Maternity/Paternity Leave in New York City

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Step one to being a successful mom is being an educated one. But right now put down that edition of “What to expect when you’re expecting” and start learning more about your rights as a working woman–a working pregnant woman, that is.

The Family Medical Leave Act requires that employers provide up to 3 months of unpaid, job-protected maternity leave to qualified employees for “incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth” and “to care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care”. However, in order to be protected by FMLA you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months providing 1250 hours. Also, FMLA only applies to companies who have 50+ employees.

Although some employers offer supplemental maternity-leave benefits, there is no federal or state law that decrees additional benefits must be guaranteed. An article in the New York Times gives examples of what employers offer in terms of paid maternity/paternity leave. Google, for instance, provides new mothers with 22 weeks of paid leave and fathers with 7 weeks. Fannie Mae offers 6 weeks paid maternity after vaginal delivery and 8 weeks for C-sections. In addition, mothers who are Fannie Mae employees receive 20 days of paid bonding leave after childbirth and fathers receive 20 days of paid bonding leave. If your employer doesn’t offer paid leave, you may be entitled to collect New York Short Term Disability. New Yorkers on maternity leave are entitled to receive short-term disability as a result of medical issues such as childbirth. New York State will provide up to $170 per week.

Yet, according to the International Labour Organization, over 120 countries offer paid maternity leave. The U.S. is not one of them. “The countries that provide the most paid maternity leave laws include: the Czech Republic – 28 weeks; Hungary – 24 weeks; Italy – 5 months; Canada – 17 weeks; Spain and Romania – 16 weeks each. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all provide extensive paid leave which may be taken by either parent, although a portion is reserved for the mother.”

While we don’t have the best policies in the world when it comes to taking care of ourselves and our little ones during/after childbirth, we don’t necessarily have the worst. However, if your employer doesn’t offer paid leave it may be time to start collecting those pennies because chances are that $170/week ain’t much, especially in New York City, although it’s better than nothing.

COPYRIGHT © 2013 Alicia Reece Conradi, Author. All rights reserved.

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