Sheila McGarrigle
/ Categories: Bonding Leave, Claims

PFL Insider Tips for Expecting Moms This Mother’s Day

May 11, 2018

PFL Woman baby

If it is your first Mother's Day or your fifth, having a new baby can be exciting - full of emotions, and can sometimes feel overwhelming. Thinking about managing time off from work may seem like the last thing on your list - but it can be helpful to plan ahead. Here are some insider tips to help make it easier for as you prepare to use PFL and enjoy the time off to bond with your new baby - just in time for Mother's Day!

 

First Trimester

You’re expecting - congratulations! This can be a time full of learning and planning. As you start down your journey, here are some tips related to PFL and planning around your job:

  • Get to know your rights as a new working mom.  You’ll want to make sure you work for a Covered Employer in New York, and meet eligibility requirements to make sure you have Paid Family Leave available to you.  Get started here.
  • Take some time to familiarize yourself with PFL for Bonding Leave.
  • Start considering how much PFL you may want to take after the baby comes.  Even though PFL is paid, the benefit is still only a portion of your salary.  So now’s a good time to start looking at budgets and see how much you might need or want to save up for.
  • Plus, unlike NY State Statutory Disability (DBL), PFL isn’t just for birth Moms!  Make sure your partner also knows about the bonding time that may be available to them.

 

Second Trimester

Between doctor appointments, trying to decide on baby names, starting a registry, and researching your child care options, you also may want to:

  • Start thinking about how to plan for covering your duties at work.  Maybe you need to write manuals, or prepare other training materials for whoever will be covering for you while you’re out on leave.  If you haven’t done so already, now might be a good time to tell your employer about your pregnancy.
  • Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the PFL forms, and everything else you’ll need to submit along with the forms when you start your bonding leave. 
  • Take some time for yourself to relax as you prepare for baby… mani-pedi anyone?

 

Third Trimester

You’re in the homestretch, and your beautiful baby is almost here! It may feel like there are so many things to still take care of — here are some recommendations on what to focus on related to PFL:

  • Confirm that your employer knows when you’ll be taking leave and for how long.  This should be in writing at least 30 days before you plan on starting your bonding leave.
  • This is also a good time to check in with your employer to see how PFL interacts with any other benefits you may have (like DBL, other Short-Term Disability and your vacation/sick time.)
  • Start thinking about your options for how you’ll want to use your benefits.  Do you want to take DBL first and then take PFL?  Or maybe skip DBL and go right out on PFL directly.  Will you want to take weekly leave or intermittent days? Now’s the time to start thinking about your anticipated schedule.
  • Prepare as many of your PFL forms as you can — but, don’t submit them to your PFL insurance carrier before your bonding leave actually starts!  Bonding leave cannot begin until after your baby is already born, and we all know babies are rarely born right on their due dates.  This, among other things, makes it counterproductive to send your forms in too early.

 

Giving Birth

Welcome to the world, Baby! We know the flurry of life with a new baby is busy, so here are some tips on managing the PFL process:

  • Once you’re ready to start your PFL for bonding leave, you’ll need to submit the following to your PFL insurance carrier within 30 days after your bonding leave begins:
    • PFL-1Part A is completed by you, and Part B is completed by your employer (they must complete their section and return it to you within 3 business days)
    • PFL-2 (Bonding certification) completed by you
    • Supporting documentation proving the relationship between you and child, such as the birth certificate. Form PFL-2 has a checklist to help you identify what exact documentation is needed for your specific bonding situation
  • It’s your responsibility to submit all the necessary forms and documentation to your PFL insurance carrier.  Once you have all the different pieces complete, submit them all together at once to help make your claims process as smooth as possible.
  • Your carrier has 18 days after receipt of your fully completed PFL claim to make a PFL eligibility determination.

 

Taking Leave

Now that your baby is here, you’ll have plenty to focus on other than work — make sure to use that time in ways that are best for you and your family.

  • Get as much sleep as you can (easier said than done - we know!).
  • Find mom groups, dad groups, park groups — whatever you need to keep your connections and support network strong.
  • Try not to think about work — if you can!
  • Remember, PFL is flexible so you can take some time now and save some for later.  Or even intermittently where you take every Monday, and your partner takes every Friday, leaving just 3 days to find childcare.
  • If you’re a ShelterPoint member you can check the status of your PFL claim online at: www.shelterpoint.com/claimportal

 

Coming Back from Leave

Time flies and before you know it, it’s almost time to return to work. When baby entered your life there was a huge shift, and when you return to work, the details of your day-to-day will shift again.  Planning out the details of your return in advance as much possible may help ease that shift a little.  Here are some reminders:

  • Take a few minutes to check in with your employer and confirm your return date.
  • If you plan on breastfeeding, make sure your employer is aware and has made the required arrangements for you to be able to pump while at work.
  • Solidify your childcare details, and maybe even try a practice run or two with them before you actually return to work to help put your mind at ease.
  • If you decided not to use all of your PFL at once, think about how you might use any remaining PFL time you might have in the future.  You have 1 year from the date of birth to use your PFL for bonding time.

 

Congratulations Mom! As you start this new chapter in your life as a working parent there will be certain challenges that you’ve never experienced and if things aren’t picture perfect that’s a-ok.  Even if you’re a planning guru, things don’t always go as planned, and you’ll learn how to go with the flow and figure things out as they happen.  Just remember what’s most important to you, try your best, ask for help when you need it, and you’ll totally rock this working parent thing and become a pro in adaptability!

 

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any PFL information is as of the blog post’s date stamp; it is based on the applicable statutes and regulation,  and may change as regulations evolve or NY State issues guidance regarding Paid Family Leave regulations. Have more questions? Email us at pflquestions@shelterpoint.com

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