Parental Leave

3:07 PM

I still have about 3 months before my maternity leave as I plan to work up to 2 weeks before my due date. At first I was just going to work up until my water broke (crazy, i know) but ive decided to forgo that and take time off for some me time to just ease my body and mentally, as well as emotionally, prepare for labor and my new duties as a mom.

When I visited Dawn (mother of adorable Penny) we only touched on the subject of maternity leave but she did mention this thing called paid family leave, aside from the more known State Disability insurance for pregnancy (leave it to America to call pregnancy a disability). So it was always in the back of my mind. State Disability provides benefits 4 weeks before your due date and 6 weeks after (and more if you had a c-section) and after this 6 weeks, if you happen to want to and can afford to be out longer to spend more time with your baby, is where the Paid Family Leave insurance program kicks in. The weird thing is, I totally wrote off being eligible for this because when I asked our HR person - she said i didnt qualify because our company employs less than 50 employees. Well, this is not the case. I mean, we don't employ more than 50 employees but I am, in fact eligible, at least from my own research on the program tells me so.

SDI on the EDD site also explains that once your SDI benefits stops, you will be sent the forms to pursue the Paid Family Leave program and can continue to receive benefits. This is because the Paid Family Leave program is part of the SDI program. You can have up to 6 weeks of PFL. And since I will be taking 12 weeks of maternity leave - this is just what I needed to know and now feel less anxious and worried about, because I didnt know if we could afford me being out so long (and of course i wish i could be out longer).

Here is a breakdown of SDI & PFL, for other soon to be mother's living in CA, for more information on your state, please contact your state's websites (sadly, i think this program is only available to 4 states currently):

Workers who participate in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) Program are entitled to a maximum of six weeks of partial pay each year while taking time off from work to:

  • Bond with a newborn baby, adopted or foster child
    (both parents)

  • Care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or registered domestic partner

Most workers will receive approximately 55% of their pre-taxed weekly wage, up to a maximum of $917 while on leave.

The Paid Family Leave Program is administered by the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) a state agency, not the employer.

You may apply for Paid Family Leave insurance benfits as soon as you have recovered from your pregnancy-related disability and you are no longer in receipt of State Disability Insurance benefits. You will automatically be sent a claim for Paid Family Leave Benefits - New Mother, DE 2501FP, when your pregnancy-related disability claim ends.

*Employees of small business are covered by PFL if employees pay into State Disability Insurance, regardless of the number of employees in the business.

And again, leave to America to be behind in taking care of it's citizens, of course in a country that treats it as a disability and does not provide general health care, what do you expect?

How do other countries treat parents, you ask? well, let me tell ya (information derived from wikipedia)

Sweden is one country which provides generous parental leave: all working parents are entitled to 16 months paid leave per child, the cost being shared between employer and State. To encourage greater paternal involvement in child-rearing, a minimum of 2 months out of the 16 is required to be used by the "minority" parent, in practice usually the father, and some Swedish argue for legislation to oblige families to divide the 16 months equally between both parents. Norway also has similarly generous leave.

In Estonia mothers are entitled to 18 months of paid leave, starting up to 70 days before due date. Fathers are entitled to paid leave starting from the third month after birth (paid leave is however available to only one parent at a time). The amount paid depends on wages earned during previous calendar year - most will receive 100% or full wage but there is an upper limit of three times national average.

The maternal-leave only system in Bulgaria is even more generous, providing mothers with 45 days 100% paid sick leave prior the due date, 2 years paid leave, and 1 additional year of unpaid leave. The employer is obliged to restore the mother to the same position upon return to work. In addition, pregnant women and single mothers cannot be fired.

The most generous maternal/paternal leave system is in Lithuania, where mothers are provided 8 weeks of 100% paid leave before the due date, 100% pay in the first year, 85% in the second year and additional (third) year of unpaid leave. Either mother or father can take the leave, or they can swap in shifts. Additionally father is provided one month of paternal leave immediately after child's birth.

In 2000, parental leave was greatly expanded in Canada from 10 weeks to 35 weeks divided as desired between two parents. This is in addition to 15 weeks maternity leave, giving a total possible period of 50 weeks paid leave for a mother. There is still no paid leave for new fathers, however. In Canada maternity and parental leave is paid for by the Employment Insurance system.

In the UK, all female employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity (or adoption) leave, 39 weeks of which is paid, with the first six weeks paid at 90% of full pay and the remainder at a fixed rate. A spouse or partner of the woman (including same-sex relationships) may request a two week paid (at a fixed rate) paternity leave. Both the mother and her partner can additionally request non-paid parental leave, which can be for up to 4 weeks annually, with a current limit of 13 weeks.

Australia will be introducing an 18 week paid maternity leave scheme starting in 2011, once approved by parliament. It is to be publicly funded, and to provide the federal minimum wage (currently AUS $543.78 a week) rather than a percentage of the primary caregiver's salary. It will not be available to families wherein the primary caregiver has an annual salary above $150,000.

angry yet? Why is America so far behind? oh wait, we are a little bassackwards at times aren't we? oh and we also don't want to be taxed - because how else will the state provide these nice benefits to us? our health care system is just atrocious because it comes down to big business, not the health of the patients or clients. Money is what makes America go round and round - even though our economy is stinkin quite horribly with lack of it - and caring for people, such as preventative care and a holistic approach without overly being medicated, isn't where the money is at. its continuously having us be sick (or think we are going to be sick and have us believing in multiple vaccines of everything and anything or pill to cure any ailment, even minor ones) that funds big business. this is certainly one dirty diaper that definitely needs to be changed.

ok, im off of the soap box now.

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  1. Hey!!! Where are those baby bump updates???

  2. good call on taking you-time before your due date!!

  3. Hi -- found you through the top baby blog link.

    This is a great post and I find it amazing that nothing has changed in the past 20 years as far as maternity leave goes.



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