Common FMLA questions concerning Pregnancy and Child Care
Question-When I am out on maternity leave for myself can I/do I get paid?
Answer-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.
Question-I want to take off the entire school year, am I able to do that and what happens to my health benefits?
Answer- 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. (See Page 37 - 38 of online contract book or 46-47 of print copy of 2019-2024 contract).
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.
Question-I realized after giving birth I do not want to return to work, what should I do?
Answer-Touch base with your principal immediately and let them know what you are thinking of doing. Make sure you are aware of your sick days so that they can be completely used before your termination.
Question-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).
Question-Everyone tells me if I do not come back to work after 12 weeks I will lose my health insurance benefits, is this true?
Answer- No one ever just loses their health benefits immediately. It is against the law to just revoke something you have paid into. First a letter would arrive to your home letting you know the situation that is occurring and then the option for Cobra would happen. Cobra is basically a mandate that an insurance program give some employees the ability to continue health insurance coverage after leaving …
Question- 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.
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
Common Q&A with FMLA
1. Do I still get paid when I am no longer working?
Answer-Yes you will get paid when you are out on leave as long as you have enough sick days to cover your absence. If there comes a time that you run out of sick days, you either need to return to work or just take unpaid leave.
2. Will being absent for several weeks hurt my evaluations?
Answer-No! If you have gone through the proper channels of filling out the FMLA paperwork and have requested a leave, there is no way you being out can hurt your evaluation.
3. When I am ready, how do I return back to work?
Answer-Depending on the situation, if you were out because of an injury, sickness, surgery, pregnancy, etc. for yourself, then upon your return to work must make an appointment with the NBOE health office to see their doctor in order to get reinstated to go back to work.