Did you get paid for maternity leave?

Katherine - posted on 02/28/2011 ( 71 moms have responded )

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We don't get paid in the US which is what this is about. I know in Australia you do. You also get a baby bonus unlike us.



I think something really needs to be done about this, what do you think?



Cafemom

http://thestir.cafemom.com/healthy_livin...



I couldn't copy and paste sorry.

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Krista - posted on 03/07/2011

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Honestly, I'm surprised that Americans aren't rioting in the streets over this. The family is such a big part of your culture, and yet, only lip service is paid -- your taxes do jack-squat to actually help your family.

Unfortunately (and I don't mean this to be a bashing of Americans in general), there seems to be a real streak of selfishness in your culture, disguising itself as individualism. The whole, "why should I pay for someone else's life choices" argument. As long as that attitude is prevalent, families in America will continue to get screwed.

Jenny - posted on 03/04/2011

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The American government would rather send their armies out to secure resources for their corporations than put value into their families. They stopped working for the people a long time ago. If they truly value family values they need to put their money where their mouth is.

Johnny - posted on 03/04/2011

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EI is not a tax in any way, it is a form of insurance. Of course it is money coming out of your pocket, but I'd liken it more to paying for health, car or home insurance than to any sort of taxation. Most of the time, those insurances are mandatory, but are designed to protect you when something goes wrong or a situation changes. EI is the same.

When you average out what Americans spend on private or HMO health insurance and all taxes and then add up what the average Canadian pays in all taxes, Canadians do pay less. The amount of GDP dedicated to defense does have a significant impact on why American's receive less individual services through tax dollars than Canadians, British, and Australians.

Johnny - posted on 03/01/2011

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We don't have a military industrial complex that eats half of it. The US spends 4.3% of GDP while Canada spends 1.3% of GDP.

Johnny - posted on 02/28/2011

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I'm also in Canada and received the maternity leave and parental leave. Maternity leave is specific to having given birth and is for the mother. Parental leave can be taken by the primary caregiver, be it the birth mother or father or an adoptive parent. Like Becky mentioned it's 55% of your pre-tax income capped at a certain point. I got lucky. 55% of my pre-tax income was pretty much exactly at the cut-off point. We pay into the system all of our working lives through EI. Our employers are not paying us for time off, unless like a few, they make the choice to do top ups. I found that even though it was 55% that it wasn't a big financial hit since the deductions for medical, EI and other things were no longer coming off my pay cheque and it is taxed at a lower rate. Combined with child-tax benefits, childcare benefits, and a few other things, that year I didn't see much of a drop in take-home income.

Personally, I think that it demonstrates that we are placing a value on having parents raising their kids, at least for that early critical bonding period. I could not have imagined leaving my daughter when she was 6 weeks to go back to my job full-time. Frankly, if I had lived in the US, I would not have considered having kids unless I could have afforded to stay home for at least a year or so after the birth. It's not just about what is "nice" for the mom, but what is in the best interests of our kids. It's really shocking to me all the people puffing out their chests pontificating about family values but then supporting a system that separates parents from their kids. It's one thing if you want to be at work, it's quite another if you have absolutely no choice in the matter due to financial considerations. There are women in Canada who don't take the full mat leave, but at least they usually have the option. I think there should be more freedom for people to choose what is best for the family. To me, that's "family values".

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Robyn - posted on 03/07/2011

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@ Krista
My sister is a full-time teacher, and she doesn't claim it each summer, because she doesn't have to. She did tell me that her co-workers claim it each summer though. Thanks for your comment...?

Krista - posted on 03/06/2011

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Robyn,
Teachers in Canada can only get EI benefits in the summer if their contract is terminated or if they are casual or substitute teaching. With my regular/continuing contract, I can't claim EI in the summer. It would be nice though! I do have the option of getting smaller paycheques over 12 months instead of 10 month pay.

