Here’s the second round-up of #WMW15 Posts:
I have countless birth announcement emails from friends. They’re all cuddling their freshly born babies, sleek hair framing a tired but smiling face (is that MAKEUP??), painted nails, even classy jewelry.
Me? If I wasn’t already flattened I’d have collapsed into a pile of jelly legged oh my GOD is that over, really? face haloed by a wild nest of hair that could substitute for Medusa’s wig. Hands clasping the new LB that had been too swollen to wear my rings for months. Elegant, not so much. But realistic.
In my opinion as soon you decide to have children, (no matter how far into the future that day may seem), you should start setting money aside for the big day. Think of having a child like any other big financial goal in life. You know you need to save to buy a house, a new car or to travel on an exotic vacation, so why not save to expand your family?
The sooner you decide to save the larger that sum will swell. If you don’t earn a lot of money set aside a little bit each paycheck. You’d be surprised how quickly those numbers can add up over time. Set a big goal for yourself. Imagine you don’t know where you’ll work a few years from this point in time and whether or not maternity pay will be offered. You are married and want a family but you aren’t certain when. Start a savings account dedicated to financing your maternity leave.
It might be Women’s Money Week, but paternity leave affects women too. FMLA covers family leave for men AND women, but few men take full advantage of it, even when they qualify. There’s a lot to be said about the sexism exposed by punishing employees who take all the leave they are qualified to take when they have a child (or are caring for a sick spouse, or other things that FMLA covers), but that’s not something I’m taking on today.
Today I’m going to talk about what happens if you aren’t covered by FMLA.
Planning for maternity leave sucks. When I found out I was expecting my first child I sat down with a calendar and mapped out the days and weeks until I would need to return to work.
My son was due in late October and I ran all sorts of calculations to determine the maximum amount of time I could spend at home. Since my vacation hours reset in the new year I wondered if I could take STD, a week or two of vacation, then maternity leave and take another two or three weeks of vacation after that.
It comes as a pretty rude surprise to a lot of people that even if they qualify for FMLA, it’s not what they think it is.
FMLA itself is unpaid. Meaning, no paychecks. Meaning, no retirement contributions and no PTO accruing. Meaning also, your employer is not required to pay your non-salary benefits. If they provide health insurance, for example, they are required to keep up the policy but they are not required to pay for it. So, you might get a bill for your portion of the premiums during the twelve weeks that you are also not earning any money. Yes, this is legal. (Most employers simply deduct the amount owed from your paychecks after you return to work – but if you don’t return, you might have to write them a check!).
So your beautiful bundle of joy has arrived and you’re brimming over with happiness.
Ten perfect fingers. Ten perfect toes. You spend hours staring at your baby, memorizing their every tiny expression and gesture. You wait by their side, anticipating their every need and want just so you can be close to them.
Okay, maybe that’s not actually what happens. In real life, this probably never happens. If your experience is anything like mine was, you walk around in a sleep-deprived haze desperate for a twenty-minute shower without interruption from your pint-sized problem-creator. You love your child but there are probably times when everything seems a little overwhelming – both emotionally and financially.
If you are part of a couple with plans to start a family, chances are that you’ve begun to ask a series of potentially life-changing questions. Are you emotionally ready for a baby? How about financially? What kinds of plans, financial or otherwise, are required before the baby is born? And perhaps the most pressing, who will take time off to raise the baby?
Traditionally the mothers stay home to be with their newborns, while the fathers work, even work overtime, to support the family. Canadian labor law does allow parents to share or split parental leave, which does give new fathers the option to take time off from their own jobs.
Many women wait until they are in their second trimester before telling their employer they are expecting. But you can start saving for your maternity leave long before that.
Once you know you are pregnant, start saving. Begin setting aside some money from your paycheck. Sell some things you no longer need to raise some extra cash. Cut back on any unnecessary expenses. Save every penny you can.