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Dive Into America Community Forums • View topic - US vs. UK maternity leave
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US vs. UK maternity leave

Pregnancy, family planning, and parenting.

US vs. UK maternity leave

Postby Pennsylvanian » Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:56 pm

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Postby andrea922 » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:07 pm

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Postby Pennsylvanian » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:32 pm

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Postby wildcatsarah » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:08 pm

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Postby lplkemc » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:16 pm

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Postby Frances » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:22 pm

Federal law states that (eligible) employees are able to take up to 12 weeks off from their job within a 12 month period (unpaid) without risk of loosing their job (they must be allowed to return to the same or similar position).



State laws add more to that basic law, so you'll want to check with the state you are moving to.

Many people use their sick and vacation pay during those 12 weeks. Some companies have great "deals" that pay the employee during the whole time; some allow for "flexi" schedules so that you can be home for 2-4 months but still work part-time. You may want to think about those benefits when looking at jobs.

The federal law is for a long list of "family leave" reasons - caring for an ailing family member, the birth of a child, or the placement of a child for foster care or adoption. I will be taking family leave (hopefully soon?) when we adopt our children. As the working mom, I may not take a full 12 weeks (hubby is the stay-at-home/work-from-home one in our family) so I can use the rest of the time off later. To do it financially, I've been saving my vacation days (I get about 25 days a year) and I also have a bit tucked away in the sick bank if needed. We've also been preparing financially because if I need to take unpaid time there's no income - but funnily enough, the bank will still expect a mortgage payment!

In summary: check the state laws and check company benefits for organizations you may be interested in working for/with.

Good luck!
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Postby elfinmom » Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:47 pm

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Postby Margotdarko » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:14 pm

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Postby Liddy » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:57 pm

I am not a mum--but have lived in both countries and pay attention to the rules and regs so that I am prepared for when we do have a little one. Been through enough friends having babies that I feel I've seen a lot (on both sides).

As Frances wrote, there are some differences as far as policy by state, which you could check, if you have an idea as to where you'll live. A lot of health care/leave etc is being dealt with at state level.

The biggest difference in terms of benefit is that the US does not have a national policy. Benefit is generally employer based, and this varies broadly. My company gives women 6 weeks paid, up to 12 weeks unpaid (per FMLA, family medical leave act) and we can use vacation time and disabilty pay/leave, too. Most women at my company take 3-6 months off, but of course most of that is unpaid leave. Many come back part-time, work from home, etc. My UK company (same company) did not allow the part-time return, work from home, it was all or nothing. Much less flexibility.

We have very good insurance coverage: ante-natal care is covered, the birth of a child is covered ($200 one-off cost), etc. Also, the area in which we live is very good and has health visitors, etc: my sister had county nurse visits, lactation consultant visits. The next county over does not--it's a local policy that was designed to help those who live in the inner city/have less access to help (some of the 'burbs are also in this county so share the benefit).

That all said, the biggest watch-out is insurance. You'll want to ensure that you understand what is/is not covered, when it becomes effective, etc. You'll find lots of helpful information about insurance elsewhere on this forum. Be sure to read the policies specifically for mention of maternity benefit.

A friend of mine just had a baby and it cost her a $20 co-pay. However, that is not the norm. There are thousands of uninsured who face huge hospital bills--as mentioned above. And, if there are complications then that can all escalate rapidly. There are some programs for the poor/uninsured, but of course these do not cover everyone.

Speaking for me personally, we are in the fortunate situation of having good care and a low cost of living, and if we have a child I will leave my job and stay home. In the UK this was not an option for us--we needed two salaries in London. It is one reason we delayed having a child--the maternity pay would have helped but it would not have been enough.

I've seen examples of good care in both countries and I've seen the opposite. I have friends in the UK who buy all their baby gear and such in the US because they feel it's cheaper/more selection, etc, and I've friends who feel the opposite. Personally I feel like I have more choice/control in the US, but that is because I have good insurance and in the UK we lived within a struggling NHS trust. Again, many have experienced the opposite.
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Postby mdglazerman » Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:47 pm

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Postby Frances » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:43 pm

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Postby mdglazerman » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:21 am

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Postby Sarah » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:46 am

Something that has yet to be mentioned in this discussion is the availability of Registered Nurse Midwives (RNM) and Licensed / Certified Professional Midwives (LPM / CPM) as well as stand alone and site-supported Birth Centers in the USA. Home births assisted by RNMs and CPMs are becoming increasingly available in the USA as are Birth Center deliveries attended by RNMs and/or CPMs. Birth Centers are either located near hospitals or on the grounds hospitals for quick transfers in case of emergencies, which is a nice compromise for women / families who aren't comfortable with the idea of Home Birth.

For women who aren't insured or don't have adequate insurance, however, they may wish to familiarize themselves with the actual safety records of home and birth center deliveries assisted by midwives in the USA before dismissing them. The costs are significantly less expensive than hospital births. Uncomplicated hospital births often go from $10 - 20k, whereas midwife assisted births at home or at a birth center including all of your prenatal care generally comes in around $3 - 7k.

Women and families are forgetting that there are other options available for their prenatal and delivery care. "Going to the hospital" has become so ingrained in our society's mindset that insurance and babies go hand in hand. If you have low risk pregnancy that doesn't have to be the case. That doesn't have to be the case. You can still receive safe, quality care in this country at an affordable price, even if you are not insured.

I recommend watching and finding out if there's a local birth center or registered midwife local to you. You can talk to your birth centers and midwives for free to help you decide what care plan is best for you.

Find a Registered Nurse Midwife:
Find a Certified Professional Midwife:
Find a Birth Center:
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Postby JoannaV » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:05 pm

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