Pregnancy Disability and Family Medical Leave

Updated on June 22, 2009
T.J. asks from Schenectady, NY
8 answers

I have been given some inconsistent information by my large employer's HR department (this happened with my last pregnancy as well) and I was looking for feedback from other moms who took leave from their workplace. My HR rep gave me info on temp disability (6 weeks for vag., 8 weeks for c. sect. delivery) which I luckily have enough sick time to receive full pay during. The sticking point is when I switch from temp disability to FMLA for care of an infant and what time I can use (sick vs. vacation/other). During my last pregnancy I was not medically cleared to return to work for about 4 months, despite a picture perfect delivery and recovery, whereas this time HR is telling me that even if I am not medically cleared after the 6-8 weeks disability I can no longer use sick time (unless I have an entirely new disability which I pray I do NOT). My position is safe so I do not feel pressure to take the FMLA right away since taking it would preclude me from using sick time. Any thoughts or advice?

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answers from New York on

My understanding is that beyond the initial disability (postnatal care 6-8 wks) the doctor would need to diagnose another "disability" for you to take the FMLA from your sick time. The only thing that FMLA guarantees is that you have a job to return to with no loss in seniority. Aside from that, it's up to each employer!



answers from New York on

It really does depend on your employer for FMLA when it comes to maturnity leave. At my job, in my old union I was allowed 6 mos combined FMLA and maturnity leave, while others were allowed 1 yr, with job security. I also know that for my union I was not allowed to take any more FMLA time for maturnity leave for 2 yrs once I returned to work. So it really does depend on your employers policies.



answers from New York on

I own a small business and have recently had to look all this up for an employee - so...

FMLA provides you the ability to take up to 12 week leave if the employer has over 50 employees. (If under 50 - the company can decide whether the FMLA applies) This ensures that you have a job to return to. But - the rest is left up to the employer. It is the employer's discretion if you can use any sick/vacation time at all. So - basically from your employer - it looks like you have the 6-8 weeks (depending on method of delivery) from your employer then FMLA if you need additional time.

Congrats on the new addition and for your other little one graduating from kindergarten!



answers from New York on

I don't know where you live, but in NJ you can get 4 weeks of temp disability prior to your due date with your dr's approval. After birth, you can have 6 weeks for reg delivery and 8 weeks for a c-section. None of this 10-12 week period of time is unpaid. After the temp disability, you are eligible for FMLA for up to 12 weeks. Anyone who has a baby qualifies for FMLA if they work for an employer with more than 50 employees. You DO NOT have to be disabled to use FMLA when you have a new baby. This also applies to those who adopt children. Additionally, in NJ, beginning 7/1/09, 6 out of the 12 weeks of FMLA will be paid leave. The paid FMLA in NJ will work like unemployment. You can collect 75% of your weekly wages up to a certain amount. Be aware that the FMLA only guarantees a job to return to, not necessarily the job you had before you went on leave. You will have to be paid the same salary however.

Any time you wish to be off beyond the FMLA is at the discretion of your employer. My employer offers an additional 4 weeks of FMLA beyond the 12. Hope this helps.



answers from New York on

The first week of your disability (when you first leave work and before the baby is born) is unpaid. During this time, you can use your vacation and sick days. You are able to take 4 weeks before the birth of your baby providing that your doctor fills out and returns the paperwork. Then, when the baby is born, you get up to 8 weeks for a vaginal delivery and 12 for a c-section. This is the way it worked for me. Now the confusing party is the FMLA info. My HR person was really convoluted about when that kicks didn't effect me because I got laid off the day before my disability started. But this info should apply to you as well. I got 60 percent of my income, I am assuming your company makes up the rest?



answers from New York on

If you work for a large company, send an e-mail to the head or a higher up of HR and let him/her know that you are confused about policy and law for your leave. Ask for a meeting to clear all of your questions up. Let them know that you've had conversations and are getting conflicting info - this will raise a red flag and they will get you help ASAP.

FMLA allows you to take off 12 weeks unpaid for a medical/family reason. Short term disability is insurance that pays you (not a lot) for 6-8 weeks during your disability (giving birth). Your company may have a policy stating that before anything, you must take all of your sick time and then kick in FMLA. Or it might not. If you are being paid for sick time off you will not be given short term disability at the same time since you are being paid your full salary. You might also have a wiating period for STD.

Good luck!



answers from New York on

It sounds like thats their personal policy.

But I believe that if you have an injury post pregnancy that would be covered and Any trauma received during or afterwards would and should also be covered.

That the 6 weeks is one diagnosis, pregnancy

the post pregnancy diagnosis is something separate.




answers from New York on

Hi T.,

The FMLA says you can take up to 12 weeks off. This is without pay.

Check with your company's personnel guidelines which should outline the policy on how and when you can use sick and vacation pay.

As far as disability, this is usually part of your health insurance. I beleive the standard is 6 weeks for vag and 8 weeks for c-section. I know pay can vary from 60% to 100%. Please check your policy.

Congratulations and good luck.

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