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Taking Leave of Our Senses

The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees we can take twelve weeks off from work to have a baby or care for a sick relative, and that our job will still be there when we come back. It does not, of course, guarantee pay during such a leave. That’s a benefit, and different employers offer different versions if they offer anything at all.

Xy’s employer, the Algiers Charter School Association, offers a partial disability plan with 60% pay for six weeks. She plans to take the rest of the school year off, so she’ll have a couple or three weeks with no pay, and then the summer off as usual.

By contrast, my employer allows me to cash in my accumulated vacation days and sick days. Therefore I’m taking a three month leave, with full pay.

It’s hard to imagine going back to work right now. Staying home means I can sleep according to our newborn child’s schedule. As I remarked to a friend yesterday, I feel better rested now than I have in years. But if I was going to work, I’d be a wreck.

So I’m glad for the benefit. But somehow it doesn’t seem right that Dad gets a better deal than Mom.

Published inFamilyThe Ed Biz


  1. The woman always gets screwed on this stuff.

    Enjoy your time with the new little girl, you’ll always remember these days.

  2. Michael Homan Michael Homan

    Good for Xavier, and too bad that Algiers Charter Schools doesn’t have a more family friendly policy. Public school teachers mostly live check to check, and 60% of the meager salaries would be hard to overcome. But thank God for summer.

  3. julesb_town julesb_town

    what a treat- you and XY will always remember this time together as a new family. My husband was home for the first 2 months of our sons life, we too slept according to our sons schedule- it was so nice that neither of us were having to rush out in the morning to get to work, lots of baby snuggling time.

  4. Lee Lee

    It would be awesome if this country had benefits such as there are in europe where the mother receives around a year off, sometimes fully paid.

    I guess things such as these are what we get for living in a society based soley on money, even though you both work in the education “industry.”

    Enjoy these first few months of your childs’ life. I still cherish those fond memories myself.

  5. Andrea Andrea

    Hey, B, I forgot to mention during my visit, on the subject of daycare, to check out Crescent Cradle. My friend loved it for her daughter and I believe it is right down the road on the bayou.

    Not that you want to think about daycare now, but alas, all good things (paid time off) come to an end.

    It was so wondreful to see you and family, and I have a BEAUTIFUL picture of little P. for you.


  6. You might want to check that. AFAIK, the FMLA does not guarantee that YOUR job will be waiting for you when you get back, but simply that A job will be waiting for you when you get back.

  7. David David

    Once you go job-free,
    you never go back!

    (trust me)

  8. My new job (part-time) doesn’t even pay me for Christmas Day off. It’s also the first workplace I have ever heard the term “pansy” used. I thought we had evolved more than that, but when you look at some of the corporate policies in this country, we are sooooo far behind other civilized countries.

    I’m starting to think like David. Can I come up there?

  9. Carol G. Carol G.

    Most daycare centers have waiting lists. If you haven’t already looked into your daycare options, you might want to make that a priority while you have some time off. You definitely don’t want to be stuck with limited options for something this important. BTW-The daycare center at the Baptist Seminary does a good job of taking care of babies. Our two youngest went there and several people at work use them. Of course your baby may turn out to be Baptist, but that is a small price to pay for safety and love! 😉

  10. spab spab

    We put our boy on the daycare waiting list when he was born, and we’re still waiting to get him in 5 months later! We use a nanny now, and it’s not cheap.

    Sonya took 3 months off with no pay; I took 1 week off with pay.

  11. Congrats on being able to take the time off, B. I had a week off when Julian was born, for which I had to use vacation time. We can’t accumulate paid time off — sick or vacation (it’s the same pool) — so if we don’t use it by the end of the fiscal year, it’s gone. And the Missoulian offered zip in terms of long-term “disability” pay if I had taken more time off. You’re a lucky man, at least by our country’s standards.

    For her part, DaLynn was basically fired. Oh, her boss said she could come back. But he expected her back full-time after just a month. His company was small enough that he was exempted from the FMLA, so he could do that. He was a dickhead anyway, so I’m glad she’s done with him, although we both …. er, all three … miss the second paycheck.

    I hope none of this sounds unsympathetic to the fact that y’all will have to make ends meet with less. It’s hard, definitely. We’ve been lucky in that we own the tile company on the side, which has provided just enough of a trickle of funds that we haven’t had to go into debt. Hopefully you can find some fortunate windfalls and corners to cut to make it work.

  12. You might check to see if Xy is covered under Disability Insurance, there may be no taxes on her benefit, evening things out somewhat. The answer I understand depends on several factors.

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