Robyn - posted on 03/06/2011

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I was paid by mat leave for a year. I am in Canada, and we pay into Employment Insurance with every paycheck. Teachers for example use it each summer. So when its time to take a year off to be with your baby mat leave is there, plus my work tops it up from 75% of my pay from EI to 100%. Not too sure what you can do about it, as its your governments decision.. maybe talk to your MP (not sure what they are called where you are)

Krista - posted on 03/04/2011

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I'm in Alberta, Canada, and I've just started my second mat leave (technically, I've got two weeks of sick pay until my due date, which is 100% paid by my employer with my saved up sick days) and then I get a year off. I'll get the 55%, but my employer (school division) tops us up to 100% for the first 3 months. I can even take a second year off with this division, if I want, but it would be unpaid. I feel extremely lucky to have these benefits! It was soooo hard to go back to work and leave my 1 year old with a baby sitter. I just can't imagine going back after only a few weeks...I don't think I could even walk properly after 6 weeks with all the stitches I had, and I was so sleep deprived and full of hormones I would have been a mess at work! I'm very happy to be in Canada with all of our "socialist" programs that so many Americans are afraid of!

Jenn - posted on 03/04/2011

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Did you know that if you cut the US military spending in HALF it would still be more than 3 times more than what any other country spends, and that would equate to over $1000 in each and every single person's pocket - babies, children, parents, seniors - everyone! So I disagree that cutting military spending would not be enough to fund it.

Jenn - posted on 03/04/2011

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Yes, but I wasn't talking about maternity leave/benefits coming from EI - I was just talking about the comparison of taxes. I've had several conversations in the past with Americans and they all thought that our taxes were much higher than what they are. And yes, we do pay for the services that we have - obviously - but for what Americans pay, they are not getting anything near as equal in benefits. It is most certainly a matter of how the government chooses to spend their money.

Mary - posted on 03/04/2011

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No, you're income tax may not be necessarily higher, but it's not as simple as saying Americans and Canadians pay roughly the same taxes, and just spend it differently. For example, the way that Carol explained EI, all working Canadians, as well as their employers, are paying into that system with each paycheck - it's just not considered or called a "tax". No matter what name it's filed under, it still equates to money coming out of your income. As well, your sales tax (except, apparently, Alberta) is higher than that in the US.

I'm not stating that either country's system is better; I'm just pointing out that Canadian citizens are still paying for these benefits, even if it's not directly as a result of income taxes. America is certainly capable of doing something similar, but I have a feeling that simply cutting military spending would not be enough to fund it.

Jenn - posted on 03/04/2011

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Thanks for posting that tax info Kelly. I'm always amazed at how many people I've talked to who think that us Canadians pay such high income tax compared to Americans when that just really isn't the case. It's all in how the government chooses to spend it. We choose to spend more of it on social programs. You guys choose to spend more of it on military. For our family, we pay about $10,000 a year in income tax and property tax, sales tax is 13% (only on taxable items - groceries are not taxable for example), gas tax is 14.7 cents per litre, and I'm not sure what else there is off the top of my head. But for what we pay, we get to have free healthcare, nice roads to drive on, a pretty great education system (our university fees are substantially lower than American fees as well), and our family receives at least $13,000 in baby bonus, and various tax credits (HST cheques, etc.).

Patricia - posted on 03/04/2011

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i think you should get maternity allowance and baby bonus toi it does help trust me

Becky - posted on 03/03/2011

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LOL. At least we didn't breed Celine Dion! :p Apparently, we also have the cheapest gas in the country right now too.

Krista - posted on 03/03/2011

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True. But you guys are home to Nickelback. So there's that shame you have to bear.

Becky - posted on 03/03/2011

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I think Alberta is the only province that doesn't have a provincial sales tax. Nyah nyah. :p

Veronique - posted on 03/03/2011

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I live in Montreal Canada and we get 1 year of paid maternity. We also get 100$ a month per kid for childcare and we get from the canadian goverment child bonus every month ( depend of you housewhole income ) and every 3 months another child bonus ( depends on the amount of kids and the income ) we are very lucky but i know that it's not the same everywhere.

