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U.S. Maternity leave question--need answer today

Bella_mezzo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
5,754
As you all know from my complaining I work for pretty much the most non-family friendly company in NYC :nono:

Anyway, I am finally meeting with HR (well, my company doesn't actually have HR, so it is the CFO and a random person from our finance department :rolleyes: ) regarding my FMLA leave--yeah, they didn't have time to see me until the my next to last day in the office and now there are some big unanswered questions:

1. Does your company let you use leave you would have accrued in the calendar year (e.g. not the three months of FMLA, but the time after that) for FMLA? (of course with the stipulation that if you don't return following leave you need to repay that amount)

2. Are you allowed to use sick time for FMLA?

3. What happens to items that are deducted from your check pre-tax while on FMLA--do you pay up front (which means you cough up extra cash in advance AND you lose the pre-tax benefit) or do you just adjust to a larger pre-tax deduction when you return so that the year evens out and all is pre-tax?

Since I only get the 12 unpaid weeks, all of the above have a pretty big impact on our finances...

Any feedback from your experiences is most helpful as I have a meeting at the end of the day today.

thanks!
 

NovemberBride

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
962
Bella,

These items are determined by Company policy and are not generally governed by the terms of the Family Medical Leave Act. That law essentially grants those who qualify (i.e. have worked 1250 hours in the past year and work for an employer with at least 50 employees) the right to have their job held for 12 weeks. It says nothing about pay. That said, for me personally, I was entitled to use as much of my accrued leave (we just have PTO - not separate sick and vacation time) as I wanted so that I would be paid while I was on FMLA. I had short term disability coverage for the first six weeks, so I used accrued leave time so that I was paid for the last six weeks. I do not believe my company would have allowed me to take 12 weeks unpaid and then take an additional six weeks paid (and FMLA doesn't give you that right either). With regards to pre-tax items, since I was being paid the whole time I was out throught either short-term disability or vacation, the Company continued to deduct my medical premiums and 401k contributions from my paycheck. I am not sure how they would have done it is I was not paid, but you shouldn't lose the pre-tax nature of those payments regardless. Soryr this is not very helpful, but these things really are up to each company to decide.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
I don't have any advice but I want to wish you luck in your upcoming Mommyhood! I'm so excited for you to meet Baby B! He is one lucky boy to get you for a Mama!
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
Like Novbride said, those specific topics are usually determined by the company's policy, but FMLA does say something about using other leave during FMLA

"Under certain conditions, employees or employers may choose to “substitute” (run concurrently) accrued paid leave (such as sick or vacation leave) to cover some or all of the FMLA leave. An employee’s ability to substitute accrued paid leave is determined by the terms and conditions of the employer’s normal leave policy." http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm

Here are my answers to your questions based on my own experience working for a self-funded non-profit organization.

1. Does your company let you use leave you would have accrued in the calendar year (e.g. not the three months of FMLA, but the time after that) for FMLA? (of course with the stipulation that if you don't return following leave you need to repay that amount)

Yes, I was allowed to use my vacation, sick, and personal time to "pay" for my leave and I was able to borrow against future unearned leave from the same year.

2. Are you allowed to use sick time for FMLA? Yes, I was allowed to use sick time until my short term dis kicked in at 30 days postpartum (company policy). Then STD paid 66% of my pay for 30 days. After that I used vacation and personal time to cover the last month of my leave. They cannot force you to use your sick time, vaca, etc, you do have the option and right to take it unpaid should you wish to do so. I also didn't 'have' to take short term dis and had the option to use vacation time instead.

3. What happens to items that are deducted from your check pre-tax while on FMLA--do you pay up front (which means you cough up extra cash in advance AND you lose the pre-tax benefit) or do you just adjust to a larger pre-tax deduction when you return so that the year evens out and all is pre-tax? Because I chose to use benefits (vacation, sick, etc) to cover my leave my pretax deductions were automatically processed just like they are for my weekly paychecks. Had I chosen to take the leave unpaid I would have had to write the company a check for my benefits (health, etc) while I wasn't pulling a paycheck.

I hope this helps you a bit. I had a really hard time with my leave because I didn't hit the 12 month employment mark until 2 weeks after I had Aidan. I was technically out on medical leave/disability until I hit my anniversary and then I was able to claim FMLA for the remainder of the 12 weeks (the first 2 were taken out of the 12).

Unfortunately the only real benefit to FMLA is it protects your job. It doesn't pay for your leave, etc :(

ETA: Check to make sure your state or county doesn't have related regs about medical leave. I know the state of Mass covers people who come in under 12 months and are not eligible for the full 12 weeks. The state MLA gives 8 weeks of leave vs 12.
 

lliang_chi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
3,740
Hi Bella,

Really excited for you.

Nov is correct this is a company specific policy so ask your company for clarification:

1. My company only lets me use PTO I have already accrued for "salary" during FMLA. Paid holidays are not useable. I am not accruing PTO during my FMLA.

2. My company only has PTO, no separate bank for sick days

3. I can take Short-term disability during FMLA, so I get my payroll deductions taken from that. If you're doing unpaid leave, you might be able to negotiate with your HR/CFO how the deductions will be taken from your paycheck or if you pay it all right now. Figure out what will work between you and your DH, and present it to your HR. "HR, re: the payroll deductions for Healthcare, 401(K) etc, I think it'd work out best if I can pay you for the deductions now, and you don't take any additional deductions from my paycheck when I come back." (Or the other way around if you'd like).

Good luck on your trip! Can't wait to see your posts when you get back!

