Thursday, March 26, 2009

Maternity leave figured out (finally)

We met this couple a while ago who was adopting a child from India. We ended up having dinner with them because at the time we were considering adopting a child from India. But after talking to them, we decided it's too hard. They had to lie about being a couple because India doesn't allow same-sex parents to adopt - technically only one woman was adopting the child while the other was hoping for a second parent adoption once they got back to the US. Also, they were stuck in paperwork. The baby they were assigned to at 3 months old was now 20 months old and still in an orphanage in India. This just seemed to devastating to us.

But we did get something from that dinner. We asked how long they were planning to stay home with the baby. They said they each planned to take 3 months off, consecutively so that the baby had someone home with her for 6 months total before having to be placed in day care. We thought that idea was awesome and said 'we are totally doing that!' The child stays out of day care for longer and both moms get to bond with the newborn. So we've always been planning to do this.

Then the economy went to shit. K's job started doing layoffs. She's survived the layoffs and they say no more layoffs, so it looks like she's okay for now. Then they put a freeze on hiring contractors, which means if she leaves her work for 3 months, they cannot hire a contractor to fill in for her. Then the director of her department left and they have a hiring freeze, so he will not be replaced. This means her small department went from 3 people to 2 people, and each of them are now working much harder without a director. So if she takes three months off, her department shrinks to 1 person, and that person cannot hire a contractor to help. We started thinking we were fucked.

We've been planning for me to take my full three months off allowed by law. I'm birthing a baby here so there's no question of what's allowed for me. Also my work is just different - there are 70 people with the same job as me that can fill in for me while I'm gone. Basically, I told my bosses 6 months in advance that I will be unavailable for three months over the summer and they started shifting my work to other people. No problem at all. It makes me feel kind of unimportant but at least it's easy.

Then K started doing her research. She went to HR and asked 'what's available for me?' very innocently, but ready to fight if needed. And she started at the top - a meeting with the HR director and not one of the underlings. Thankfully, the HR director was very supportive, and K didn't have to fight at all. She said that K offered her a challenge as she had never worked with leave for a same-sex partner adopting her partner's biological child. She said that K was eligible for FMLA - the full three months of unpaid leave. And also K was eligible for the paid adoption leave offered by the company - one month of her FMLA paid. Awesome.

Now that she new her rights and decided she was going to go for the full time allotted to her, she needed to break it to her boss. K wrote an 'adoption leave plan' that spelled out how much time she was taking off and approximately when and submitted it to her boss on Tuesday. Today she had a talk with her boss about the plan and all went well! The boss is supportive. We were doubtful because the boss is a superhard worker - works weekends and evenings and while she is on vacation. But she surprised us and was super-supportive. She even said that she felt that it was important for K to have that time at home to bond with the baby.

So we're excited. We get what we wanted. Life is good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad that everything works out.