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BLOG: Pregnant Zombie Love

Owing Your Employer for your Medical Leave

Genevieve Tyrrell

Here’s how maternity leave and disability medical leave in the state of Florida can work—at least—based on my employer.

I’ve done both. I had to take a disability leave prior to child birth and then I’ll need maternity leave. Regardless of whether you need disability leave prior to childbirth, if you take maternity leave in the state of Florida, you may end up owing your employing just to keep your healthcare coverage by hundreds of dollars.

And that’s if—IF—you are so lucky to have an employer that grants you health benefits— (because let's face it, a lot of people don't get health benefits and a lot of teachers are never considered "full time" employees to receive benefits).

Here’s how it’s “working” for me:

Normally, I’d have $104.78 deducted from my bi-weekly paycheck for my health benefits by my employer. This is about $210 per month. My health insurance covers me for short-term disability and also 4 to 6 weeks of maternity leave.

If you actually get your disability leave approved, you’re only getting about half your usual paycheck and then you owe $210 per month BACK to your employer to keep your health insurance. So your health insurance is basically paying you to pay your employer to keep you on coverage.

If you don’t get approved (let’s say there’s a glitch somewhere, the doctor didn’t fax in the right notes, someone dropped the ball, etc.) you still owe your own company back your health insurance coverage payments.

Then, for maternity leave? The government requires you be able to keep your job for up to 12 weeks after the birth of your baby. You have at least unpaid leave granted to you. Thank God for that.

IF your employer uses a disability plan for maternity leave through your insurance, it’s like an extension of disability leave (it’s not actually a separate maternity leave the employer is paying you, though it seems like they like to make you believe that). It’s just part of the health insurance coverage you’ve already been paying for (and are rightfully owed).  You get 4 weeks of this half usual pay after vaginal delivery and 6 weeks of half usual pay after c-section delivery. That leaves you with no pay for 6 to 8 weeks during your 12 week maternity leave, and you still owe bi-weekly $104.78 or $210 monthly.


What I’m trying to say here is:

1) Shouldn’t an employer AT LEAST cover you for your health insurance payment during disability leave/ maternity leave?

2) Is it not insane to receive a disability payment from your health insurance company, and then have to pay a third or half of it right back into the pocket of your employer just to keep your health insurance coverage?

3) When all disability/ medical/ maternity leave is said and done, I’ll owe my own employer AT LEAST one thousand dollars just to keep my health care coverage. It will probably be more if I take the full 12 weeks of maternity leave.

4) This is the America we live in. Other first world countries do not have this absurd bass ackwards system.