Maternity & FMLA & Absences
Employee’s guide from DOL
FMLA rules from CEA Nov 2019
Westport falls under federal rather than state law because under CT statutes, Chapter 557, Sec. 31-51kk (the CT FMLA provision), paragraph 4 defines an employer within the provision and specifically excludes local boards of education among others. So what an employee qualifies for under federal law applies, but state FMLA provisions do not.
Basically pregnant teachers will get 6 weeks (30 days) of paid sick leave, if you have it available, for a normal delivery. It starts on the day of delivery or day you go out right before the birth. If there is a c-section, you can get 8 weeks paid, starting at the same time as the birth for the FMLA leave. After that paid time, teachers have the option of taking the second 6 (4 for a c-section) weeks unpaid. Teacher would return to their job to finish out the year.
The teacher would continue their health insurance benefits during the unpaid FMLA time by paying your normal payroll contributions in the form of a check or payroll will arrange to have it taken out of the payroll by adding extra payments, before or after the birth.
Last option would be to take the rest of the year after the FMLA leave ends. You should notify the district 30 days before the birth if this is what you intend to do so that the district can find a long term substitute. The time after the FMLA would be unpaid and you would be responsible for the full price of medical insurance. You would be entitled to a job the following school year but there is no guarantee that you would be back in the same exact position or school.
Under the federal law:
- A teacher gets 12 weeks of unpaid leave for childbirth. The time is counted in weeks, not days.
- Those weeks that are partial work weeks (e.g. Thanksgiving week) still count as a full week against the 12 FMLA weeks.
- Those weeks that school is closed for the full week or longer (e.g. April vacation, summer vacation, etc.) do NOT count against the 12 weeks.
- So if you have a baby a couple of weeks before April vacation, s/he would get to be out for 13 weeks since the April vacation week wouldn’t count.
- For the period of time that the teacher is certified by her doctor as disabled (generally about 6 weeks for regular childbirth and about 8 weeks for c-section, but could be longer if there are complications such as needs bedrest before childbirth), the teacher gets to use sick days to get paid.
- The disability period when the teacher is paid is also counted against the FMLA time.
- Usually a teacher ends up with about 6 weeks of paid time (if she gives birth while school is in session) and 6 weeks unpaid.
- If you give birth at the beginning of summer vacation, then you will no longer be disabled when school starts in the fall and the entire 12 weeks would be unpaid if you chooses to stay out for the entire 12 weeks.
Note: if there is a snow day or vacation during the time a teacher is out on 6 or 8 week maternity leave, the days will not count against the sick leave balance but will still be counted as part of the 6/8 weeks of paid maternity leave time.
Unpaid Maternity Leave – Purchasing Credit:
If you had any unpaid days as of the first school day of any month, you would not receive credit for that month. If it was all paid sick time, you should have received the full credit.
If you did in fact have an unpaid month and thus did not receive credit, you can purchase that time back once you have returned to teaching for one school year after the leave. You would simply fill out the required form and the TRB will follow up from there.