One of the most important questions
Where to start your research?
I recently went to my community of families and asked how one would go about applying for FMLA if they were going unassisted and no one really knew. When searching the group achieves and didn’t really find anything other than the “contact your HR department” which granted is great information but I am the type of person who likes to be prepared when I make a call.
Turning to a Google search and again was left empty handed so either I am the only one in corporate America thinking to have an unassisted birth or no one else has ever thought to share the information they have. I will warn you it took about 6 calls to gather all the information I needed because no two departments speak to each other or share information.
You’ll want to call your HR department and asking how to file
My company uses Liberty Mutual for the FMLA claims so I will be providing the information I collected from them. Use this as a reference but again make sure you make your own call as it may vary.
Does an unassisted birth qualify?
The short answer is yes but the process is a bit different.
The representative advised that when you have a typical pregnancy and file a claim you can take your leave if your provider feels you need bedrest sooner. The fine print is you have to sign a waiver for them to have access to your medical information. That was a big heck no for me.
Honestly, why would anyone be ok with the company they work for having access to their medical information? I can’t possibly be the only one who feels uncomfortable for that idea. When I asked what happens when it is an unassisted birth I was told that I wouldn’t be able to take any time off until the birth.
That I am ok with. Of course, if there are signs to transfer I would and at that point the leave would start when needed.
One month before my estimated due date (EDD) I will need to call and file the actual claim. At that point paperwork will be sent to me and once I have given birth and have a birth certificate I would send everything back in. I did confirm once you call and let them know you have given birth your pay will kick in. For my company and because of the short term disability coverage I have I am able to take 6 weeks off. The first week is not paid unless you use vacation or sick days after which point the short term disability will kick in.
I am still able to take the rest of the time off to complete the 12 weeks covered under FMLA but those will be unpaid. Imagine that only have 6 weeks to bond with your new baby, to build a breastfeeding journey. How is it even possible.
Join me next time on the blog entitled “What’s up with our maternity leave”. We will dig in with the barely there maternity leave in the United States and try to figure out ways to get our government to see the need for change.