Jane - posted on 03/02/2011

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Well, I live in the US and I did get paid, however, I work for a large corporation and it offers that as a benefit. I was paid for 4 weeks prior to due dat and 6 weeks after delivery (or 8 weeks if it were a c-section). I was late with both kids so I was paid for longer before delivery which was cool. Also, California as a state has state disability that all residents pay into thru taxes and get paid there for maternity leave. I believe there are other states that have this as well.

Brandi - posted on 03/02/2011

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I didn't get paid. I live in the US though. I think you should get maternity leave IF you have been with the company for at least a year and a half. Honestly, I don't think you should be paid if you have only worked there for like 9 months. That's just me though. But, after you have proved to be a loyal employee, I think that you should get 6 weeks paid. Not your complete salary but maybe 80%. IMO

Amy - posted on 03/02/2011

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I live in the US and my employers offered a great plan...I got paid 65% of my normal pay while I was out for maternity leave and it covered up to 15weeks. I never realized how good I had it until I left the company, it's been a little over a year and I just got rehired at the same company...

Casey - posted on 03/01/2011

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I am from Australia and I didn't get paid maternity leave as it only became available this year but I did get the baby bonus which was about $5500 it was fantastic and really helped us out when we first had our baby, we're now having our second baby in 9 weeks and we are eligable for the baby bonus again which I think is still about the same amount.
It is a shame that not all countries can offer this to new parents cause it really does help so much after having a baby.

[deleted account]

I saved years of my sick & vacation time. I was expecting to have my son over spring break and take the remainder of the school year off 9 weeks. BUT...he arrived a whole month early. I had awesome co-workers that donated their sick time to me so I could stay home, unpaid. Otherwise I would have had to return to work the 2nd week of April.

[deleted account]

oops. Sorry Jodi :P
Even so, Canadians still get much better benefits than Americans, on about the same taxation....

Johnny - posted on 03/01/2011

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I typed out more details earlier, then COM ate it. But Canada has a 5% national sales tax and most provinces have sales taxes. Where I live they are combined and are at 12%. Unprocessed food, some healthy processed foods (like a loaf of bread) and children's clothing are tax-free. Property taxes are municipal so it depends where you live and what sort of services you receive. Gasoline and cigarettes/alcohol have higher taxes in addition to the basic sales tax.

Jodi - posted on 03/01/2011

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Kelly, I am in Australia, not Canada, and our taxes are higher than that......

Janessa - posted on 03/01/2011

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Yes I did get paid for maternity leave for 1 year. I am so happy that lived I do live in Canada and I worked for a long time to being able to afford the maternity leave.

[deleted account]

I don't really understand the Canadian Tax system, but from what I read online, it seems Canadians are actually not paying much more in taxes at all.....income taxes anyway, but I don't know about property taxes, sales taxes, or other taxes....



I know in the US married couples filing Jointly pay ~25% for any amount they earn over $68k up to $137k, and 15% on any amount they earn from $16k up to $68k. I don't know exactly what percentage that works out to (assuming most Americans earn between $68k & $137k), but an average would be about 20% if your salary falls near the middle, right (sorry , I suck at math).



From what I read, Canadians pay 15% on the first $41k, 22% on the amount between $41k up to $83k, and 26% on the amount between $83k and $128k.

The highest Canadian tax bracket is 29%, applying to all income over $128k, where the highest US bracket is 35% but applies to all income above $375k(ish).



It seems we could use some financial lessons from our friends to the North....

Jodi - posted on 03/01/2011

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Just remember, Katherine, that we pay higher taxes than you guys do. But then, I think our average wages are higher too, so that probably makes up for it.

Katherine - posted on 03/01/2011

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I am really depressed after reading all of these posts and the awesome benefits some of you get.

