Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thanks for telling me earlier

I had a pretty crappy day on Tuesday, which isn't really worth going into except for one thing.

Back in August, I talked with our human resources director about my maternity leave, making sure I understood the policy, especially since it had changed right after I found out I was pregnant. As I understood it (and she confirmed), I would get six weeks paid through our disability policy, then the rest of my 12 weeks of leave would be covered first by my accumulated sick time, then by my accrued vacation hours, both of which I've been saving for this very purpose.

However, said HR director left the company at the end of October and now I have to complete all the leave paperwork with our HR director at the parent company in California since we still haven't hired a replacement in-house. I found out yesterday that apparently my understanding of the leave policy was incorrect. I will get paid the six weeks for disability (which I'm thankful that my company does, since I know that many companies don't have such a policy that's 100% paid), but I am not allowed to use any of my sick time to get paid after that since generally the woman is considered fit to return to work after the first six weeks. (The exception to this is if I have a c-section, then I'll "be allowed" to use two weeks of my sick pay for that.) So, the remaining six weeks I'll be taking off will have to be vacation time if it's going to be paid at all. Between sick and vacation time, I was going to have just enough time saved up in order to cover the second six weeks. Without being able to use sick time, I'm looking at potentially two to three weeks of unpaid leave.

Not cool.

They couldn't have told me this back in August when I initially had the conversation with HR? Not that I could've done anything to change it or magically get more vacation time, but it just would've been nice to know this sooner.

Of course, one option is to take only as much time off as I get paid for, returning to work sooner than anticipated. However, it looks like we'll be lucky if we get into a daycare center after 12 weeks of leave, let alone after just nine weeks. (That, incidentally, is one of the things that makes me nervous about delivering really early...not having daycare ready when we need it.)

I've always known that America as a whole isn't that progressive compared to other countries when it comes to maternity (and often paternity) leave, and I'm definitely seeing evidence of that firsthand (though again, I do know I'm fortunate that my company at least has a six-week paid disability policy and is covered by the unpaid FMLA). At least we should be getting our tax refund (assuming it's a refund) around the time we'll be missing out on one to 1 1/2 of my paychecks. I was hoping to put that money toward something other than making up for my salary, but looks like that won't be happening.


At January 03, 2007 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bastards, that's all I have to say.
My job I left when I had Austin offered NO maternity leave (and it was a freakin' pediatrician's office!) and they were calling and harrassing me 2 weeks after I had the baby bugging me when I was going to return. No wonder I didn't go back there.


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