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    How to extend maternity leave?
    green1808 posted:
    So, my job only gives us 6 weeks of maternity leave for a natural birth and 8 weeks for a c-section...I was really hoping to have more time than 6 lousy weeks off with DS when he arrives, so I'm going ot use most of my vacation to extend that by a few weeks, but not all of it because I dont want to be left with nothing once I have no choice but to return to work.

    So, my question is....has anyone had a doctor awesome enough to say "here's a note indicating you need to stay off work a few more weeks beyond your 6 weeks" (so that way you dont have to use up all your vacation time and you can continue using Short term disability instead)???? What reasons would the doctor give on that note (as untrue as they are)?

    I know, I'm a bad employee for even thinking of pulling this, but hey, it's not every year that we get to take maternity leave!
    wantingbaby123 responded:
    That is a good question. Im curious to see what people say. I don't think that they have to give a detailed reason of why you need more time off. Maybe just something along the lines of you need more time to recover.
    jesabelle responded:
    Check with your HR department and see if they offer FMLA (Family Medical Leave of Absence). Its unpaid time but it also requires that your job still have a position for you with your current salary and benefits upon your return. Normally its 12 weeks. This is what I am doing, even though I dont plan on coming back. I have about 9 weeks of paid time and then I will also get my short-term disability through Aflac which will pay me a percentage (like 75% I think) of my salary for the 12 weeks even though I am still getting paid from work.
    green1808 responded:
    My company does offer FMLA, but the catch is you have to start using up all your vacation time if you want to stay past the first 6 weeks.

    So I could take up to 12 weeks off no problem, but only 6 of them would be paid at 66%, then whatever I take beyond that has to be vacation time before they'll let me go unpaid, for a total of 12 weeks off. I dont want to do that because I do not want to be left with no vacation time in case DS or I get sick before January 1 when my vacation time resets.
    First922 responded:
    A friend of mine's doctor gave her a note for 2-3 extra weeks because she had trouble breast feeding. The doctor felt as though she needed more time to establish a BF routine and work would not be conducive to that. I was actually surprised that her doctor did that (and was jealous!!)
    mindy48875 responded:
    A lady in my carpool had her dr. write her off for some extra time. All she told him at her 6 week post partum check up was that she was feeling really anxious about returning to work and didn't feel ready yet and he wrote her off for longer. But it sounded like she had a really relaxed doctor!
    ShanMay responded:
    Due to privacy laws, your doctor's note does not need to be detailed - just needs to say that you are not free to return to work until X date. So if your doctor is willing to do this (most are not), then a generic doctor's note will work.
    Shimoko responded:
    Based on taking paid time off, transitioning into short term disability and then taking my FMLA weeks off, I have been able to extend my leave to about 3 months.

    Have you talked to your HR about pairing all of these types of leave together? It?s very possible to take 3 more months of FMLA when the year rolls over, even after you?ve taken the first 3 months of FMLA as well. The only downside is that it?s unpaid, so you have to budget for that, but FMLA will keep your job saved for you until you return from it. See if FMLA is a possibility for you, because that tends to allow the largest chunk of time.

    Besides, it'll be good if you can take off a large chunk of time (3 months) because that's about how long colic tends to last, and everyone knows how sleeplessness and frustration doesn't translate to a good working mom!
    mameh_2b responded:
    Double check with your HR what benefits you are entitled to. I was first given the same impression that I only have 6weeks for natural and 8 weeks for C-section. It might depend on the state that you live in, but since I'm in CA, I'm entitled to 4mos of maternity leave with job protection. In addition, I also have 12 weeks of baby bonding time with job protection. All I need is to tell HR how long I want to be out.

    However, time off and time paid are totally different. The state will pay me up to 4 weeks before my due date and for 6weeks (natural) or 8 weeks (C-section) post partum to recover. If I want to get paid by the state beyond the standard 6 or 8 wks post partum, that is the only time I will need to have additional medical explanation from my doctor. I also get up to 6 weeks of paid baby bonding time from the state.

    I can potentially get paid for 4mos out of the 7mos I can take time off (4weeks before due date + 6weeks post partum + 6 weeks baby bonding). However, keep in mind that the state will only pay a portion of your salary. This is the biggest deciding factor me, which is why I can't take all the time off. (As much as I want to!)