Even a SAHM get's benefits, nice.

[deleted account]

Wow. Yes. Something needs to be done D: In New Zealand we get paid parental leave. Means the husband (father) gets 2 weeks paid leave too.

Krista - posted on 03/01/2011

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Yeah, I knew that employers also paid into the EI system, but I wasn't sure about the rates.

Johnny - posted on 03/01/2011

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Yes, I pay about $15/bi-monthly too Jenny.



I just took a peek at some old records from our business. On average we were paying about $900/month for EI for all of our employees and management, in addition to what the employees contributed.



The other thing is that while you are on mat leave, you are not costing your business anything. At least in many cases. While I was on mat I was opted out of my company's benefits program. Of course, they hired a replacement for me, but since my company is growing, she is still working here and they probably would have hired anyway.



I would agree though, that companies are hesitant to hire pregnant women. I understand why too, since they will be working for less time than they are on leave, it is inconvenient. It makes it very difficult if you are laid off during a pregnancy. You can collect EI for the loss of work, but once it runs out, you would not be further eligible for maternity benefits since you would not have the hours accumulated.

Jenny - posted on 03/01/2011

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Businesses match 1.4 times what the employee pays here. I pay about 15.00 twice a month.

Johnny - posted on 03/01/2011

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Our EI program functions on basically the same premise. It pays out if you get downsized, laid off or the company goes under. Also, in some regions the work is seasonal (like fishing outports or northern arctic mines) so it helps people continue to live in remote places with little year-round employment (I think this is quite uncommon nowadays though). But here both the employer and the employee contribute to EI. When I ran a business, it was my responsibility to deduct it from pay cheques along with taxes and make a bi-weekly remittance to the government. As an employer, we also paid a percentage of it too. I don't know the current state of our national EI account since the recession, but beforehand it was running a surplus. There was quite a bit of controversy about the government attempting to take the surplus for general revenue instead of investing it for the future. So even with women getting paid for mat leave, it was not causing financial problems for the country. Our business did not suffer from it either. It was a very small part of the bottom line. Of course, we didn't have to pay for medical insurance and since the majority of our employees were contract employees (yoga teachers) who work for a number of different businesses, it was not an expectation.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/01/2011

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I think if people realized how little they'd have to contribute to get mat/pat leave, most would be quite happy to do it. I can't believe that employers cover all the EI! Weird.

To me it just makes sense for governments to take control of this. I know there is already a bias in some areas of business towards women who plan on having kids or are already pregnant. There isn't supposed to be, but just try finding a job when you are sporting a gut! If the business is responsible for even the piddly 6 weeks, that's a big cost to eat up and I think is likely to add to the bias. Can't really blame them. For many businesses that is a lot of money.

[deleted account]

We do have EI, but it is not paid for by individual employees; employers pay it. It pays employees in the event they loose their job though no fault of their own--like downsizing, layoffs, or companies going out of business--it does not pay for them to go on maternity leave. Would be awesome if it did, that would save employers from having to pay for maternity coverage on the short term disability insurance...

Lady Heather - posted on 03/01/2011

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I definitely don't think private business should have to cover all that time off. 4 months from a business is very generous. I don't see why the US can't do what we do though. I'm sure you all have some sort of unemployment insurance system? Maternity benefits here are just tied into that and no, we don't notice the difference in our paycheques. At least I've never really felt it and I don't work crazy high paying jobs. For some people maternity or paternity leave is the only way you're ever going to get to take advantage of your EI payments. I've personally never qualified for them any other time and neither has my husband.

Krista - posted on 03/01/2011

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That's totally fair, Kelly. I agree that the onus should not be entirely on the employer. Very few businesses can afford to pay for full leave for an employee.

