Help! My employer won't let me take up to 12 weeks of leave.

Chelsea - posted on 10/04/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )




I'm due in two days, my employer just told me they will only entitle me 6 weeks postpartum recovery as prescribed by my doctor. I've told them since I was 12 weeks pregnant that I wanted 12 weeks leave (maximum FMLA) and they know ive been planning for that. Then just before I'm due, they drop this bomb on me! I'm so distressed, I don't know what to do. Im a full time single working mom, no help from the babys father, and my family cannot help me care for the baby..I work 9 hour days which means the baby will be in daycare up to 12 hours a day when he's only 1 1/2 months old!! I am so uncomfortable with the idea of having him spending so much time away from me before he is 3 months...I'm afraid my employer will not grant me any leniency given my situation, no flex time, no telecommuting, no parttime schedule. If I quit my job, I risk the baby and i going temporarily uninsured until I find a replacement. I'm in such a stuck position and I feel they are taking advantage of that to save costs and get me back to work ASAP.


[deleted account]

If your company qualifies for FMLA and you qualify for it, they don't have a choice--they don't have to pay you, but they have to give you the time off.

If you do choose to quit your job, you do not have to give up your insurance. You can keep your current group insurance for up to a year (it might be 18 months, I'm not sure) through COBRA, but if your employer paid part of your premiums, your premiums will go up a bit because you will now be responsible for the entire premium.

Your "situation" (by this, I am assuming you mean your lack of family and friends to help you out) is not your employer's business or concern. Never share personal information with an employer; it can very negatively impact your opportunity for advancement. Instead, make yourself irreplaceable so that they must work around YOU rather than forcing you to work around them.

Ashley - posted on 11/17/2012




My employer did something similar. Unfortunately you are not guaranteed 12 weeks unless you've been their a year and have at least so many hours service. I was at my job 10 months and was out on leave, told that 2 months off was no problem then I get a call after being off 4 weeks that I have to come back after exactly 6 weeks leave or I lose my position! It broke my heart. The worst thing is that I had family get togetherness, doctors apts, etc that now I have to cancel because of this. I felt so betrayed. I would stay home 6 months if I could even if Im not paid. It's ridiculous that in America a woman has to be forced to go back to work before proper bonding takes place. Furthermore what I don't understand is that if FMLA eligible employees get 12 weeks, why is 2 more weeks such a burden if immediate supervisor says its ok but HR has to be a stick in the mud about the company "policy". I am going to go with it, but when I hit 12 months I will request additional bonding time outside my "medical" leave of absence. Paid or not, I want more time off with my son without the stress of losing a job. America's priorities remind me of someone building a house. They've spent so much money on the front porch and an expensive mailbox that they get down to the end and oops, we forgot to put in a single toilet. Oh well! Not important!

Gabrielle - posted on 10/07/2012




If your company qualifies for FMLA, and you qualify for FMLA, then they don't have much choice. Here's the link to the Dept of Labor's FMLA page. I'd print that out and bring it your HR department. I would also ask them about state laws that can benefit you. I only know about California, but you should be entitled to short term disability for those 6 weeks or whatever your state prescribes as the automatic disabled period post-delivery. Your employer won't have to be flexible in terms of PT or telecommute, but they have to abide by state and federal law. Do some research yourself on the internet to make sure they aren't hiding anything from you. Check with a friend to see if her HR person will help, if yours won't. I was able to take 4 months off, using federal law, CA law, disability, and my sick and vacation leave.


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Cheryl - posted on 10/16/2012




they have to grant it to you, its the law! They may only pay for 6 weeks, which means you would have 6 weeks unpaid. They have to give you off whatever your doctor prescribes. Contact a lawyer ASAP!

User - posted on 10/15/2012




if you have requested that since you found out you were pregnant they should be granting that they had more than time to prepare for this. Im sry it really is a terribel situation, it seems like alot of employers just dont care, its just awful. I know you will have the 6 wks, but maybe somehow someway you can get a note from your doctor saying you need more time off. like as you need more time to heal physically and mentally from this. If you have a drs note they shouldnt be able to fire you because you took fmla 12 wks and had paperwork to back it. If you arnt able to do that I would do what Amy said, contact an attorney, because this really is pitiful people need to treat you well expecially given you are taking car of a child alone!

