November 20, 2010,
D.D. asks from Providence, RI on August 22, 2008
Postpartum Disability Leave
My employer just informed me that I can get a 12 week paid leave only if my doctor certifies me as disabled for work. I would love to have this time off (though I would not be able to afford an unpaid leave) and spend bonding with my child but I am not sure if the doctor would give me a certificate for so long (usually they give 6-8 weeks postpartum disability is what I have heard). I am not even sure if I can ask her for it. Could any other working mom advise on whether doctors would be willing to give such a note? Is it alright to ask my doctor for it?
J.M. answers from Boston on August 23, 2008
My doctor wrote me out saying I had a stress related illness after the intial delivery leave. Did the trick. I was out for 14 weeks.
C.F. answers from Hartford on August 23, 2008
No! Asking for a doctor to give you extended paid disability leave when don’t have any post-partum complications destroys the credibility of those that do. It is fraudulent and it NOT okay. If you would some extra time with your new bundle of joy (every mom does!), have a discussion with your boss and try to work out a (more truthful) leave of absence. Through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be able negotiate a leave of up 12 weeks. Your company might not pay you for all of it, but you’ll get the bonding time you desire.
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L.S. answers from New London on August 22, 2008
Your doctor probably has a policy on this already. Most doctors give you a note that you can return to work at 6 weeks after your 6 week apointment, if you are fit to work both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, medical leave isn't meant for breastfeeding or bonding with your baby. You can tell your doctor that you don't feel ready to return to work and that you would like a longer leave if that is possible. It might work, but ethically they should not extend your leave if you are capable of returning to work because they could lose their license, since it would be considered fraud. If you have a c-section your doctor will give you a note that you can return to work, usually after 8 weeks if your healing goes well and you don't have any problems. If you are not disabled and are "fit to work" but you still don't want to go back you could take unpaid leave or your vacation days. Your employer is already giving you 6 weeks paid medical leave which is great.. Some places give 0, so you should be happy that your employer is able to give you that much. My friend had to take all vacation days and sick days, which amounted to only 4 weeks leave. It was very sad, but then she chose unpaid leave for another few weeks. I took 5 sick days, and was allowed 6 weeks paid medical leave and then 7 weeks unpaid leave and saved my vacation days. Good luck with your decision.
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A.M. answers from Hartford on August 23, 2008
Do not hesitate to ask. The worst that can happen is that your OB declines. I can't remember what the policy was at the place where I was working when I had #1, but I do know that my OB was willing to give me the maximum allowed by my employer. After #2, I was cleared to exercise by my OB at 6 weeks--fantastic, but my gym does not clear children in the baby-sitting area until after they have their 2 month vaccinations, which she was not going to have until she was 10 weeks old. The issue is of paying membership--when on medical leave, the membership fees are suspended until you have been cleared by a doctor. So, I told my OB the situation and he wrote a note saying that I was not cleared to exercise for 10 weeks, and gave the exact dates of delivery and full clearance.
I can't imagine an OB not doing this for you--so it can't hurt anybody to try for it. You and your baby need this precious time together.
B.P. answers from Boston on August 23, 2008
I do understand your what your going through. I just went back to work 4 weeks ago and it was rough. I was given the standard 6 weeks for my short term disibility. At my 6 week check up I was given an extention for postpartum depression. It was rough. The best thing you can do is talk to your MD. The worst thing they can say is no.. Also try not to stress about it. You don't know how you'll feel at that appt. You might be ready for some adult time. Good luck...
C.R. answers from Boston on August 24, 2008
It is absolutely alright to ask your dr. for a note for a leave. They will most definately give you one for at least the first 6 weeks, which is when you have yur first postpartum checkup to make sure that all has healed. Good luck!
J.C. answers from Boston on August 23, 2008
I actually had a similar situation with my work. Although I was a bit embarassed to ask my doctor, I did! I basically said that I had sick days to use up and that I would lose them if I didn't use them. Could she write me some sort of note about needing to be out... She couldn't write, for legal reasons, that I was disabled in any way, but she could just state that I was going to be out and return to work on whatever date(no reason provided). I ended up writing the note myself and just had her sign it. She didn't seem upset that I asked her, and I figured I had nothing to lose. It was good enough for my human resources department. I did say to the doctor upfront that I didn't want to put her in a position that was uncomfortable. All doctors are different from what I have heard. Good luck! I would love to know if it works!
B.W. answers from Boston on September 03, 2008
the worst thing she could say is no
J.C. answers from Boston on August 22, 2008
If you have a c section then you will get the 12 weeks,but you should definatly ask and see what she/he says,when are you due??I would wait until you are closer to your due date,you are so lucky they will pay you!!Thats great!Congrats!!Keep us posted