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livelaughlove21's avatar

How long after starting a new job is it "too soon" to go on maternity leave?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15623points) January 5th, 2014 from iPhone

I started a new job as a legal secretary last week, for those that don’t know. This is a job I want to stay at for awhile. From what I know so far, it seems like a great company and this is more than a job, it’s the beginning of my career. So, I want to make a good impression.

My husband and I would like to start a family in about a year. If all goes well and I get pregnant at the beginning of next year, I’ll have been at this job for nearly two years by the time I’d have to go on maternity leave (assuming I don’t have a complicated pregnancy). I plan on returning to work full time after that. Is that too soon or does it sound about right?

BQ: I haven’t asked my new employer about maternity leave yet, because I’m worried they’ll think I’m already pregnant or planning on being pregnant very soon. I don’t want to raise any red flags. There was nothing about it in the employee manual. Since they’ve been a very generous company to me so far (regarding salary and insurance – they also do yearly Christmas bonuses), I’d assume it’s a pretty standard leave time. My husband says to not even ask until we’re about to start trying to get pregnant. What do you guys think?

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18 Answers

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I think it’s way to early to take maternity leave if you are not even PG yet. I also think that if you don’t even plan to try yet, you are just looking for something to worry about.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers What? Why would I take maternity leave now? Did you even read the details?

zenvelo's avatar

Even if you were pregnant when you were interviewing, pregnancy is a “protected” condition, so don’t worry about losing your job. If and when you get pregnant, then you can ask.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@zenvelo That answers my second question, but what of the first?

KNOWITALL's avatar

Two years is plenty. The setails should be part of your insurance and/ or company manual. Excited for you!

livelaughlove21's avatar

@KNOWITALL All I could find in either manual was short term disability.

YARNLADY's avatar

At first I thought you meant you are already pg. If you are talking about the future, do what I did – stay on the job until they send you home. My boss sent me home with full pay at around my 7 month. I had been on the job for about 2 years.

marinelife's avatar

Your timing sounds impeccable.

geeky_mama's avatar

If you are in the US and if your employer is relatively large (50+ employees) – as long as you have worked there for at least 12 months prior to taking maternity leave you should fall under the typical Family Medical Leave Act—which means 12 weeks of maternity leave (can be paid or unpaid—typically 6 weeks is partially paid income, like 60 ~ 80% of your usual salary—covered by short term disability insurance if you have medical insurance benefits through your employer).

I’ve had two babies at two separate companies—in both cases the policy was identical and followed FMLA to the letter. I got short-term disability pay (some percentage of my salary) for 6 weeks, and then 6 weeks unpaid.

FMLA protection means they can’t fire you during your 12 week leave..but they also don’t have to pay you. You aren’t even guaranteed exactly the same job (just a similar one) on return to work.

By the way, for most American expectant working don’t go out on maternity leave until you have the baby. You literally work up to the moment you have the baby—because otherwise you begin the clock on those 12 weeks.

So, let’s say at 38 weeks pregnant you just don’t want to drag your big prego belly into work. You’re tired, your ankles are swollen..nothing fits properly & you just want to rest..So, let’s say you decide to start your FMLA leave.

The clock starts ticking..and if you go post-term (like many first time moms do..) and don’t have the baby until say, 42 weeks.. Then you just lost over a month of time with your newborn. So, you’ll have to start leaving your 8 week old baby at daycare instead of having that extra month at home together.

(BTW, don’t even get me started about how in the US we only get 12 weeks. My British colleagues get a year, and the Scandinavian countries have even better leave policies..including paid parental leave for the Dad to stay home and care for a child.)

Anyways, I think 2 years is ample time to have worked for them before going out on leave.

Judi's avatar

In California dads get paid paternity leave too. It’s part of the state disability program.

janbb's avatar

Two years would be fine to go on maternity leave and starting to try in a year sounds about right. I wouldn’t ask any questions about it until you are pregnant or seriously trying. Employers do know that when they hire young women, maternity leave is a good possibility but you don’t need to ask about it yet.

JLeslie's avatar

Depends on the company. I have had two friends who were laid off when they were very pregnant. Both feel they were picked because they were pregnant. both had been with the companies for a few years already.

When I worked for Bloomingdale’s one of our store managers was hired when she was very pregnant with her second child. They didn’t let her pregnancy factor in at all.

If it were me I would get pregnant when you want to. The younger the better once you are sure you want children and feel ready in your relationship and financially. I would never let a job dictate it.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Judi My husband’s company gives new dads paternity leave as well (I’m not in Cali). Not a lot of time, only three weeks at 60% pay I think, but enough time to help mommy out while she adjusts. Plus, I think it’s good to have someone there to watch mom for PPD. If it’s possible I’d only want Josh to take a week off, unless we can comfortably afford for him to take the whole time off.

Judi's avatar

@livelaughlove21 , look into it closely when the time comes. That 60% could be from an insurance policy and not be taxed. If that’s the case then it might not be that much less than what he’s bringing home now.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Judi I’ll do that, thanks!

VS's avatar

I work for the highest court in my state and we had a new hire who was pregnant, worked for three WEEKS and went out on maternity leave. She had no leave accrued, so it was leave without pay, but she came back to her job after six weeks, and is still employed four years later. As #zenvelo stated, pregnancy is a protected condition and you cannot be terminated for becoming pregnant.
(I’ve been gone too long…I forgot how to reference users’ names?)

Smitha's avatar

Two years would be fine. Do a research on your company’s leave policies and your local state laws. The normal rule is one should be with the company at least past their 90 day probationary period before trying to conceive so that before the baby is due they should be eligible for FMLA.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@VS It’s the @ symbol.

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