~LC
 

Puppmom

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
3,160
How many employees does your firm have? I *think* if you have under a certain number of employees, you're not subject to FMLA regs.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
Bella_mezzo|1308848897|2953018 said:
1. Does your company let you use leave you would have accrued in the calendar year (e.g. not the three months of FMLA, but the time after that) for FMLA? (of course with the stipulation that if you don't return following leave you need to repay that amount)
Yes.

Bella_mezzo|1308848897|2953018 said:
2. Are you allowed to use sick time for FMLA?
Yes. But we also have employer paid short term disability that provides 2/3 of our income for 6 weeks. But after that period you can use your sick/vacation for a total of 12 weeks off.

Bella_mezzo|1308848897|2953018 said:
3. What happens to items that are deducted from your check pre-tax while on FMLA--do you pay up front (which means you cough up extra cash in advance AND you lose the pre-tax benefit) or do you just adjust to a larger pre-tax deduction when you return so that the year evens out and all is pre-tax?
I actually have no idea.
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,299
puppmom|1308852660|2953072 said:
How many employees does your firm have? I *think* if you have under a certain number of employees, you're not subject to FMLA regs.
Bella, I thought the same thing since it sounds like your company is very small. I think in order to qualify for FMLA a company needs at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius. If the company is too small, I think leave would be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but I may be wrong.

In any case--our company is the same as the PPs. We can use a combination of maternity days, sick days, floating holidays, flex days and vacation days as a source of income during our FMLA time.
 

Bella_mezzo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
5,754
Thanks ladies!

My company is non-profit, but not that small:) There are nearly 100 full-time employes and almost 400 including seasonal and pt-time.

Our policy says that I can use sick vacation or personal time (it's vague on whether you can borrow against the rest of the year) and now they are saying I can't use sick time which I think is crazy, so I am going to push them on that.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,660
You might not want to use up all your sick time. Once you get back to work you may need it for doctor's appointments and real sick time for you or your baby.
 

Bella_mezzo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
5,754
thanks so much again everyone. The meeting was interesting :rolleyes:, hopefully I'll at least get the time accrued!

Since I start accruing straight away when I am back in the office from leave (and they allow us to borrow time from the rest of the year when we are not on leave) I'm not worried about using all my accrued leave now.

I will actually have another week of vacation and a few sick days to use for the 3.5 months left in the year (and we technically can't use vacation during that time b/c it's the "busy time") so I'm going to lose that time which is REALLY annoying!
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
Bella_mezzo|1308859125|2953178 said:
Thanks ladies!

My company is non-profit, but not that small:) There are nearly 100 full-time employes and almost 400 including seasonal and pt-time.

Our policy says that I can use sick vacation or personal time (it's vague on whether you can borrow against the rest of the year) and now they are saying I can't use sick time which I think is crazy, so I am going to push them on that.
Technically for the first six weeks (8 weeks if you have a c/s) you're disabled. You technically need a doctor's note to go back to work after maternity leave. So I'm pretty sure they can't say that you can't use sick time. They CAN say that you can't use sick time after that first 6/8 weeks.
 

Bella_mezzo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
5,754
thanks HH--since I'm adopting there is no short term disability, so it's really just about using the accrued PTO from my company and having my job protected. Our employee handbook specifically says I can use all accrued sick, vacation, and personal time so I am pushing them pretty hard on this...:)
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
DUH! I totally forgot you were adopting!
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
I hope it works out, Bella. What an exciting time for you!

This thread reminded me that I need to figure out how maternity leave works at my new job. I know we have to take off a full semester, but I have no idea how anything else works.
 

DivaDiamond007

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
1,828
NewEnglandLady|1308854956|2953115 said:
puppmom|1308852660|2953072 said:
How many employees does your firm have? I *think* if you have under a certain number of employees, you're not subject to FMLA regs.
Bella, I thought the same thing since it sounds like your company is very small. I think in order to qualify for FMLA a company needs at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius. If the company is too small, I think leave would be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but I may be wrong.

In any case--our company is the same as the PPs. We can use a combination of maternity days, sick days, floating holidays, flex days and vacation days as a source of income during our FMLA time.

I don't belive the ADA covers maternity leave - at least it didn't when I had my daughter in January. While pregnancy can be considered a disability, pregnant women are NOT a protected class and therefore not subject to special treatment under the ADA. I looked into this at length and nearly contacted an attorney about it when I was pregnant with my daughter in an effort to still bring in some money while on leave.

I work directly under one attorney, so basically his only employee, and get ZERO paid time. With my son I filed a bunk unemployment claim (at my boss' suggestion :angryfire: ) and got paid for the first 12 weeks. I then took another 12 weeks with no pay, in which time my boss got a bit squirrely about the terms of me returning to work. I called him out on it and came back part time. When I had my daughter, I told him I'd be taking 8 weeks off with no pay and that was it. I ended up taking 9 weeks off (unpaid) and went back to my usual schedule. Since I'm the only employee he could have let me go and I'd have no recourse. I was so worried about it that when I called the temp agency before having my daughter I told the rep to give us someone a bit flakey so as to make sure my boss didn't think about replacing me with her while I was out :o The woman was a total flake; calling me in the hospital a day after me having an emergency c/s and nearly losing my daughter; because she couldn't figure out how to type a friggin letter :errrr:

I think the maternity leave policies in the U.S. are total crap and I think ALL employers should be required to give employees a minimum of 8 weeks paid off for the birth or adoption of a child. That's not really even enough but it's better than what we have now - which for many (like me) is no paid time at all.
 
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