California and 6 weeks paid for Family Bonding Leave.  They only pay up to 55% of your salary though but this is pretax so it works out to about 70-80% of your take home pay.  Then I took an additional month off using my sick and vacation days which was paid 100% by my company.

My mom stayed with me for a month after the baby was born and this was so helpful!  She helped out with cooking and chores and took turns with some night feedings so I could sleep.  MIL helped by coming over and bringing food.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #79 on: May 18, 2016, 01:15:05 PM »
Wow California Mom's have a nice thing going for them!

TabbyCat

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #80 on: May 18, 2016, 01:56:06 PM »
6 weeks is probably not enough, it is normal to still be bleeding until the 6 week mark, regardless of how baby is born. I didn't have enough stamina to walk for more than 20 minutes until the 10 week mark. At 12 weeks I felt like I was barely physically ready but pushing it. I have a desk job.

MrsDinero

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #81 on: May 18, 2016, 02:42:26 PM »
6 weeks is probably not enough, it is normal to still be bleeding until the 6 week mark, regardless of how baby is born. I didn't have enough stamina to walk for more than 20 minutes until the 10 week mark. At 12 weeks I felt like I was barely physically ready but pushing it. I have a desk job.

That is a good point about the bleeding.  I stopped bleeding after about 2-3 weeks but at 7 weeks was when my first post-pregnancy period hit and it was beyond awful.  It happened to coincide with Mr. D's first post-baby business trip.  I had contraction-like cramps so bad that I called the doctor who unfortunately confirmed it was "normal".  They also said it could last longer than a regular period. 

Obviously every woman may have a different experience but these are also thing you just will not know ahead of time.

Ceridwen

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #82 on: May 19, 2016, 08:00:41 AM »
I really don't mean this as a humble-brag or an irrelevant Canada vs US comparison, but I just really don't know how you mamas do it.  I had 13 and 14 month maternity leaves, and even then I found the back to work adjustment to be difficult.  At 6-8-12 weeks postpartum, I was still a mess physically and emotionally.  You are all tough cookies and I stand in awe of you.

KCM5

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #83 on: May 19, 2016, 08:36:59 AM »
I really don't mean this as a humble-brag or an irrelevant Canada vs US comparison, but I just really don't know how you mamas do it.  I had 13 and 14 month maternity leaves, and even then I found the back to work adjustment to be difficult.  At 6-8-12 weeks postpartum, I was still a mess physically and emotionally.  You are all tough cookies and I stand in awe of you.

You do what you have to do - I think most of us would have appreciated more of a choice. I love my job, but I couldn't get it back if I was gone for a year. Keeping the job was worth it to me. Many parents have a different calculation.

A solution like Canada's or Britain's - where parents are guaranteed a partially paid year's leave though unemployment insurance or a payroll tax with a job when they return would be fantastic. Companies would hire a contract worker for a year, which would be better than our current solution where they usually just limp along for 12 weeks and if you have a job that can't be put off for 12 weeks your co-workers/boss have to pick up the slack. It's a terrible system.

milliemchi

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #84 on: May 19, 2016, 08:39:01 AM »
I really don't mean this as a humble-brag or an irrelevant Canada vs US comparison, but I just really don't know how you mamas do it.  I had 13 and 14 month maternity leaves, and even then I found the back to work adjustment to be difficult.  At 6-8-12 weeks postpartum, I was still a mess physically and emotionally.  You are all tough cookies and I stand in awe of you.

It may be that with 12 weeks of leave (and often less), you are never really out of the 'work state of mind', so you fall back in it quickly, and the difficulty is logistical (sleep, childcare, ability to focus, no down time) more than a change of roles. Not that that is a good thing.

I never had the opportunity to be just the worker or just the mother. I wouldn't have really wanted to, but there are consequences. You're not doing either one well. I talked to a psychologist with her own practice once, and she mentioned that all her recent moms are bothered by being shitty workers and shitty moms, concurrently.  This released me from worry, as I saw I was right where I should be. :)

meerkat

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #85 on: May 19, 2016, 08:51:07 AM »
It may be that with 12 weeks of leave (and often less), you are never really out of the 'work state of mind', so you fall back in it quickly

I don't know if I'd call it quickly, but I was out for 12 weeks and it took a month or two for me to feel like I was back in the groove at work. I could almost feel my brain getting rusty while I was out, though, so part of it was just getting back into the habit of critical thinking rather than endlessly going through the list of "Diaper change? Is a feeding coming up? Is a nap time coming up? Do I need to eat? Are we leaving the house today to run errands/meet up with other moms? Wait, I think I smell something, does he need a diaper change?" If I was out for a year I think I would have been just as out of the loop but I don't know how long it would have taken my brain to get back into work mode.

