Did you know you can be on maternity leave for five months in the state of California?! Well, neither did I!
In fact, when I first discovered I was pregnant I heard all sorts of different stories of how someone was off work for only a month, or how I could be off for six months. I called my HR representative and I was laughed off the phone about taking leave before the baby was born (to be fair, the leave expert at my HR had called off sick that day).
The best place for information came from my obgyn’s office. They had this great lady there who answered all my questions and made the process so much clearer!
I am going to try to do this for you today, but I’m going to preface this by saying this information is specific to California, my work’s policies and to my baby’s birth. You may use it as a reference, but it may be different for you. This is just my experience.
I was able to enjoy my maternity and bonding with my baby three ways:
- Pregnancy Disability: You know those last few months get very difficult. I have been known to drop something with my third trimester belly and count my losses until I could get my husband or someone else to pick it up for me. My job requires me to do a number of physical activities. On top of that my coworkers need to have faith that I can jump into action at any moment. By the last month of pregnancy, no way could I be running around like that! So, without any pregnancy-related health issues I was able to take a disability leave at week 36. Thank the Lord!!
What I needed: The exact date four weeks before the due date which will be the first day of leave, a letter of disability from the Obstetrician and a submitted application on the State of California’s Employment Development Department.
- Paid Family Leave: After the baby was born and six of weeks more of disability to heal from the birth itself, I took my family leave or “baby bonding” that is due to all new parents including adoptive parents. The State of California continues to pay during these weeks at the same rate of disability.
What I needed: A letter clearing me to work from my obstetrician (or if there were complications I’d be put on further disability), my baby’s birth certificate and an application on the State of California’s Employment Development Department.
- Unpaid Family Leave: The last six weeks of FMLA would be unpaid, but thankfully I planned for these last weeks. I was off work enjoying my new baby and family for a total of five whole months! I had the option of taking these last weeks later as long as it was before baby’s first birthday.
What I needed: An application for extension at my work.
There you have it! Did you get to enjoy an extended work leave to heal from birth and bond with baby? Let me know!