Maternity leave options
The phrase "maternity leave" is bandied about so freely that working women naturally assume they're entitled to one. The truth is that most companies don't pay for your maternity leave. Many women aren't even eligible for leave under family leave laws, either because they haven't been working long enough or because their company has fewer than the requisite 50 employees. Even if your company does grant family leave, you may not be in a position to take it if it's unpaid, or you may want to finance a longer maternity leave. Either way, it's worth exploring all of your options.
Explore your options for disability insurance too. Several states have state-run temporary disability plans that cover the weeks you're medically unable to work. These plans usually compensate for about 60 percent of your pay during the first 6-8 weeks postpartum that you're medically unable to work.
Beyond these federal- and state-mandated leave laws, you can use accrued vacation, sick days, or personal days to help finance your time off. You might also ask if you can borrow paid leave against future time off. Adjust your tax withholding at work now to reflect your extra dependent if the baby will be born in the current tax year. That way you'll benefit from the deduction now.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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