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 Post subject: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:35 pm 
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So, I'm not pregnant nor am I ever likely to be. BUT. I am curious about this. I realise it doesn't appear to apply to many people in the Playground as this area is somewhat populated by stay-at-home mums/moms (but then also, perhaps a lack of mat-leave is a reason for this in the first place?!)

Anyhoo. I was speaking to my own mum today about my sister being pregnant and how she (my sister), in the private company she is employed by, will only get 8 weeks maternity pay at the statutory minimum government rate at something like £136 per week. Which is forking LUDICROUS and pitiful to me as someone who works for a public body and who'd be given full pay for 6 months and then half pay and only then the stat. min. for the final 3 months. Or something akin to that, anyway... like I say, it's not something I've much a mind to keep up with in the sense it's doubtful to apply my way ever.

Aye, anyways. Do y'all get much of a mat pay in your countries? Is it crazy-dependent on the company you worked for? I had zero clue this vast difference occurred here until tonight, just as I had zero clue people had to pay to go to a damn doctor in the US until ppk. I know, that's ridic in retrospect, but also some people in America seem perplexed by the word aubergine, so you know... don't judge ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:20 pm 
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I wasn't working when I got pregnant, but at the last place I worked (a mathematical software company), I think the policy was 6 weeks paid leave (with the opportunity to take up to 12 weeks total under FMLA, but this would have been unpaid.. I *think* they let you add on unused paid time off to the 6 weeks though.. some companies make you use your paid time off as part of maternity leave so it varies.

When I had Vi my husband got 10 days' paternity leave. (For you civilians out there, that isn't two weeks, it's a week and a half ;) ) He had an easy time taking it because he was at a personnel policy job but in his current job it would probably be harder, and he'd still have to go to sea or whatever if that were in the schedule.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:54 pm 
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In the US, I'm pretty sure no company is required to offer maternity leave at all unless you qualify for 12 weeks of protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which only applies if your company has over 50 employees and you have to have been there a year. It's unpaid, so you need to take short-term disability to get at least some earnings. Nice companies offer some amount of maternity/paternity leave and pay, but that's definitely variable.

My husband works for the same company in a corporate position and though they don't offer specific paternity leave, he was fortunate enough to be able to take three weeks (and will be doing so again when I give birth this time). He has more than enough paid time off to do it and supportive bosses, which unfortunately is not always the case for partners.

I had hoped to leave it open whether to return to work or not but I ended up quitting before giving birth. I ended up a stay-at-home-parent because A) I took some of my FMLA leave in my first trimester and didn't have the option to take any more leave after giving birth than what was remaining, B) My retail job didn't pay enough to cover childcare and we didn't realize we should have been getting on waiting lists long ago anyway, and C) I had planned to go back to school anyways and get a real career so I wasn't really losing any lifetime earning potential or personal/professional satisfaction by quitting.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:21 pm 
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Also a US-ian. My job offered 4 weeks of paid maternity leave with an option to extend by using 2 weeks of vacation time (I have a total of 3 weeks of vacation time each year, I didn't wind up taking my third week that year because I was made to feel like I was behind for not being in the office for 6 weeks after giving birth). Same job and I have renegotiated to get 6 weeks paid leave + using 2 weeks of vacation time to extend for my next birth, whenever that might be. That was the last point of contention in my contract negotiations this past summer. It took them WEEKS to give me that and actually said to me that their other professional contracts only allowed for 4 weeks of maternity or paternity leave, so it would be unfair for me to get more *even though I am the only woman on staff* and also the only person of reproductive age or with a spouse of reproductive age. After a few go-arounds of that I said to them, seriously guys, with the options you're giving me, my choice is to keep working for you or to have more children. Then they relented. My professional organization has a boiler plate sample contract that requires 8 weeks of paid maternity leave minimum, but I know very few people who are getting that.

My SIL got 6 weeks paid leave and took another 6 weeks under FMLA and got disability pay. She thought going back at 3 months was kind of hard, and it meant she gave up breastfeeding at that stage, too, because she resented having to pump milk at work.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:11 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:25 pm 
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Brazil has extended maternity from 4 to 6 months. the company only has to pay 4 months of 100% salary, if the mother chooses to stay home for 6 they may or may not get paid, it's at the discretion of the company.
paternity is 10 days.

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:35 pm 
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I'm totally confused by the subject of paid maternity leave, since...well, it doesn't really happen in the U.S. How do companies afford to pay employees who aren't working? Are they allowed to hire someone to fill in until the person on parental leave comes back?

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:40 pm 
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I think in some countries it's done as a government thing, like unemployment. Which makes way more sense in my mind because otherwise they are giving companies a HUGE disincentive to hire women.

I recall having this discussion on another thread way back when, but it escapes me.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:35 pm 
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I work for a small employer, so FMLA doesn't apply. Maternity leave at my employer is unpaid, I think for 6 weeks. My employer also doesn't offer health insurance and is too small for the new Affordable Care Act regulations to apply to them. So....yay.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:59 pm 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
I'm totally confused by the subject of paid maternity leave, since...well, it doesn't really happen in the U.S. How do companies afford to pay employees who aren't working? Are they allowed to hire someone to fill in until the person on parental leave comes back?