For what it's worth, it took me six weeks after the birth (vaginal, minimal tearing, no complications) to start feeling halfway normal and like I could get through a day without assistance. I can't imagine if I had had to go back to work at six weeks even if the baby had been sleeping through the night from day one (which certainly was not the case!). Even the first week or two I always felt the stitches every time I sat down or stood up - no one warned me about that!

milliemchi

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #86 on: May 19, 2016, 08:59:55 AM »
It may be that with 12 weeks of leave (and often less), you are never really out of the 'work state of mind', so you fall back in it quickly

I don't know if I'd call it quickly, but I was out for 12 weeks and it took a month or two for me to feel like I was back in the groove at work.

I certainly did not mean that one becomes effective at work quickly. I was talking more about the identity and social role. After a year off work, you have other mom friends, you do baby playdates, you read parenting magazines, the social network is different. I imagine that it's a totally different mindset, that it would take some time to reconnect to the world of work, especially if that is not your preferred option.

meerkat

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #87 on: May 19, 2016, 10:40:53 AM »
I certainly did not mean that one becomes effective at work quickly. I was talking more about the identity and social role. After a year off work, you have other mom friends, you do baby playdates, you read parenting magazines, the social network is different. I imagine that it's a totally different mindset, that it would take some time to reconnect to the world of work, especially if that is not your preferred option.

Oh that makes sense, and I agree. The hospital I gave birth at did a very good job of fostering a sense of community - they hosted free weekly lunches for moms of babies aged 2 to 12 weeks that were born at the hospital. There'd be a topic of the week with a guest speaker (pediatric dentistry, PPD, infant swim safety, etc.) and then an hour or so of the moms going around the room and introducing themselves and saying one thing going on with them that week. There's also a seasonal Facebook group (spring, summer, fall, winter) so everyone could keep in touch. It was awesome and I think every hospital/community should have something like this.

Anyway, it became obvious towards the end which moms were going back to work and which were SAHMing. The SAHMs definitely had a different mindset. I don't think I have it in me to be a SAHM long term but having a year of leave would have been amazing and I don't think there would have been as much of a noticeable difference in the group.

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #88 on: May 19, 2016, 01:03:34 PM »
I really don't mean this as a humble-brag or an irrelevant Canada vs US comparison, but I just really don't know how you mamas do it.  I had 13 and 14 month maternity leaves, and even then I found the back to work adjustment to be difficult.  At 6-8-12 weeks postpartum, I was still a mess physically and emotionally.  You are all tough cookies and I stand in awe of you.

Me too.  I could barely get breakfast into me - let alone have a shower and brush my teeth and have no barf clothing on. 

Gin1984

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #89 on: May 19, 2016, 02:01:55 PM »
I really don't mean this as a humble-brag or an irrelevant Canada vs US comparison, but I just really don't know how you mamas do it.  I had 13 and 14 month maternity leaves, and even then I found the back to work adjustment to be difficult.  At 6-8-12 weeks postpartum, I was still a mess physically and emotionally.  You are all tough cookies and I stand in awe of you.

Me too.  I could barely get breakfast into me - let alone have a shower and brush my teeth and have no barf clothing on.
Sometimes you are lucky.  I worked up until Saturday, went into the hospital Sunday, gave birth monday.  Missed one Wednesday class, took the next Wednesday class online (every other week was online), was back in fulltime classes the week later (two weeks from birth).

milliemchi

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #90 on: May 19, 2016, 02:27:37 PM »
I also did not have a problem with pain or exhaustion or whatever the physical problems are. It was all in sleep deprivation and ensuing mental dysfunction - mainly the inability to even make a to-do list, let alone stick to it.

mm1970

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #91 on: May 20, 2016, 04:50:17 PM »
6 weeks is probably not enough, it is normal to still be bleeding until the 6 week mark, regardless of how baby is born. I didn't have enough stamina to walk for more than 20 minutes until the 10 week mark. At 12 weeks I felt like I was barely physically ready but pushing it. I have a desk job.

That is a good point about the bleeding.  I stopped bleeding after about 2-3 weeks but at 7 weeks was when my first post-pregnancy period hit and it was beyond awful.  It happened to coincide with Mr. D's first post-baby business trip.  I had contraction-like cramps so bad that I called the doctor who unfortunately confirmed it was "normal".  They also said it could last longer than a regular period. 

Obviously every woman may have a different experience but these are also thing you just will not know ahead of time.
second kid I bled for at least 7 weeks.  It was awful

Jaguar Paw

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Re: Maternity Leave - US
« Reply #92 on: May 24, 2016, 12:37:30 PM »
Wife is expecting in late June so i figured that I would chime in. We have both been with the same company for 8 years me,7 years her. Our job provides a ton of vacation time every year that accumulates infinitely not used. Currently we can take 4 weeks off and bank another 5 weeks per year. Neither of us are offered paid maternal or paternal leave bit can use our vacation time as desired.

Because of everything we have accumulated, she will be taking 12 weeks off and I will be taking 5 weeks or so off, fully paid. Pretty cool.