When an employee discovers that she is pregnant, one of the first concerns she will have is for some sort of income to help her with expenses, during periods when she is unable to work. Short term disability for maternity leave is a difficult issue to address. A woman cannot be sure how long she will be able to work during pregnancy, even if she has a job that is not physically demanding. When she can return to work after delivery is also questionable because each woman recovers at a different rate, even after normal births that occur with no complications.
Whether a pregnancy is planned or not, an employee will probably have many concerns about maintaining income levels during and after the pregnancy. If she plans it right, short-term benefits from her disability insurance could cover at least a portion of her regular salary for a limited number of weeks. Whether or not this happens depends on what kind of options her employer offers for disability coverage.
The Family and Medical Leave Act
One option that is always available to employees of large companies is the Family and Medical Leave Act. This legislation was passed in the 1990’s to allow employees the option to leave their job for up to 12 weeks while they recover from a medical problem or welcome a new child into their family. An employee that invokes the FMLA does not need to fear losing thier job during leave. However, pregnant women may hesitate to rely on this option because it only mandates unpaid leave.
Getting Short-Term Disability Insurance to Cover Maternity
If an employee wants their employer’s disability policies to cover possible maternity, they may very well have to request it as an additional feature for their particular insurance. There will probably be some conditions with this coverage and it will require higher premiums. An employee adding this feature to her insurance should expect much higher premiums as well as a requirement to pay them for a certain period of time before pregnancy is actually covered.
Benefits of Using Short-Term Disability for Pregnancy
Available coverage under the short-term restrictions generally offer as many as eight weeks of paid leave after a normal delivery. Complications during delivery are also usually covered under such plans. Unless complications occur prior to the date of delivery, this sort of insurance only covers the period after child birth. An employer will probably require pregnant employees to use up their sick days and vacation time before requesting disability coverage.