Having a baby can be an exciting time. In some cases, companies may offer paid time off for a working mother and / or father. In other instances, it may be necessary to use certain benefits, such as paid vacation time or disability, or to take time off with no pay at all from the employer.
While the actual requirements may differ based on the employer and the employee, you may be allowed, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, to take up to 12 weeks off work following either the birth or the adoption of a child.
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How Short-Term Disability and Other Benefits May Work with Maternity Leave
The legal requirements for offering maternity leave can vary by the size of a company, the state in which the company is located, and an individual’s employment status. In many cases, a company may create family leave from a variety of different benefits. These may include the following:
• Short-Term Disability – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for various medical and / or family reasons. This Act provides up to 12 weeks of leave, and in many cases, that time may run concurrently with your short-term disability benefits. With regard to maternity leave – which is one of the most common uses of short-term disability benefits – short-term disability insurance can replace part of your income for up to six or eight weeks (depending on the type of delivery). The remainder of the 12 weeks can then be covered by your unpaid FLMA leave.
If you opt to use your short-term disability coverage for maternity leave, the date of the “disability’s” occurrence will be the day the child is born. In some cases, you may need to wait for a short period of time before the short-term disability income payments begin. When on maternity leave via the FLMA, you may still be able to continue receiving employer-sponsored health insurance benefits – although a contribution for the premium may also still be required.
• Sick, Vacation and / or Holiday Time – Many companies will also allow their employees to use their sick, vacation and / or holiday time for their family leave. In this case, you may be able to receive sick pay, vacation pay, and / or income for the paid holidays.
When is an Employer Subject to the FLMA?
It is important to note that not all new mothers and fathers will be eligible to take job-protected leave based on the FLMA. For example, a company is not required to provide this benefit if:
- It has less than 50 employees within 75 miles of the workplace;
- The employee has been working for the company for less than one year;
- The employee has worked less than 1,250 hours for the employer throughout the past year.
In this case, it is important to determine if you will be eligible for any other type of maternity leave benefits, as there are many employers that are flexible in this area.