I echo pretty much everything that Johnny said -- the way it works in Canada is really pretty great. I've paid into EI all of my working life. And really, it's very little per paycheque. I won't give you my exact salary, but it's between $35K and $50K, and per paycheque, I pay $31 towards EI. When I made less, I paid less. So it's really a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things -- I certainly don't miss it. And it's not part of our taxes -- it's a completely separate fund, earmarked solely for EI.

And it was great to be able to take that much time off with my son when he was born. For us, money was tight, because prior to going on mat leave, I was working elsewhere, making about half of what I am now. So 55% of that...well, it wasn't very much money, needless to say. However, between that, and our Child Tax Benefit and our Childcare Tax Credit, and a little help from my folks, we got by and kept the bills paid.
Like Johnny said, I find it ironic that so many politicians in the US yang on about family values, but they enact policies that are everything BUT family-friendly, because heaven forbid that someone get something that looks like a "handout", right?
And were I living in the U.S., I honestly don't know if I would have had kids. Between the costs for private insurance, the hospital costs for all the crap your insurance didn't cover, and then the fact that you basically get jack-squat for leave? Yeah...welcome to the world, kid. Your parents are now in medical debt and your mom is back at her desk even though she still has stitches in her vag and you can't even hold your head up yet.

Jenny - posted on 03/01/2011

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Yep, I paid myself for my year off with both kids through our Employment Insurance program. I worked right up until a few weeks before my due date so I could have maximum time with my babies. I received about $550 every 2 weeks while I was off and the Child Tax Credit once per month which was about $400 for one child.

[deleted account]

I got paid during my maternity leave. I was the owner of my company so I kept receiving the profit of my company minus the salary for the temp manager I had to bring in, so my pay was drastically reduced. I think I got about 15% of my regular pay...

My employees on the other hand, had it pretty good, in my opinion. They had company sponsored (meaning I paid for it) short term disability that paid for 12 weeks of mat. leave at 80% of their pay. They also got 4 weeks of vacation time after 2 years and 6 weeks after 5 years, so most were able to take at least 4 months off with pay.

That is truly all I could afford to do, with the size of my company, I could not have paid their full salary and the salary for the temp covering them for any longer than 4-6 weeks. I don't think people realize how difficult it is for employers to provide that kind of leave with no federal help, and they certainly don't realize how much we pay for that disability insurance--it's expensive here! I think something definitely does need to be done at the federal level, but I don't think forcing employers to provide more paid leave than they can afford to is the answer. That would only push more small businesses out of business and feed the big corporations.

ME - posted on 03/01/2011

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lol...people get paid for Maternity leave...That would have been a dream come true; sadly, I live in the USA and we don't care about families, mothers, or children here...at least not after they are born...

Lindsay - posted on 03/01/2011

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@ Katherine- I'm in Kentucky, USA. It was my employer that did that. They weren't required to do it by law. I actually started working there after I was pregnant with my first and didn't expect to be paid for mat leave but it was a lovely and well-welcomed surprise. It was nice to not have to worry about not being paid again when I had my second.

LaCi - posted on 03/01/2011

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What I tried to say before it ATE my post was that I, unfortunately did not get paid. I found out I was pregnant a few weeks after I started working at the job I had so I was just shy of making the full year that would have qualified me for maternity pay, also disqualified me from FMLA. :/

I also had zero idea that I could have filed for unemployment during those 2 months post-op, which would have been EXTREMELY helpful at the time.

I'm not sure how anyone manages to save up their PTO, at least to the extent that it would cover them afterward, as I used almost all of mine just going to the required doctors appointments. I also had to dish out more than 2 grand before the due date so a big chunk of what I had been making before hand was GONE, and then I wasn't working for 2 months minimum-though I ultimately decided to just remain completely broke and not go back to work yet..

