6 Financial Options If You Can’t Get Paid-Maternity Leave

Not all jobs or employers are mom friendly or have family friendly policies in place. Some companies are great and accommodating to moms.  However they may also be limited in how far they can go in supporting new moms, especially by offering paid maternity leave. 

You may may be denied a paid maternity leave if you have not worked for your employer for at least 1 year, have less than 1250 work hours or your employer has less than 50 employees.

If you cant get a paid maternity leave, you can try financial option such as negotiating for a remote arrangement, use paid vacation days, save, use your support system or use the maternity leave when it falls due.

Why You May Be Denied Paid Maternity Leave

You may not be eligible for paid maternity leave if;

  • You have not worked for your employer for at least 1 year
  • Have less than 1250 work hours
  • Your employer has less than 50 employees

It happens to many moms especially those who start a new job and immediately get pregnant. Or you may have joined a new employer when you are already pregnant and by your due date you will not have worked for a year yet.

Without meeting the above, your employer is not obliged by the law to give you paid maternity leave. Some employers may offer some flexibility and alternative financial options.

Options When You Can’t Get Paid Maternity Leave

1: Negotiate for Remote or Part Time Work

If you certainly are not eligible for paid maternity, but you need the pay, you can discuss remote work with your employer. It is a good option to survive unpaid maternity leave if paid maternity is off the table.

Some employers are willing to let new moms not eligible for paid maternity work remotely as long as they need to. Talk to your direct boss/supervisor or someone in the HR, who may outline the options that you have.  

An alternative to working remotely is working part time. See if your employer will let you work part time. You will need to meet the targets that you have to prove your performance and productivity.

You will need to attend any physical meetings required or when you are required for any physical appearance at the office. Some employers even develop specific collaboration tools specifically for moms to allow them work from home and thrive in their office work. Hence it will let you achieve the necessary balance of a new born/family and work as well.  

In addition you get to keep the pay that you so desperately need in caring for the baby and other family needs. Nonetheless the bottom line is that it gives a way out of you are unable to get a paid maternity leave.

Read: How to Go Part Time from Full Time

remote or part time work will help survive unpaid maternitty leave

2: Maximize on Paid Vacation/Odd days

If your employer offers paid time off, try to maximize on your vacation and off days to replace your unpaid maternity leave.  This means taking as less as possible so that you will have as many as possible unused days upon delivery. You will then be able to use them as your maternity leave and still get paid for them.

Further you can supplement your off days with sick leave authorized by the doctor among other due paid days you may have. Even though they may not add up to the entire time you need, at least they get some time off work as well as the pay.

After their depletion you can decide to continue on unpaid maternity leave until you are ready for work. Alternatively you can arrange for child care and resume work to keep you monthly pay coming in.

Read: Maternity Leave Benefits in California

3: Take Paid Maternity Leave When it’s Due

Even if you are not eligible before the one year mark, employers may allow you to take this leave once you have hit that one year working for them. However you will need to take the offer within the baby’s first birthday.

Depending on how far along you are from a one year working anniversary, see if this may be an option for you to getting a paid maternity leave. For instance if your due date is only few weeks short of this date, you can opt to resume working and proceed on leave when it’s due. 

Read: Reasons to Not Take an Early Maternity Leave

4: Save up and Take Unpaid Leave

While you are not eligible for paid leave, you can take unpaid parental leave and resume your job after this.  If you are in a situation whereby the above options are not applicable to you, consider taking unpaid leave since it is very necessary time for you and your baby.

Since it is unpaid, you need to plan and save in advance. Delivery and related costs can go very high and unpredictable hence you need a plan early enough.  You can start saving as soon as you realize you are pregnant.  

You can also take up insurance to cushion you over medical and delivery related costs. Another option is relying on your partner or family for financial support.

Read: How to Get Financially Ready for a Second Child

5: Use your Support System

The two main needs you may have as a new mom are finances and child care. If you are unable to get paid maternity, you can trying getting this support from your family or friends . They may offer finances so that you can go on unpaid maternity leave. Alternatively they could offer child care help for your child as young as few weeks old so that you can continue working.

Read: How to Get Family and Friends to Help with Childcare

support system will help survive unpaid maternity leave

6: Quit the Job

Quitting may not necessarily sound like a good plan in your situation, especially with the newborn baby. However if you think long term, you can use this as an opportunity to leave your employer, take the necessary recovery time and find a better employer after.

If your employer is not flexible or willing to meet you parenting needs, then it is an indication that you are working for a bad employer. It is already hard balancing work and parenting for moms and you need all the support and resources you need from your employer.

If you are not getting this from your employer, it becomes difficult doing your job and you may actually hate it. Working in a job that you hate will eventually affect your heath and your family life. Even with policies in place, your employer’s unrelenting rigidity and being inconsiderate should be a red flag for you.

Use this situation to really reflect and reassess your employer’s commitment to supporting parents. If your current employer is not, consider quitting as soon as you are due. After you are ready for work again, look for family friendly employers who will make it easier for you to balance parenting duties as well as work.

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