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Pregnancy and FMLA

If you have any questions about FMLA not covered below, reach out to fmlantu@gmail.com.

Common FMLA questions concerning Pregnancy and Child Care

First off, congratulations on the upcoming birth of your child!  This is a special time for you and your family and planning for taking some time away from work is crucial.  As soon as you are able, filling out the FMLA paperwork online is a good idea.  The more time you allow for NPS to process the paperwork the better your chances that your claim will be processed in a timely fashion.

When I am out on a maternity leave for myself can I/do I get paid?

Yes!  As long as you have your sick days, you will be paid for the time you are out.  FMLA states that you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave but if you have the sick days to cover yourself you would get paid like you normally would.  If you want to go beyond that time, you will need to get an additional doctor’s note explaining why you still need to be out or take more time unpaid because our contract allows us to be out for a year for childbirth.  Remember, once you are on an unpaid leave, you would no longer be entitled to health benefits from the NPS until you return!

I want to take off the entire school year, am I able to do that and what happens to my health benefits?

In our contract it states that for pregnancy, the Newark Public Schools shall grant a leave for maternity for a period of no more than one year (page 50 of the 2010-2015 contract book).

Now this doesn’t mean you automatically get to stay home for a year.  This simply means your job can be held for this long.  To get paid for this time you would need a doctor's note explaining why you need to be off for this time.  If you just want to take the year and exhaust your days, you can do this but the insurance issue might arise.  If it does, then you would either have to apply for COBRA, get an insurance plan under your spouse or return to work earlier than planned.

I realized after giving birth I do not want to return to work, what should I do?

Touch base with your principal immediately and let them know what you are thinking of doing.  If you are a tenured employee, you must give 60 days notice (30 days for non-tenured).

My partner/spouse has had the baby but I am the employee of NPS?  Am I allowed to be off?

Yes!  Just like a female employee the spouse/partner would apply for FMLA, and use the 12 weeks of FMLA (paid if you have the days and unpaid if you do not).

Everyone tells me if I do not come back to work after 12 weeks I will lose my health insurance benefits, is this true?  

No one ever just loses their health benefits immediately.  It is against the law to just revoke something you have paid into. Your benefits would continue as long as you are using sick days.  When you go on an unpaid leave,  a letter would arrive to your home giving you 30 days notice, and explaining your options for COBRA.  COBRA is basically a mandate that an insurance program give some employees the ability to continue health insurance coverage after leaving.  To use COBRA, you would have to pay the entire cost of your benefits, plus an administration charge.

 

I am having a baby in the summertime when we are not working.  When will my 12 weeks of FMLA time start, the moment I have my child or when school starts in September?

FMLA is only used during time you would actually be working.  This also includes weeklong breaks.  If you use FMLA during Winter or Spring Recess, that week off would not count towards your twelve weeks.

I don’t have any days left but still want to be out to care for my newborn and would like some money to help until I go back to work is there anything I can use?

Answer-This is a tricky situation but there is help available.  You are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period for the birth and care of a newborn child or for adoption or foster care.  

There is also something called Family Leave Insurance that as NJ taxpayers we have all paid into.  It will provide you with some money while you are home. After reading the description below, if you are interested please check out this link for applying and more info. http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/tdi/WPR-119.pdf

You can claim Family Leave Insurance benefits to:

·       Bond with a newborn child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth. You, your spouse, your domestic partner or your civil union partner must be the biological parent of the child.

·       Bond with an adopted child during the first 12 months after the child’s placement.

A bonding leave claim must be for a period of more than seven consecutive days, unless the employer permits the leave to be taken in non-consecutive periods. In this case, each non-consecutive leave period must be at least seven days.

If you are taking intermittent leave for bonding, you and your employer must agree to the intermittent schedule.

Remember: each intermittent period must be for seven (7) days or more.

You must give your employer 30 days’ notice before the leave starts. If you do not give your employer the proper notice, your benefit entitlement may be reduced by 14 days.

Bonding documentation must be provided at the time of filing. Examples of acceptable certification are:

·       Child’s Birth Certificate

·       Child’s Hospital Discharge Record (Birth Mother Only)

·       Declaration of Paternity

·       Certificate of Placement

·       Independent Adoption Placement Agreement