Carolyn - posted on 02/28/2011

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i am 9 months into a year off at 55 %, with 6 months topped up to 93 % of my wage by my employer and benefits and pension contributions ( always paying my share of course) the last 6 months are strictly EI @ 55 % , still have to pay my share of benefits, i could also continue getting contributions from the employer into my pention had I continued to pay into it but opted out of the payments for the last 6 months, losing that 45 % ( it might be more based on my wage and the EI cap) is a pretty hefty hit but its manageable, since i would also get shift premiums etc while working which arent counted towards my base salary. I am a unionized employee which is why the health benifits, pensions and top up are in place. I also accrue all wage increases and vacation time i would if i were working. I get to go back so 8 weeks vacation time LOL and a 4 % raise :)

All though im not looking forward to going back after 15 months off ( 12 baby leave and 3 sick leave ( last trimester)) the money will be nice again.

I really couldnt imagine not getting paid time off, or having to leave my newborn with a stranger. that is insane and i feel for any mom who has to either struggle to make ends meet with out pay or leave their baby. rough...

Katherine - posted on 02/28/2011

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@ September, that's awesome that you had that much time saved up. @ Lindsay where do you live, cause I'm moving THERE.

Jenn - posted on 02/28/2011

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Cool! Yeah, we have the Ontario Child Benefit - maybe that's a similar thing? It just comes with your CCTB though and is based on income.

Becky - posted on 02/28/2011

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Jenn, I think maybe it's just an Alberta thing. A stay-at-home parent whose family income falls under a certain level can apply for a subsidy to help pay for preschool or other social or recreational programs for their kids. Even stuff like Gymboree is covered! I don't know if any other provinces have something similar, but here it's under the same program as our daycare subsidy. I'd never heard of it either, but a friend told me about it. Since my husband runs a small business and is a contractor, our taxable income makes us eligible. I haven't taken advantage of it yet though, but probably will.

Iridescent - posted on 02/28/2011

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I agree. This is pretty bad and I didn't realize it was so rare for no income to be allotted for new parents like it is here. Nope, I didn't get a dime.

Jenn - posted on 02/28/2011

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I didn't, but that's because I didn't have a job to leave. I had stopped working 3 months before my son was born, when we moved back to Canada from Florida. Then I wasn't working when I got pregnant with the twins and haven't worked since.

@Becky Franklin - what is the "stay at home parent benefit"? I've never heard of such a thing before.

Jodi - posted on 02/28/2011

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@ Nikki, I am pretty sure the father can't take it if the mother isn't working. Only the primary carer can take the parental leave....and it can only be transferred to the secondary claimant (i.e. your husband) IF you are eligible for it in the first place and IF you are not capable of remaining the primary carer. Because you are the birth mother, you are the primary claimant, and you wouldn't be eligible, so therefore, he won't be eligible.



"To be eligible for parental leave pay as a primary claimant, the partner either of the birth mother or initial primary carer adoptive parent must also be expected to have the care of the child for at least 26 weeks, and either:



•the birth mother or initial adoptive parent must be incapable of caring for the child and be expected to remain so for at least 26 weeks, or

•the Secretary is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:

the person became the primary carer in special circumstances,

it would be unreasonable (1.1.U.10) for the birth mother or other adoptive parent to care for the child, and

it is in the interests of the child (1.1.I.50) for the person to care for the child."



http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/pp...



So that's why people elect to take the Baby Bonus.

Iris - posted on 02/28/2011

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When I had my first baby in Iceland in 1999, I could choose between 6 months on 100%l pay or 1 year on 50% pay.

Now it has been changed to 9 months on 100% pay, and if desired fathers can also use 50% of that time.

Lindsay - posted on 02/28/2011

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I'm in the US and received 100% pay for my time off work from my employer. Since I had a vaginal delivery, they paid the first 6 weeks. Had I taken off longer than that, I could have used my built up vacation or sick pay. I couldn't complain.

[deleted account]

Nikki because you aren't working if you were to have another child wouldn't you receive the Baby Bonus?
Thats how i thought it worked.
But yeah if i had been working before having had my child and had access to this new scheme i sure as ehll would have chosen the maternity leave but i didn't.

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