Maternity Leave: What Are Your Options? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Maternity Leave: What Are Your Options?



When you have a new baby in the house there are some things that simply become impossible because your priorities shift to putting the baby first. For many people, the first thing that has to change is their work schedule. Fortunately, many companies offer their employees maternity leave. What you may not realize, however, is that maternity leave is very different from one company to another and, for some, it isn’t paid. In this article you will receive an overview of common maternity leave options as well as tips for making things work with unpaid maternity leave or no leave at all.

Common Options for Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is simply the name given to the period of time a new mother’s takes off after giving birth. The two main options for maternity leave are ordinary maternity leave (OML) and additional maternity leave (AML).

Ordinary Maternity Leave – This type of maternity leave lasts for 26 weeks and it is something all women are entitled to from the first day of their employment – it doesn’t matter how long you have worked for the company or whether you are full-time of part-time. With OML you have the right to return to the same job you left as long as you give proper notice to your employer. The earliest you are allowed to start OML is generally 11 weeks before the expected due date but you certainly have the right to work up until the day the baby is born.

Additional Maternity Leave – In addition to OML, all women are entitled to 26 weeks of additional maternity leave which starts the day after OML ends. For some employers, as much as 13 weeks of AML will be paid, but the remaining 13 weeks will not. Again, you must give your employer notice that you will be taking AML but you do not need to disclose how much you will be taking. If you decide not to take AML you should give your employer 8 weeks’ notice that you will be returning to work.

In addition to offering maternity leave for new mothers, many companies also offer paternity leave – this is the time off that fathers take at the birth or adoption of a new child. Some companies offer several weeks of paid time off for new fathers though, in most cases, paternity leave is still unpaid. The first state to officially offer paid family leave for fathers was California – here you may be able to take up to six weeks of partial paid time off. The best way to find out what your maternity or paternity leave options are is to talk to the human resources department at your company.

What to do if You Don’t Get Maternity Leave

Unfortunately, not all companies offer maternity leave for their employees – especially paid maternity leave. According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, if a company has 50 or more employees then they must offer maternity leave but it doesn’t have to be paid – it simply means that your same job and benefits will be available upon your return. According to this act, companies must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave after the birth of a child.

If your company doesn’t offer paid maternity leave you may be able to save up your sick leave and paid time off to use following the birth of your child. Additionally, you may be able to negotiate with your employer to see if they will consider giving you at least partial payment during your time off.

Even if your company doesn’t offer maternity leave, you should check to see if they offer short-term disability. This is a type of coverage that pays part or all of your salary for a certain number of weeks due to medical needs. If your company doesn’t provide this benefit already, you may be able to purchase a plan from an independent insurance company. Just remember, the earlier you start thinking about your maternity leave options, the better off you will be. You definitely don’t want to wait until the last week of your pregnancy to think about what you will do when the baby is born.

~ Glen Community Support

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