Not sure what your employer’s parental leave benefits are and don’t see anything about it in your benefits paperwork? You may have benefits available to you that cover parental leave under a different name altogether, but if you don’t know about them you could miss out.
Pregnancy, birth, parenting are not disabilities, but they are sometimes covered by short-term disability insurance, which replaces a part or all of your income for childbirth or the care of your baby. Your company may offer this automatically, or you may have to sign up and pay for it.
Heather Price, Baby+Company mom and one of our Educators in Nashville, recalls when she and her husband were thinking of getting pregnant with their first child. A school teacher at the time, Heather recalls, “I wasn’t sure what the maternity leave policy was, so I asked one of my work friends who told me I was eligible for paid leave, but I had to sign up for short-term disability insurance. You’re not allowed to sign up once you know you’re pregnant, so I’m so grateful that I learned about this in time to get it in place before we conceived. It saved us thousands and gave me the opportunity to stay home to take care of Jude.”
Some people confuse paid parental leave with The Family Medical Leave Act. This is a government regulation that requires companies to offer 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt and don’t have to provide any unpaid or paid leave, although some companies do. Talk to your HR representative, or if you don’t want to share your pregnancy intentions at work, look at your benefits paperwork and employee manual.
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