A mom-to-be writes in asking for advice about maternity leave. She says she and her boyfriend are expecting their first child in December. Her job does not offer paid maternity leave. She looked into adding short-term disability into her benefits package at work, but due to the circumstances, her pregnancy is considered a “pre-existing condition” and would not be covered. Looking into private insurance has not yielded any good options either. What can this mom-to-be do?
A member of the community asks:
“My job doesn’t offer maternity leave: Advice?
My boyfriend and I are expecting our first child in December. My job doesn’t offer paid maternity leave. I was hoping to add short term disability onto my benefits package at work to pay for part of my regular pay while on maternity leave, as I didn’t have it during previous years. Unfortunately, because I found out I was pregnant five weeks before our open enrollment began, I don’t qualify to have the short term disability applied to my maternity leave because it’s considered a “pre-existing health condition.”
I looked into other short term disability insurance packages through my private insurance, but they only cover “unique” circumstances, like if I had a c-section versus a natural birth. We discussed it together about budgeting to cover part of my pay as I’ll still need maternity leave. My question is for any other mothers who may have had a similar experience and how they navigated this? What did others find as options? We do have other bills like anyone else, and it’s an option to do a forbearance on student loans, etc., during my time out of work. Thanks in advance for any input!”
Community Advice for This Mom-to-Be Whose Job Does Not Offer Maternity Leave
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“Since you are already pregnant I don’t think anything will cover. I also had unpaid maternity leave. It’s not uncommon. You would have had to add short term disability or any other supplemental coverage prior to pregnancy. Unemployment also will not cover and you will also be responsible for your portion of your medical insurance while you are off. Start saving.”
“I tried to save up as much PTO as I could. I also tried to pay ahead or get rid of any Bill’s I could before the baby came. I also tried to get a little savings together. It was tight believe me, but I had enough diapers and wipes from my shower and had GCs to use as well for stuff.”
“I’m sorry for this failure in our system for not offering governed maternity leave. I don’t know if you looked into DHS programs but they might have some form of assistance that you haven’t looked into yet. Good luck and congratulations.”
“These types of posts make me sad. Every time I see one I thank goodness that I am Canadian. Ladies, you need to fight for better. This shouldn’t even be an issue in 2020. It is absolutely ridiculous. USA moms, dads, and children deserve so much better.”
“Most employers won’t do paid time off for maternity leave, but have to hold your job until you return. FMLA is nationwide and pays you a portion of your normal salary while you’re home. Dads can take FMLA for paternity leave too.”
“Start saving and budget for when you’re off. I’m not sure if this is your first baby or not but you may not realize that you won’t really be doing anything or going anywhere during your time off of work so really you aren’t spending much money. Good luck!”
“I had unpaid maternity leave with my first. Save money now wherever you can. I didn’t eat out and took my lunch to work so that money got saved back. I suspended my cable because it isn’t something we had to have so that monthly payment got saved too. Sit down and budget now to see where you can make cuts and save.”
“With all my kids I went back to work a week or less after I had them. Gotta do what you gotta do.”
“It honestly horrifies me how the US deals with maternity leave. I live in Canada, and we get 12-18 months with a paid percentage of our paycheques, and paternity leave for Dad’s (other partners?) can be used as part of that. Your system is so messed up.”
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