The first thing I have to say, after you’ve read the title of my post is how very sad that title makes me. It makes me so sad to think that some people may not be able to take their full offered maternity leave at their place of work because they simply can’t afford it. That seriously breaks my heart and that’s not the way our world should operate at all. I could go into how other countries allow their mothers to take off 52 weeks for their maternity leave or how fathers in the United States are allowed and able to take 1-2 weeks of paternity leave, but I’m going to focus on what we can do with what we currently have. We’re not going to change family leave in a blog post, by any means, but what I can share with you are the steps I’ve taken to be able to take the full 12 weeks of maternity leave.
1. Save Save and Save Some More: Since we began trying to get pregnant I’ve been saving my paid time off at work as much as possible. Of course, there’s been bad weather days and sick days and a few days here and there that I’ve taken off, but for the most part, I’ve been as frugal with those that time as possible. While we were trying to get pregnant, we had to utilize a lot of our funds on fertility treatments and I’m currently still paying off my surgery that ultimately helped me to get pregnant, but as soon as we got pregnant, we’ve been saving as much as possible. Still, for quite some time we weren’t sure if I should take the full 12 weeks off. We ran the numbers and took a peek into our savings and literally laughed. There’s NO way we could spend even a portion of our savings while I’m on maternity leave and with 4 weeks of full pay and 6 weeks of short term disability, we’re golden! That is why I say, save as much as you can! I always say that you’ll never regret saving the money, but there’s always a chance you’ll regret spending it!
2. Consider Voluntary Insurance: A lot can come up in life. Family illnesses happen and you never know what the future may hold for you or your family. Taking out a voluntary insurance policy can help to pay for thing like child care, hospital expenses, and even groceries while you’re out of work. One voluntary insurance company I would recommend is Aflac. They pay cash for what you need so you don’t have to worry about making ends meet while you need to be focused on recovering. You know how I said to save all your pennies up above? Aflac believes you shouldn’t have to dip into your savings in order to maintain your lifestyle while you’re not working for whatever reason. They’ve got a point, it really shouldn’t be that way.
Why consider voluntary insurance? Wouldn’t that just be an added expense? Sure, you’ll have to pay a monthly premium, but the benefits are there when and if you need them whenever that may be. It’s a low-risk investment in your future, well-being, and finances. Unfortunately, while you’re out of work the bills don’t just stop. They continue to come in and sometimes they pile up even more. Utilizing Aflac will change that for you. Bills will be paid on time and you won’t have to alter your lifestyle in order to ensure that. Tis the season for open enrollment. Be sure to contact your employer and review the benefits you have available to you.
3. Review Employer Benefits: Did you know? According to the 2016 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey, more than half (56%) of millennials say there are aspects they don’t understand about their overall health care policy, including elements like deductibles, copays or in-network providers. That’s scary! Take the time to discuss the benefits you have available to you at your place of work with your human resources department. There may be benefits you weren’t even aware of and there may be benefits that you aren’t currently signed-up for. It’s absolutely worth a call or the meeting to be sure that you’re getting all that you are able and deserve to receive during your time of need or during your maternity leave.
Like I mentioned before, it truly breaks my heart when I hear that some aren’t able to take their full maternity leave due to finances. It’s not easy. Some are single parents, some don’t have the support of their significant other, and sometimes there are just too many bills that need paying to justify taking 12 weeks off of work. If able, I recommend preparing as much as possible for your maternity leave. Look into the benefits available to you at your workplace, put all that you can into your savings account, save your paid time off, and consider voluntary insurance through Aflac.
What are your tips for preparing for maternity leave?
How long were you able to take for your maternity leave?
Or if you’re currently pregnant, how much time do you plan to take off for maternity leave?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Z161128O 10/16