Stephanie Haber

PFL in Person: A Mom-to-be Anticipates a New Take on Maternity Leave

April 04, 2017

PFL Mom Becky

PFL in Person: A Mom-to-be Anticipates a New Take on Maternity Leave

Paid Family Leave will impact families of all shapes and sizes, bringing relief to mothers, fathers, and caregivers struggling to balance the challenges of working and being there when family needs you. 

We’re looking at the impact of PFL as part of our “PFL in Person” series on the personal side of PFL, starting with the benefit perspective of a mom expecting this month (You read that right! Even moms expecting THIS YEAR can take time off as soon as January 1st of 2018).  So, for one of our own, PFL stands to make a big difference.

And maybe your parenting journey looks a little like this:

  • You worked hard in college and worked your way into a great position. While at this career you love, you came across something else you love - your future husband.
  • Fast forward a few years, baby number one joins the mix - and everything changed: being a new mom isn’t easy, and finding some peace to actually bond and soak up those precious and beautiful moments with your little one, even harder. Before you know it, your vacation and sick days are used up,  and it’s time to return to work - and along with it, the challenges of balancing career and family.
  • Somehow, you manage to make it all work, like the superstar you are: first one up in the mornings to get breakfast going and pack up bags, then there’s daycare drop-off, urgent emails, conference calls, work fires, pediatrician appointments, errands, dinner, bathtime and lullabies, all so you can be the last one in bed. You want a good career and want to be a great parent - it’s overwhelming, exhausting, yet completely rewarding each and every day.
  • It’s not long before baby number 2 is on the way. And you’re overjoyed to expand your family.  And last time it was hard enough - stitching together sick and vacation days to afford a few weeks off you needed for your family - even though FMLA would have protected your job for 12 weeks. But who can stay out that long without a paycheck?  That was last time. This time, things will be different!

 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… to Take PFL

What if there was a way to help parents manage the necessary work-life balance just a bit better?

That’s where Paid Family Leave comes in, and why the State of New York is addressing the reality parents like Becky face when they’re starting the most important job of their lives and want to do right by their careers and their kids. PFL is a first step toward helping families achieve that, with less stress. With PFL, new moms in 2017 can plan to take time off as soon as 2018 starts, so they’ll be able to spend necessary bonding time with their newborns.  
 

PFL helps you focus on what really matters.


Becky’s “maternity leave” as a 2017 mom will look a bit different than her first one or than for moms giving birth next year. Her paid family leave doesn’t kick in seamlessly after giving birth and transitioning from DBL - but rather a few months later.

Becky can receive 50% of her average weekly wage (capped at the State’s average weekly wage) for up to 8 weeks next year (benefit amounts and weeks gradually increase until 2021 as PFL rolls out over 4 years).  So, come January, she doesn’t have to think about the sick/vacation time she’s accrued, or how much her statutory short-term disability (DBL) will pay. 

And it’s not just the financial aspect that helps ease Becky’s mind, additional PFL perks include:

  • Keeping health care coverage while on leave 
  • Job protection and discrimination protection while on leave - just like FMLA
  • Not having to use earned vacation time to cover or extend leave

 

So how much paid time off can 2017 moms qualify for in 2018?

The amount of paid time off a 2017 mom can take next year, is determined as follows:

You can take up to 8 weeks from January 1, 2018, until your baby’s 1st birthday. Here are 2 examples:

  • Becky qualified for the full 2018 maximum time since she gave birth in March 2017, which is more than 8 weeks into the year.
  • If you gave birth early this year, say January 17, for example, you would could take up to 15 days paid time off.

 

Becky’s Advice For Practical PFL Planning

As the state finalizes PFL (see the latest draft regulations) many details are forthcoming, but there are some tips Becky recommends to streamline the process of going out on paid family leave, regardless of your situation:

  • Give as much advance notice to your employer as possible.
  • When leave is foreseeable (like a pregnancy), have a conversation to inform your employer..   Paid Family Leave requires employers to receive notice of at least thirty days prior to the expected leave if the leave can be reasonably anticipated.  Employers may value efforts to keep them informed so they may plan for your expected leave.
  • Familiarize yourself with your rights under both PFL and FMLA.

     

Take responsibility – you are responsible for filing your claim and all the necessary supporting documents.

 

  • Research eligibility requirements before your leave begins. This should allow you to collect everything you’ll need ahead of time - there’s nothing worse than trying to pull together documentation to send to insurance carriers, or having to phone hospital administrators when you’re freshly home from delivery with an infant – you’ll want to be in full recovery and bonding mode, and having all of your paperwork organized can facilitate that process.
  • Make copies of everything! Once you’ve determined everything you’ll need from an administrative perspective, having duplicates on hand will not only help ease your mind, you’ll be prepared to fill any gaps that could otherwise delay your claim.
  • Reach out for help if you have questions - it can be daunting to track down all the requirements, which is why we’re here to help.  (The state also has a dedicated phone support team (844-337-6303).

 

PFL helps provide peace of mind, and we hope it will help Becky and all the other moms and families out there expecting this year or sometime in the future, have exactly that.

Have questions for Becky or the rest of the team? Send them to pflquestions@shelterpoint.com and stay tuned to the blog for our next personal PFL story.

 

 

This information is based on the current draft regulations and may change with the release of the final regulations.

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