    What I learned from all this ... I actually have tons of benefits that I would not know about if I did not keep asking questions and double checking all the info given to me (even from HR!)

    Good luck!
    green1808 responded:
    I work in my HR department and have a solid understanding of our STD and FMLA policy. I know how it works. What I'm trying to avoid is using up all my vacation time (which I must do per company policy before they'll let me go unpaid under FMLA) because I want to save a few days for after I come back in case someone gets sick. If I take all 12 weeks under FMLA, I will come back to work with no paid time off left cuz they will have forced me to use what I have within those 12 weeks I am gone.

    What I'm ultimately trying to do is use more time on STD than the 6 weeks alloted to me under my companies maternity leave policy so I dont have to dip into ALL of my vacation time. My company provides up to 12 weeks of STD, but it's based on medical conditions. Maternity only qualifies for 6 weeks, unless you have a doctors note stating you need longer. I'm trying to squeeze out ideally 2 more weeks on STD beyond the 6 I already get.

    FMLA in my state allows us to take up to 12 weeks off and protects your job. My company, however, requires you to use any paid time off you have first before they let you finish those 12 weeks unpaid, so that's what I dont want to do. My ultimate goal here is to make sure I come back to work with at least a few days of vacation time and if I'm on STD, I wont have to dip into any vacation time.

    Does that help clarify what Im asking here? Thanks to those of you who did give me examples of what some doctors have done for others you know.
    kats8P responded:
    just curious - will your employer allow you to take unpaid time off? Is that an option? We're allowed the same 6 wk/8wk alotment of paid sick time off, which we must have accrued before we can be paid for that time. Beyond that, we can use accrued vacation time or unpaid time off. I also want more time off but do not want to deplete all of my leave so I'l lbe taking approx. 2 months off unpaid. Stinks on the wallet - but we can squeeze by through it - I figure it's the only chance I'll ever have for that time, kwim?
    green1808 responded:

    Yes, by law under FMLA, my employer must allow me to take up to 12 weeks off (unpaid) but my company allows us to use STD in conjunction with that, so rather than going all 12 weeks unpaid, I get 6 weeks maternity leave under STD paid at 66% as part of that 12. Any time I want beyond the 6 weeks I have to use vacation time up (I have 3 weeks I can use as of today, but I dont want to use it all up and come back to work with nothing) and anything beyond that is then unpaid. But yes, to answer your question, by law, they have to grant me unpaid time off under FMLA, but unpaid only kicks in after I've used up any paid time (vacation/sick time) I have in my bank.

    So, I'd have to be off work for longer than 9 weeks before I'd go unpaid the last 3 weeks for a total of 12. However, if my doctor writes me a note saying I can't come back in 6 weeks due to whatever reason, I can stay on STD longer than 6 weeks and wont have to dip into my vacation time, I'd continue getting paid at 66% until my doctor says I can come back, as long as it's within that 12 week leave period.

    I too feel that this is the only chance I'll have for this much time off with my DS (until I have another baby that is).
    smalina responded:
    At my employer, we have the exact same specifications, except we earn vacation time on an accrued yearly basis. From January until LO is born is the only vacation time I am required to use before unpaid time off kicks in. I will start earning vacation days again after returning to work. So, by the time LO is born, I will have accrued approx. 6 of my allotted 18 days.

    I hope you have an awesome doctor! Can you just straight up ask him/her to do that for you? GL!
    green1808 responded:

    Wow, you're lucky your company accrues your time....I wish mine did. Then I wouldn't be in this boat. My last employer accrued our vacation time, and even though it stunk come 1/1 when you hadn't yet earned many days, it still made more sense to do it that way.

    I'm going to ask my doctor at my next appointmnt if she'd consider doing this for me...I do have a pretty cool, young, doctor. She's great!
    kats8P responded:
    gotcha - we don't even have an STD option here stinky, stinky.. that said, our policy that's FMLA related allows me to take up to 6 months off related to the "condition" within a rolling calendar year - though anything i want paid has to be with time i've accrued.

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