Working Mom to Be. How Much Time Can I Get off to Spend with My Baby?

Updated on March 12, 2009
J.P. asks from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
8 answers

Hi again. So I am really stressing out because I can't seem to figure out how much time I will get off with the baby. I keep hearing about FMLA, and CFRA, and Family Paide Leave. I called my HR and they said in the state of california, I will get 6 weeks and that is it. Is this true? Any help or advice would be so much appreciated. I have been crying all morning about this! Thanks for your help.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Seriously, HR people seem to be NO help with all this...

If you have a vaginal delivery you'll be out for six weeks of paid state disablity. It's eight weeks if you have a c-section.

After that, you can get another 6 weeks of paid family leave. You have to be paying into SDI, so if you're a teacher or something like that, I think you're out of luck. You also have to have been at your job a year. You can look at, I think is the address for both of these plans.

After that, you're on your own payment wise (unless your company pays you), but you may be able to get additional time. It depends on the size of your company. If you are in a company with less than 50 people, I think you get four months...this is what I got. After 50 people, you get additional protection and I think you can take 5-6 months off.

Somewhere in your office they should have posted some big sign that shows the hourly minimum wage, etc. The family leave stuff is all shown on there and it's pretty easy to follow on there.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello! I was very stressed out as well. Try to relax honey.
I got 8 weeks for a c-section, but my doc had me off for 10. You are allowed 4 weeks before due date- ask your doc.
You get 6/8 weeks paid sate disability that is tax free. In the state of California you are eligible for 6 more weeks off to bond with baby. The baby bonding time is the FMLA. Your hubby gets 6 weeks FMLA/baby bonding time too, but you both can't use it at the same time. The nice thing about the FMLA is that you have 1yr to use it, and you can break it down into 2-3 times.
The bad thing about it is that I work part time and while pregnant I took 1.5 months off because of hyperemesis so I did not have enough hours worked to qualify for it! :(
Check with your HR.
I had to literally call them 3-4 times befor eunderstanding it all. Finally I called crying and they had me speak with the person in charge and she walked me through it.
My hubby took 3 weeks off right away, then 1 week off 3 months later(for our vacation) and then he is taking 1 more off right before my son's birthday.
The extra time-FMLA is something that you have to check with your HR and if you are union check with a representative as well.
Good luck with everything!
YOu will get paperwork in the mail after delivery that kinda explains it all.



answers from Seattle on

Sorry for the late response, all of the other ladies have given you great resources to look into. But I thought I'd share my personal experience so you know what to look for. If you have been with your company for longer then a year then you should not have any issues. I moved to California and started a new job 6 months before my baby was born so I had to go through a lot in order to have more than 6 weeks off with him. Do your research ahead of time and make sure that you call the state of California to ensure that you qualify..
State Disability Insurance - 6 weeks (8 for a C-section)
You can take an additional 4 weeks before the baby is born with a note from a doctor
Paid Family Leave - 6 additional weeks (to bond with your child)
so if you have been working for more than a year with your company, you should qualify for FMLA then you should get the 12 weeks PAID and may be able to get the additional 4 weeks before your birth. It turned out that I got 6 weeks off UNPAID from my employer but then I qualified for the 6 weeks PAID bonding time through the Paid Family Leave that California offers. Hope I didn't confuse you! hope this helps!!! Good luck with your new adventure!



answers from Los Angeles on

hi J.
It is frustrating isn't it that no one can give you a straight answer at work! It was the same for me last year!! After a lot of research and phone calls on my part I finally got the info. Here is what it breaks down to:
CA SDI will pay 55% of your current salary 4 weeks leading to birth (longer if dr takes you out of work earlier) and 6 weeks post for vaginal delivery, 8 weeks post for c-section

CA PFL will begin immediately after SDI ends, this will provide you an ADDITIONAL 6 weeks paid for "bonding" time with your baby. You are not required to take any or all of the PFL at one time. You can spread it out over 12 months but for me I took it all right after disability because I wanted as much time with my son as possible.

FMLA & CFLA both protect your medical insurance for 12 weeks. They run simotanisouly. They will make sure you don't lose your pay rate but they don't guarante your place in the company. So you could go out a sr level position and come back answering phones, the company isn't required to give you back your same exact job. They do not protect you from layoffs however.
If you do get laidoff do not collect or file for CA UI until after your PFL is over because the payrate for UI is a lot less than PFL & SDI
feel free to contact me with any questions :)



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J., and Congratulations!! That is wonderful news. Your going to love being a mother and a family.
Having gone through this three times. I can tell you the six weeks leave is true unless your doctor says your not ready to go back and he/she will have to give a reason for it.
You could of course take extra time off but probably without pay.
I also live in Rancho and have a Doctor at the Bristol Medical Group or center. Not sure the exact name but they are located on the corner of Antonio Pkwy. and Banderas (I still laugh at that) Accross the way from Serra Church/School.
If you need anything else, let me know.
[email protected]



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,

I went through the same thing when I was expecting my daughter. Gratefully I found out what I needed to know and have been able to help others like you. Anyway there are two seperate things to consider one being job security and the other compensation. FMLA is a federal program that allows 12 weeks leave while you are disability. This means you will keep your job secure for that period of time. This starts and ends from the moment you start and end disability with the state. So your doctor can write you a note to stop working up to 4 weeks before your due date. Disability will be the compensation during the FMLA period. After that ends California has a seperate family leave which is the CFRA. This will immediately begin after FMLA ends. This is an additional 12 weeks of bonding time. During this time, after disability ends, you can use the Paid Family Leave act for an additional 6 weeks of compensation. I took maternity leave from July to November and my job was secure this entire time. I did not go back to work till my daughter was four months old. I could have taken an additonal 4 weeks but I could not afford it. It is very confusing and I hope this helped. If you need clarification, you may email me. I do know you DEFINITELY have way more than 6 weeks.



answers from Los Angeles on

Ca state diasability is paid (not your full wage) 4 weeks before birth and 6 weeks after. You cannot add the 4 weeks before onto the 6 weeks after if they are not used before. At my work, fmla is for employees who work a certain # of hours in the last year. check your employee handbook, ask other moms at your work and ask you HR for all FMLA paperwork. FMLA is 12 weeks unpaid leave and includes the 6 weeks of disability. so the first 6 would be paid through disability and the next 6 weeks unpaid. You can use sick and vacation time to cover some of those last 6 weeks. Hope that helps a little.
congratulations and happy pushing!

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