You’ve been told that you have to choose between being a mom and having a career. They say you won’t be able to do both well. You’ve rejected these outdated cultural expectations and flourished in your education and career. Now, you are pregnant or considering children. There are some benefits available for you that you need to be aware of!
What is Short-term Disability for Pregnancy?
The phrase “short-term disability” or STD refers to a situation causing a person to be out of work for a short time. This is after they have used up all their sick leave. Short-term disability insurance covers part of your income while you are out of work because of injury, accident, illness- and pregnancy. Short-term disability is not always used with maternity leave but can be a great benefit!
Maternity Leave vs Short-term Disability for Pregnancy
Maternity leave, or family/parental leave, is the time a parent is given off work for a child’s birth or adoption. This is unpaid leave, but the parent’s job is protected. Short-term disability takes this a step further and covers all or part of your salary while you are out of work due to pregnancy and childbirth. Many women combine unpaid maternity leave and short-term disability with their vacation and personal days to get the most time off they can during this exciting but stressful time.
What does Short-term Disability Cover?
Many short-term disability plans cover part of your regular salary during the end of your pregnancy and following childbirth. For example, a plan might cover 2/3 of your salary over 6-8 weeks.
If your state provides short-term disability benefits, you can expect them to cover half to two-thirds of your regular salary. The duration of the coverage is usually 4-6 weeks but can be longer. For example, California’s program provides 8-10 weeks of benefits.
How Can I Get Short-term Disability for Pregnancy?
You can receive short-term disability from your employer or union. Sometimes the employer will offer short-term disability benefits that are available for anyone who is eligible. Some employers do not have their own insurance plan and will offer an optional one provided by a third-party insurance company. You should talk to your HR department to learn the details of making benefit payments. Sometimes the employer will share in making these payments. You also might have to sign up for these benefits before you become pregnant. When it comes to working with your employer and signing up for short-term disability benefits, planning and communication are required.
If you choose not to go through your employer, you can always sign up for your own short-term disability policy. Just as you would take out a policy for life or car insurance, there are plans available for short-term disability. If you choose to go this commercial route, it is important to plan ahead and sign up before you become pregnant.
You might even be entitled to short-term disability automatically if you live in a state that provides it. The following states provide paid family leave for pregnancy and childbirth: California, D.C., Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Washington’s short-term disability program is currently suspended due to a lack of funding.
If you live in one of these states, you can contact its labor department to apply for benefits. Here is an example from Hawaii’s labor department page:
Short-Term Disability and the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)
The Family and Medical Leave Act will protect your job while you are away from work due to family-related issues. This is available if the company you work for has more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. It gives an employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. So, you can use this during your pregnancy and postpartum period!
Since the FMLA only provides unpaid leave, you can apply for short-term disability benefits through your employer, state, or private company. Short-term disability will provide monetary assistance in addition to the unpaid time off you would receive from the FMLA.
Remember that the FMLA only requires unpaid leave, whereas maternity leave can be mix of paid and unpaid leave.
Short-term Disability vs. Long-term Disability
It’s important not to get these two confused. Short-term disability involves an illness or injury (or pregnancy) that will only last between a few weeks and a few months. Long-term disability comes in when you need more time off for a chronic illness or more serious injury. If you find that the birth of your child involves serious and long-term medical issues, you might want to look into long-term disability benefits.
Understanding Employer Policy
Make sure you talk to your employer’s human resources department about applying for benefits ahead of time. Find out how your pay will be affected and what kind of notice you will need to give your boss.
As you pursue your career in digital marketing, you can be rest assured that there are benefits available to help you balance work with your future family. Now that you know you can have it all, keep studying hard to land a rewarding career.