Patricia - posted on 10/15/2012




FMLA leave allows up to 12 weeks of job protected leave for the birth of the child and to BOND with a newborn. Your employer is correct in stating that they only need to provide the 6 weeks postpartum for the birth of the child as prescribed by your doctor. However, they still need to allow up to another 6 weeks for baby bonding under the FMLA. As others have indicated, FMLA is not paid leave. However, some states such as California pay up to 6 weeks for baby bonding through the State's Paid Family Leave Program. You may want to go on your state's website to see if there are similar options. See Federal Department of Labor Fact Sheets for reference and

Teresa Ann - posted on 10/15/2012





I so feel for you I was a single mom working out of the home and had none of the things you mentioned..... No paid time off and no flexibility from my employer.

I was looking 4 years ago for a solution both for the work thing and the health care coverage issue. I finally found it..... I may be able to help..... I work a group of Moms who have a passion for helping others. We also understand your need to be home with your family. (because we are stay at home Moms many of us single)

Have a blessed day!


Danielle - posted on 10/09/2012




I went back to work at 8wks after birth of daughter (she was an emergency c-section) & 6wks after birth of son. Kiddo will be fine. How do you figure 12hrs daycare w/9hr work day? If need be, find daycare closer to work. Baby can commute w/you, easier to run kiddo to doctor for well baby checks during "lunch", you might be able to visit (& nurse) over lunch break, & will save you $ if hourly daycare charge.

Congrats & good luck!

Bekah - posted on 10/08/2012




If your employer qualifies you for FMLA laws than they do not have a choice but it does not have to be paid. My little one went to daycare at 8 weeks and it was hard at first but it gets easier. I work 24 hour shifts so the overnight parts were really hard but even they have gotten better. She is 13 weeks now and things are going pretty well. Good luck.

[deleted account]

Gabrielle ^ up there knows what she is talking about. If you have a Union, contact a Union rep. THe only time I worked somewhere that qualified for FMLA was at a very large corporation, but I had not completed a year of service, full-time yet, so I PERSONALLY didn't qualify. Make sure you qualify before raising any kind of issue with your employer, if not, they will find any reason to not save your spot for you when you return, and that is not illegal, if you ar not on FMLA, believe it or not.

Jurnee - posted on 10/07/2012




What a shitty thing for them to do right before youre baby is due. Are you covered under fmla, I wasnt at my job, because we only have 6 emplyees, but my boss still gives everyone the 12 weeks unpaid. Check to make sure you are covered and if you are definitley report this. If they fire you while you are on FMLA you could have a lawsuit. Good luck and congrats on your baby.

Serena - posted on 10/06/2012




If you are using FMLA they HAVE to let you take up to 12 weeks and hold your job. You could look it up but I'm almost positive. It sucks that they are being so difficult about it. Fight it!!

Casey - posted on 10/05/2012




That's awful. I would look up the regulations with fmla and ensure your employer qualifies and then tell your employer the law states you can take up to 12 weeks. If they don't approve it, then you should contact The U.S. Department of Labor to report it. When I first found out I was pregnant with my daughter I had just been accepted in to a certification program at a nearby school and when they found out I was pregnant they tried to tell me I could no longer be a student their. I told them it was discrimination and it was illegal. They quickly changed their tune and said they simply don't "recommend" it. Well, I completed the program, and aced every one of my classes despite the fact that I truly believe they went out of theirnway to make it difficult for me because they didn't want a pregnant student. Sometimes pointing out that your aware that what they are doing is illegal and showing them you will fight for what is right can make a difference. I hope it works out for you!

Amy - posted on 10/04/2012




I would contact an attorney to find out what you legal options are. If you are in the states most states offer insurance for children at discounted rates until you find another job. If you can't afford an attorney reach out to your states labor board, your employer may not want to offer you the 12 weeks but they may not have a choice. Educate yourself and know your rights and be prepared for legal recourse if necessary!

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