As soon as you find out there’s a baby on the way, carefully read your company’s employee handbook or benefits statement to see what kind of maternity and/or paternity leave they offer. Depending on your employer, you may be eligible for paid or unpaid maternity leave, short-term disability benefits, government-mandated family medical leave or any combination of these. You may have to use up your vacation or sick time before the other benefits kick in.
Disability insurance is income paid to you weekly or monthly when you can’t work because of sickness or injury, and is usually a percentage of your regular pay. If your company doesn’t provide it, then you should look at getting your own—before you get pregnant. If your employer does provide it, but it’s not enough, then you might want to get additional coverage on your own.
Whether you’re looking at your current disability insurance or a possible policy, ask these questions:
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law where employers have to give their employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
Your employer is required to continue any health insurance while you are on leave, but the leave is unpaid and no other benefits have to be continued. However, your employer may choose to do so on their own.
If you take family medical leave, your employer must give you your original job or its equivalent when you return. There are eligibility requirements for family medical leave under the FMLA. Read more about FMLA here.