Yes, they can hire someone to fill in. They can also shift your job so that it is less attractive to come back to - shenanigans do happen. It's still totally in a company's interest to figure out a way to retain already-trained workers. 86% of mothers in the US work for pay - it is definitely not the norm to be a SAHM (although they are overrepresented on the PPK). That means that most women are going to be loyal to a job if the company makes it worth their while. Maternity leave is just like health care and other benefits - to offer it gives a company a competitive advantage in hiring good workers. Most companies have more financial wiggle room than you would imagine. And there are plenty of other, less predictable things that wind up taking people away from jobs temporarily - that's why FMLA exists (to cover taking off for child care, elder care, family crisis, etc.). At my job (where FMLA doesn't apply, we're too small), someone took off 2 months recently for cancer treatment. shiitake happens. It certainly wasn't in our interest to lose the employee who has been there for ten years! So she got paid while she was gone and we covered for her as best we could and that was that.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:13 pm 
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And the US does have a large temporary work-force. When I worked at an investment bank, we hired people to cover people who went out on maternity leave from large temp companies, like Axiom Legal. And sometimes the people who went out on leave wouldn't come back, and the temp had the opportunity to be hired for the permanent position, if they wanted.

Ariann wrote:
86% of mothers in the US work for pay - it is definitely not the norm to be a SAHM (although they are overrepresented on the PPK).


I agree with everything you've said, but was curious as to why you think that there are a disproportionate number of SAHMs on the PPK.

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:21 pm 
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I'm in California and I got six weeks of paid disability leave. It's partial pay, but it's more than nothing. In CA, that money comes from the money that people pay into SDI-- not from the employer (as far as I understand). There are some other states that do "pregnancy disability" I think.

I didn't qualify for FMLA because I hadn't been working at the company for a year. But FMLA doesn't guarantee you any money anyhow, just that you won't get fired if you're out for 12 weeks.

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Last edited by coldandsleepy on Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:22 pm 
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I currently work for the government here in the US. Maternity leave is covered under FMLA, so I get 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave with the option of an additional 6 weeks unpaid leave if I have my doctor write a note saying it is needed for mother, baby, or "bonding". What I did with my last baby and will do with this upcoming baby is hoard my vacation and sick leave and then use all of that so that hopefully I will have 6 weeks "paid" through vacation and sick leave and then 6 weeks unpaid. My last workplace was small and so FMLA did not apply. They offered 2 weeks upaid leave - I cannot imagine.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:55 pm 
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Even though FMLA is unpaid, you keep your insurance coverage for the time you are on FMLA. That was crucial for me as my insurance covered me, my partner, and the baby. I could not afford to do cobra.

My company allows you to take up to five years off but it's unpaid and zero benefits after six weeks. You can use your own sick days (if you have enough) to be paid for six weeks max. I took 12 with FMLA. It sucked. I can't even imagine going back at six weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:56 pm 
***LIES!!!***
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Tofulish wrote:
And the US does have a large temporary work-force. When I worked at an investment bank, we hired people to cover people who went out on maternity leave from large temp companies, like Axiom Legal. And sometimes the people who went out on leave wouldn't come back, and the temp had the opportunity to be hired for the permanent position, if they wanted.

Ariann wrote:
86% of mothers in the US work for pay - it is definitely not the norm to be a SAHM (although they are overrepresented on the PPK).


I agree with everything you've said, but was curious as to why you think that there are a disproportionate number of SAHMs on the PPK.


It seems on the Playground that significantly more than 14% of moms are SAH, does it not? I don't really know about the rest of the PPK. I could even count my family in that disproportion, since we had a SAHD. It may just be that SAHMs post more, which skews the number in my mind.

ETA when I started trying to list the mothers who work for pay in the Playground I realized a bunch of them have stay at home husbands. A progressive bunch. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:21 pm 
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Yeah, I was trying to figure out percentages by counting and I think while more than 14% of the PPK Playgrounders are SAHPs, it's probably less than you might think. People who are at home are probably more likely to have a minute to post from their phones & also have more day to day stuff to talk about I think. (Well, I did when I stayed home.)

Sometimes I feel like such an oddball because I stayed home for a bit and then went back to work, but I think I've read this is actually the most common scenario in the US.

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:22 pm 
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Now I want to figure this out for real.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:45 pm 
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I work for a university in the U.S., and we generally have really good benefits. Completely free insurance for employees (and not too expensive to add spouse and children), for instance. There's no maternity leave. I can take the 12 weeks of FMLA after I've used up all my (admittedly generous by U.S. standards) sick leave and vacation time. Which means I'm currently not using up any of that time (when I can help it) in order to let it accrue.

