New Job, Not Eligible for Maternity Leave

Updated on March 23, 2012
K.D. asks from Columbus, OH
12 answers

Hi everyone, hopefully someone can help me. I was working the same job for 4 years, my husband and I were trying to 5 months to get pregnant when I had put in my 2 weeks notice after being offered a new job. I found out I was pregnant the weekend before starting the new job and saw in my "welcoming materials" that you are not eligible for maternity leave/short term disability unless you've been there over a year. Does anyone know if there are any other aid options out there if I have to take unpaid leave? My boss is hard to read and I'm scared enough to tell them I'm pregnant, when the time comes, I'm 7.5 weeks now and am due in November. Has anyone been in this situation? Thank you!

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answers from Washington DC on

I'd talk to HR but I'd hold off til you are a couple more months in. I didn't fess up to my long-term job til I was more than 3 months pregnant. You may be able to negotiate some sort of understanding but not be able to take FMLA-length leave.

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answers from Albuquerque on

It doesn't sound like you'd even be eligible for FMLA (which protects your job but doesn't pay you). For that, you have to work for 12 months for the same employer.

Sorry to hear that you're not covered... that really stinks. Your best bet is probably to find a different job that does cover maternity, or start saving money to cover your salary. You never know - the employer may protect your job and you can start work again when you're ready after your child is born. Either way - I wouldn't tell them until you absolutely have to - like when your belly is obvious.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Tough spot to be in. Not only are you not qualified for your employer's maternity leave/STD policy, you don't qualify for FMLA unpaid leave either. That doesn't mean that the company won't let you take an unpaid leave - most are not that heartless - but they don't have to give you the leave and hold your job (or an equivalent) open for you. I don't believe that Ohio has any kind of public paid leave program. You may just have to save for that time you will be without pay and hope you still have a job when you're ready to go back. I was in this spot when I had my first. My employer was great and did give me 12 weeks of unpaid leave and I actually came back to a better position, but those 12 unpaid weeks sucked (and I was single).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Well, they have to allow you to take a leave, because it is a medical leave ordered by your doctor. They don't have to pay you for that time, however, and they don't have to hold your job open for you. I would wait until 3 months to tell them, and then hope for the best. Not all employers are heartless, but they also have to protect their profitability.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't know what's available in OH, but in CA, depending on how much money your husband makes, you might qualify for food stamps and cash aid for the time you are not working.

Does OH have state disability? That would also be an option in CA.



answers from Detroit on

Although you won't qualify for FMLA, the company may let you use accrued vacation/sick time toward your leave, so you may not need to take the entire thing unpaid.



answers from New York on

could you maybe ask a co-worker about the specifics if your not comfortable asking your boss..u could say uve been trying to get pregnant and say u were just wondering.. when they say u are uneligible for maternity leave its very possible that they are specifically talking about a paid leave might not mean that u cant take an unpaid leave... that way if u find out that they do just mean paid leave u wait a few days and say omg im pregnant lol



answers from Houston on

That is standard with most companies. I am a little surprised that you were surprised with that. I understand you had been with your previous employer for 4 years but there must have been a waiting period for some benefits. Generally, STD/LTD, 401K have a year waiting period.

As for aid, I do not believe there is any. FMLA is unpaid leave but you must have been employed (current position) for 1 year or 1250 hours. which you do not qualify for. Review your materials and see if there is anything regarding maternity. Our policy for those who do not qualify for STD, would get unpaid leave for 6 to 8 weeks. Some companies do not include maternity in the STD as maternity in their mind is a "choice" not an illness.

When I had my kids I did not get paid for my leave. I didn't get the typical 8 weeks after a C-section with my second. I was told I was only getting 6 weeks and I had been there a while and I worked for attorneys!!!!

So, what should you do? Review the materials and see what their maternity policy is. Next, start saving your money!



answers from Seattle on

I have to be frank, unless your state has some kind of program you are not eligible for the federal FMLA.
This means that your employer does not have to even give you unpaid leave for any longer than what is medically necessary and the amount of sick days you have accrued at the time. It sucks, but the do not even have to give you 8 weeks off and offer you your job back... however since they just hired you, you may be able to negotiate a certain amount of unpaid leave with them...hiring is expensive and time consuming and depending on your position they may be willing to let you take off for a few weeks without rehiring for your position.

If your company offers supplemental insurance options like Aflac, I would look into this and see whether you can get a policy that covers maternity leave - however since you are already pregnant, they may regard this as a pre-existing condition... if your husband is working for his company for more than 1 year and is eligible for FMLA, you could also consider having him take some paternity leave so you can at least hang on to your job.

Unfortunately I have friends who were in your position, though usually ineligible for FMLA because they worked for small business and frankly most of them lost their jobs when the baby was born or got their hours cut when they were ready to go back. However if you work for a large company in a good position, chances are you will at least get some unpaid time.
If you can I would suggest saving as much as possible for the next 8 months.
Maternity protection in this country sucks big time, I am very sorry for you. Good luck.



answers from Redding on

I'm not sure about your state, but in California, we have state disability benefits that pay for things like maternity leave based on your income.

I would ask your doctor about it. They are usually fairly familiar with this kinds of things.

It's a shame you won't have been there long enough to qualify for your company's paid benefits, but you may have another option.

Best of luck to you.



answers from Minneapolis on

I started my last job when I was 11 weeks pregnant. I told them in the interview. They worked with me to figure things out, but I basically had 6 weeks of unpaid disability and then came back to my job. Every state and every employer is so different, so it's hard to say what could be in your case. But start saving now, just in case you will not get paid during that time.



answers from Des Moines on

Its true you do not qualify for federal FMLA but your own state probably has a minimum leave for you. It would not be a maternity leave, but rather a medical leave because your doctor will deem that you need a certain number of weeks to recover from giving birth. Look into state laws

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