It pains me that taking a maternity leave is causing me stress. I am a New York City public school teacher and maternity leave consists of 6 weeks,if you have a vaginal birth, or 8 weeks if you have a C-section. Unpaid. Basically, the department bleeds you of your sick and personal days and then once those are up, they dock your pay. However, you do have the option of ‘borrowing days.’ Although- be prepared to pay those days back monetarily when you return to work (e.g. your check will be docked). You are entitled to FMLA, however, if you took any FMLA in the past year, you might not get the full amount of time… Well…I had to FMLA because I was out due to my termination for medical reasons, so I am not entitled to more than 6/8 weeks . In addition, if I exceed 6 or 8 weeks (depending on my type of birth), I run the risk of being knocked off of payroll….This means that if I do not return to work for the few weeks left of the school year, following my 6/8 week leave, I won’t receive my checks for the summer (which I have earned already) and I loose all and any seniority I have accrued in the 7 years I have worked for the department of education.
So with that being said…These are my scenarios:
1. I delivery on my due date (April 29th) vaginally:
I’ll need to return to work June 10th and work for the remaining 3 and a half weeks of school…
I’ll have to pump at work…which I do not believe is entirely friendly. So, I’ll be locking my door and pumping in quiet with the hope that I will not be walked in and it won’t interfere with my job duties. This is if I can pump/breastfeed as I know it can be difficult for some mothers.
2. I delivery on my due date by c-section:
I will need to return to work by June 24th. and work for until June 28th and I’ll be out for the summer.
3. Optimal time but not optimal birth: Deliver 5 days late by c-section:
I do not want this to occur, but its said that this would allow me not to return to work and get the most amount of time with my daughter. Because my maternity leave would end as summer begins, I will not get knocked off of pay roll.
It frustrates me that many companies now have leaves ranging from 3 months to a year, some paid. It pains me that I will only get a short amount of time with her before I have to figure out child care (rotation of family members).
How in an environment that is predominately woman in child bearing years, is there no paid maternity leave????
I am grateful that I will, at the very least, have the entire summer with her. I am also incredibly grateful that we are surrounding by family members willing and wanting to care for her when I have to return to work.
I know I have absolutely not control over when I bring her home. I know that she will come when she is ready and I am hoping that is as close to her due date as possible. As I know, nothing is in my control and I know anything is possible, I do pray and hope that she does arrive, safe, alive and healthy.