Maternity Leave Question -- What's the Standard?

Updated on April 20, 2009
M.R. asks from Gardena, CA
7 answers

Dear Fellow Moms,

I have been employed at my job for 2.5 years. I've done great work and made few to no demands on my employer. I just found out that I am pregnant. I have made the decision to work up until I have the baby, but then not return to my job (because it requires a high amount of travel). I am in discussion with my supervisor about a plan to find my replacement. The company personnel policies allow for six weeks of paid maternity leave. How customary is it for employers to allow their expecting women employees to stay on staff and use the maternity leave benefits before officially leaving? I want to ask them my supervisor if I can use those benefits before I am officially taken off payroll, but I'd like to have a sense of what are the practices in the for-profit and non-profit world before I do so. Thank you in advance for all opinions and any examples of what you've seen other companies do!


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answers from Los Angeles on

If you are trying to get the most out of this situation, Money Wise, you are better off NOT telling anyone that you are planning on staying home after baby arrives.
You'll go on your paid maternity leave, then you can get extra time off with the Family/Medical leave act, when that runs out - if you still at that point don't feel like you are gonna return to work, tell them at that point.
If you are already making statements that you are NOT returning after the baby is born, you just quit your job basically, and all benefits stop when you do.
The employer does not "owe" you anything.
Profit or Non-profit - same laws in employment applies.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Fortunately, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 made it illegal for employers to fire or demote you because you decided to become a mother. And the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires your company -- if it employs 50 or more workers -- to grant you up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of your new baby. It also guarantees that your job or an equivalent position will be waiting for you when you return to your work.
Basically as far as state is concerned,your maternity leave breaks down into 3 sections :before you have the baby,recovery,and baby bonding in CA state disability act allows you to recieve approximately 60% of your regular wages starting at 36 weeks gestation or 4 weeks before your due date and up to 12 weeks after your baby is born.your doctor's office will provide you with the disability forms and you should also get info from your employer regarding their policy.I worked with non profit hospital when i had my baby and was able to have 4 months of maternity leave paid by state.good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on


I worked for a non-profit before I had my son. Basically, I didn't know IF I was really going to come back to work. And I was honest about my feelings. My HR person was great and I had been offered 3 months to decide before my job was gone.

Not sure what the 'law' requires but I think you should talk to your supervisor about company policy. Or how it will work since you are looking for and helping with your replacement. But, I would think that if you've discussed leave then its probably an option. Hard to say without knowing what your boss is thinking.

Good luck and congrats!!!



answers from Los Angeles on

I am a labor and employment attorney, and I think S.H. stated it pretty well below so I will be brief.

It was not wise to tell your employer that you're not planning on coming back. In everyone's eyes, whether it's your employer's or the government's, you are quitting, not going on maternity leave. You will not be eligible for any maternity leave benefits from your employer (e.g. paid maternity leave, health insurance, etc.) after you leave, unless they want to be extra nice out of the goodness of their hearts. In this economy...I don't know about that...In fact, technically, even if you didn't tell them you weren't coming back, and you quit later after receiving maternity leave benefits, and they can somehow prove that you never planned on coming back in the first place, they can ask you to pay them back.

I believe you will still be eligible for disability benefits from the government, however.



answers from Honolulu on

You are eligible for FLMA, which is the Family Leave Medical Act... which I'm sure you know about, since you have been with your job for over 1 year.

Now typically, a woman works up until 2-weeks prior to her 'due date' and then the Doctor will sign you off, to take maternity. This is standard, unless you have a high risk pregnancy or what not.

Now, 6-weeks Maternity Pay is typical. I had that too. But for me... I DID intend to come back to my job... so, therefore, I DID get the 6-weeks paid Maternity Leave.... and then after that I took additional weeks off, with approval from my Boss (but those extra days were non-paid).
Now, keep in mind that my 6-weeks PAID Maternity Leave started clocking away from the POINT I left work, for Maternity Leave. But after I had my baby, I had decided that I would not return to my job and would be a SAHM. So at that point, I informed my Boss. But it was after that 6-week period.
But, under FLMA, you are supposed to have the 'safety' of your job for 3 months, without being fired/let go. BUT this does NOT mean you are "paid" for this is just time-off, with job security.
You can research the FLMA online.

The conundrum here, is that you ALREADY told your Boss you would not be returning, after you have the baby. So, after you have your baby, you will NO LONGER be an "employee" of your technically, you are not an employee who can receive Maternity "pay" or Maternity "leave." Since, you are NOT taking a Maternity "leave"... you are just leaving. Period. To me, you CANNOT be "on payroll" if you are no longer an employee, thus, negating the 6-weeks Maternity Leave Pay. You have already given 'notice' that you are leaving the company, when you have the baby.

Just ask your HR dept, if you can take your Maternity Leave benefits, in terms of payment, instead. Like how some employees can take their vacation time benefits still, even if they did not go on vacation, and it's accrued. SOME companies will do that. But it is not mandatory. Not all employees are pregnant or can get pregnant. It's not a benefit for "all."

BUT to me, the problem is that, you are not "owed" the 6-weeks Maternity Leave payment.... because you will NO LONGER be on their payroll. Your employment terminates as soon as you have the baby, or until your Doctor orders you to stop working.

It does not matter if it is a non-profit or for-profit company... but sometimes, a Boss might be more liberal than others on deciding if you are compensated for something.

NOW, I would ALSO check about Medical Insurance coverage, AFTER you leave your job. You will need coverage, since you are having a baby....

All the best,



answers from Los Angeles on

They must allow you maternity leave. It is the law.

The question is whether you feel you deserve to take it.

Take it, M.. You worked for that leave. You earned it. It is fully within your right

Also, I advise against telling them you won;t come back after the baby. How can you know for certain you won;t? That decision is months away, and you just can't know what is going to happen between now and then. I don't say this to worry you, but why tell them what your IDEAL plan is?
Help them look for someone to cover you while on maternity leave (that is what is customary) and then if you don;t return, that person just lucked into a new job!



answers from Los Angeles on

now to me i would think you would have to go on maturnaty leave before you sign your papers for leaving the company. i would ask your supervisor on what their policy is for expecting moms who are not returning to the company. if im remembering right i think they have to pay you for maturnaty leave but i could be wrong. sorry im not more help. good luck!

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