My husband's office, on the other hand, offers 1/2 pay paternity leave. Three weeks I think. His industry is currently competing for employees and offers really good benefits so they can attract and retain workers.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:48 am 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
I'm totally confused by the subject of paid maternity leave, since...well, it doesn't really happen in the U.S. How do companies afford to pay employees who aren't working? Are they allowed to hire someone to fill in until the person on parental leave comes back?


In Germany the state pays for it. We have both maternity and paternal leave. Maternity leave (called Mutterschutz) is a period of time you get off for health reasons. It is mandatory and you have to get off work and stay at home (I know, socialism!!!). The health insurance pays you up to 13 Euro per day and your employer pays the rest so that you get your average paycheck. This madatory leave starts 6 weeks before birth and lasts until 8 weeks after birth.
After that you can take paternal leave for up to 10 - 12 months. If your partner takes at least 2 months, you get the whole 12 months, otherwise it is 10. (Keep in mind that childcare for children under the age of one is very rare in Germany.) We get paid 67% of our average wage, paid by the local government.

That google graphic is kind of wrong because it suggests that you can get 67 % of your wage for up to three years. But you only can take unpaid parental leave for up to three years, without being paid for it after the first year. (There are exeptions to this, for examle you could stay at home for 1 1/2 years and spread the money.) This system is kind of flexibel and both parents are entitled to take the leave but only one will get the money. We decided that we would both take a leave but only one of us would get paid. So we both stayed at home for a year (my partner took his vacation while I was on mandatory leave after birth) and started working again when our daughter turned one and went to daycare.

And yes, the companies hire someone else to take your place while you are on leave. Those persons get a temporary contract for the time period you are on leave.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:46 am 
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Here in Sweden, the government pays too. The way it works is that you get a certain number of days that are paid leave days (most of them are paid at 80% of your income, some are "basic rate" days, which means everyone gets the same amount, currently 180 SEK). You can use those days any time before the child's eighth birthday, and your employer has no say in when you use them. 60 days are reserved for each parent, so if, say, the father (most common) doesn't use any of his days, you lose them. Before the child's first birthday, you can stay home without using any paid leave and still stay on the same level of insurance. After the kid turns one, you have to use five days per week or lose insurance. (You get it back after you work for a certain amount of time, I think 10 months or something.)

Since I didn't have an income before we had R, I stayed home for a year and only used 60 days of leave (all of it 180 SEK/day). I can use more days in a couple of years when I have started working and they will be paid according to my income then. My husband, who has the real job, stayed home for eight months while I went back to college, and he used five days/week.

The right to unpaid parental leave is only for 18 months, after that you have to use your paid leave days to avoid losing your job. However, you have the right to work part-time (75%) until the kid is seven.

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:19 am 
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The government pays for it in Canada, and we get a year. And yes, a temporary employee is brought on to fill in for that person. We call it a "mat leave". I couldn't imagine it any other way.

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:42 am 
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i cant speak for every company in the US but standard "maternity leave" (which is a joke to call it that since it doesnt exist here) is actually technically short term disability.

for my company that i used to work for we had over 200 employees across the US so we had short term and long term disability benefits.

for "maternity" leave you got 6 weeks "paid" leave available to take for having a baby. you were paid i believe 60% of your salary but you had to pay the company for your benefits (ie health, dental insurance, etc)

so basically compared to countries where maternity leave is a thing that pales in comparison and is pretty sucktastic but it's better than diddly squat.

you are allowed to take 12 weeks through FMLA but you guys can do the math that's 6 weeks with no pay at all and having to pay your employer for health benefits (im guessing some companies may pay for this???? mine didnt)
so i know people who couldnt afford to take maternity leave and would take the 6 weeks short term disability and use whatever vacation they had accrued and then basically be forced to return to work.

i feel so insanely fortunate that i am able to do the SAHM thing at least for now. not sure how long that will last but i cant imagine having to go back to work when i had an 8 week old baby.

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:42 am 
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In my post above I ment parental leave not paternal. Sorry.


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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:44 am 
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my husband works for a teeny tiny company (i think there are 5 of them?) and he was given a week of paternity leave. they have no actual set policies (im not even sure anyone tracks vacation time taken there) he was just given it becuaes the people he works for are awesome.
he also took a week of vacation.

sadly an entire week of those 2 weeks was sucked up because i ended up in the hospital for a week before she was born but that's certainly not the company's problem.

i wanted him to take 3 weeks and im sure they would have let him but we both agreed it was a lot to ask of such a small company

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 Post subject: Re: Maternity leave across the world
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:48 am 
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annak wrote:
I think in some countries it's done as a government thing, like unemployment. Which makes way more sense in my mind because otherwise they are giving companies a HUGE disincentive to hire women.

Not necessarily, in some countries like Iceland you get paid maternity and fraternity leave. Which is actually better for men and women. Because when noone gets any paid leave the companies are still going to favour men because they won't get pregnant and quit or pause. If both leave for some time anyway, it's a lot less sexist.

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