My 7 month pregnant sister just realized that she is unable to use her paid sick leave to add on to her maternity leave. So essentially she will be only be paid for 6-8 weeks for her maternity leave. Which all in all is better than NOT having any paid maternity leave. But since they recently purchased a new home, she does not know how much unpaid time she can afford to take outside of her paid leave. According to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as long as an employee has been continuously employed by their company for 12 months they are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of leave for the care of a child (either birthed or adopted). BUT the leave is not paid. So what is a new mom to do if she wants to take all her leave but thinks she can't afford it?
Taking the additional leave unpaid may be a financial stress for parents. But with a bit of planning you may be able to save the extra cash to help finance a bit more time for mom to stay home with baby. To start, you should have 6-8 months after you find out about your bundle of joy prior to the birth to save. Take a look at your budget early on to determine if there are ways you can trim some spending to save. Every little bit helps. For instance, just $5 of saving per work week day is $25 per week, $100 per month and between $600-$800 for the length of your pregnancy. You may also want to consider asking friends and relatives to donate to a "maternity leave" fund rather than buying gifts. While a diaper wipe warmer or bouncy chair may seem necessary when registering, consider how much you REALLY need these items and how much you may REALLY want to be home with your little one. Sites like MyRegistry let you set up cash gift funds through PayPal for your registry so you can have the money directly deposited into your bank account.