27 answers

Unpaid Maternity Leave for a First Time Mom

My best friend is due any day with her first child. (At this point, she is 10 days overdue.) She works full time as a hair dresser. She is currently on maternity leave and will be until early december. The problem is, she is not getting paid at all while she is on maternity leave. Her boyfriend can't work at this time because of back problems. Here she is expecting her baby any day and worried that she won't be able to pay the bills. I have never heard of upaid maternity leave. I'm not sure if that is even legal. She says she has looked into it and can't temporarily collect unemployment. At this point, I'm worried for her, she's worried and she's about to go into labor at any time. If I could help her out, I would but unfortunately, having a husband and two toddlers of my own, our monthly bills and christmas around the corner, I don't have much to spare. If anyone can help find a solution here or knows something that I don't, please help! I'd hate to see my friend suffer when she should be in bliss with her baby.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for all your advice. It has really given me some things to consider and talk with my friend about. We think we have a few options to look into. I am very happy to announce that my friend was induced this afternoon, being ten days overdue at this point. Although the baby's heart rate was dropping with each contraction, small and barely felt ones at that, my friend had an emergency c section and delivered a healthy 7lb. 8oz. baby girl this evening. Thanks again to everyone!

Featured Answers

She can apply for public aid & get emergency food stamps & wic. Being a hairdresser usually is considered self employed, so does she rent a chair? If yes, then she technically wouldn't have an employer to pay her for being on maternity leave, it would have been her job to save money.

Boyfriends back can't be that bad since he got her pregnant. Maybe he can try to find a job that isn't to strenuous so he can contribute monetarily & help his girlfriends stress levels so she can enjoy her new baby & not have to worry about paying bills.

3 moms found this helpful

I am a paramedic and bought a short term disability plan because of pregnancy. My department, nor any that I know of have any type of paid maternity leave. There is no law requiring anyone to pay a person for maternity leave. The laws are designed to safeguard unfair termination of employment due to medical reasons - the Family Medical Leave Act. Unfortunately, she should have saved vacation time etc... Maybe since she is a single person she will qualify for WIC or medicaide or welfare.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

She can apply for public aid & get emergency food stamps & wic. Being a hairdresser usually is considered self employed, so does she rent a chair? If yes, then she technically wouldn't have an employer to pay her for being on maternity leave, it would have been her job to save money.

Boyfriends back can't be that bad since he got her pregnant. Maybe he can try to find a job that isn't to strenuous so he can contribute monetarily & help his girlfriends stress levels so she can enjoy her new baby & not have to worry about paying bills.

3 moms found this helpful

The only pay I received while on my maternity leave was short-term disability for 8 weeks. This is a benefit of my company and I don't think required by law. I supplemented this pay with the Paid Time Off I had earned and saved. The rest of my leave (20 weeks total) was unpaid. We had saved long before I was even pregnant in order to be able to allow me that time off with our child.

This may sound harsh but the boyfriend needs to step up and get a job. Even working at the local gas station would be better than no income at all. If his back is really that problematic he should qualify for disability payments.

The other option will be that your friend will just have to go back to work as soon as possible after the baby's birth. I have friends who had to do this to make ends meet.

2 moms found this helpful

I found a site called http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/glp/11664/Maternit... that basically said: "While no federal law requires [employers] to provide paid maternity leave, most employers must comply with the pregnancy discrimination law and FMLA maternity leave regulations."

It went on to cover 7 guidelines:

1. Not discriminating against already pregnant applicants during the hiring process.
2. If you do not hire a prergnant applicant, be prepared to prove you had a legal justification for not doing so to avoid a charge of discrimination.
3. Provide up to 12 weeks Family Medical Leave (which is not paid) allowing the employee to return to same or SIMILAR position. Exception: Employers with <50 employees to not have to abide by FMLA.
4. A pregnancy is not a disability unless it is accompanied by complications that severely limit major life activities. Only then to accommodations under ADA become an option for the employee.
5. Some states maternity laws are more generous than federal ones. TN and RI and CA were sited.
6. Maternity leave policies...In the 2007 Benefits Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 81% of the HR professionals polled said their organizations offer short-term disability benefits. But only 18% said they have a separate, paid maternity leave policy. It’s also up to each employer to decide how many weeks of paid leave to offer. If you decide to adopt a formal maternity/paternity leave policy, make sure it complies with federal and state regulations. Since some state maternity leave laws grant employees more generous leave and may apply to smaller employers than the FMLA, make sure your attorney reviews your policy before you disseminate it to employees.
7. Refer to the EEOC's a series of questions and answers that clear up most of the ambiguities in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

2 moms found this helpful

H.- with my first, I worked in NJ and was able to collect short term disability for 4 weeks prior and 6 weeks after my son was born. With my 2nd, I was working in Pa, and looked into the disability, but PA is different and was not able to collect. I have started working from home- not sure if this is something your friend would be able to do, or be interested in doing, but it is something that I do with a 2 yr old and my 6 month old- so that I can bring in an income. (My income paid the mortgage, so we obviously couldn't live on just 1 for long) Feel free to contact me, or have your friend contact me if you want any help or info on working from home.

1 mom found this helpful

I've not heard of paid maternity leave. She may qualify for state assistance to mother's and children. She would most likely qualify for food stamps and WIC. (women, infants,a snd children) She would apply at her states Department of Human Services.

Her boyfriend can't work at all because of back problems. I find that suspect. Unless he's confined to bed with little ability to move around he can work at something. I recognize it's difficult to find work but has he tried?

My brother has back problems, He also had Hep C and he worked in a sheltered environment set up for him by the Unemployment Office. He was able to sit while he filled boxes to be delivered. Hep C treatment causes serious emotional issues and he was able to obtain counseling thru the VA who helped him change his attitude and begin on a road to success.

Some states have programs in which they will train him to do work that he is able to perform. They pay for the training and provide a subsistence level of income which can be combined with food stamps and WIC. Your friend should call the county office of the state office that administers aide.

I suggest that the baby's father look for work of any kind to help support his child.

1 mom found this helpful

I am a paramedic and bought a short term disability plan because of pregnancy. My department, nor any that I know of have any type of paid maternity leave. There is no law requiring anyone to pay a person for maternity leave. The laws are designed to safeguard unfair termination of employment due to medical reasons - the Family Medical Leave Act. Unfortunately, she should have saved vacation time etc... Maybe since she is a single person she will qualify for WIC or medicaide or welfare.

1 mom found this helpful

Company's are not obligated to pay for maternity leave...if they do, that is great. Does she have leave time that she could use? Does her company have short-term disability? If they have STD then it would apply for maternity leave as well (and she would be eligible as soon as she was out of work not waiting until delivery).

Outside of that, she could apply for temporary assistance.

1 mom found this helpful

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