Unpaid Maternity Leave Sparks Financial Turmoil
ConsolidatedCredit.org Offers Relief to New Parents
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In most countries women on maternity leave are guaranteed between 75 percent and 100 percent of their salary, according to the International Labor Organization’s study “Maternity Protection At Work”. The United States has no legal requirement for paid maternity leave. The National Partnership for Women & Families report shows that most states are not doing enough to promote maternity leave. The organization gave 18 states an “F.” Only two states received an “A.”
Aside from federal law protections, the failing states lacked other policies that would aid new mothers in the workforce. The study also analyzed factors such as family, medical and pregnancy disability leave, as well as reasonable break times and small necessities leave.
Sadly in the U.S., most working mothers don’t qualify for paid leave and the loss of income leads many couples struggling with the financial impact. In many cases, families are forced to charge necessities onto multiple credit lines just to make ends meet.
In 178 countries, paid leave for working mothers is guaranteed, and 54 countries provide paid leave for new fathers. However, the United States doesn’t require companies to provide paid maternity leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 allows women up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but only half of women are eligible and many can’t afford to stop working, according to the study.
Financial difficulties shouldn’t stop parents from building a sound financial framework for their baby. ConsolidatedCredit.org offers the following advice to parents:
Be aware of unpaid leave laws: If an employer has more than 50 employees and more than 1,250 hours were worked in 12 months, unpaid leave is available. If all requirements are met, an employer must provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Determine maternity leave income: In some situations, working mothers can take advantage of sick days and short-term disability insurance. Under the FMLA, new mothers are entitled to use sick days as part of their maternity leave. In the case of short-term disability insurance 6-8 weeks of paid leave is guaranteed.
Create a budget for the first three months: After new mothers establish their income, they should do a complete analysis of their finances. If income is not received during maternity leave, it’s important to create a budget based on savings or family income. First, new mothers should make a list of the monthly expenses that are necessary. Then, make another list with expenses that are important, but not crucial. Subtracting their monthly income from their expenses will indicate how much money is available for items on the second list.
Save for emergencies: Creating an emergency plan is also essential when expecting a baby because money may be needed for unexpected situations. Save a small amount every week and put it aside in a separate bank account that is not frequently used. Take 3 to 5 percent of each check and have it automatically deposited in that account.
Freeze credit card purchases: Using a credit card when running out of money can be dangerous. Using credit cards to stretch a restricted budget will only make it harder to pay off credit card balances. Also, if they go over the credit limit they may be required to pay more interest every month in addition to penalties.
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc., founded in 1993, is one of the nation’s largest credit counseling organizations in the country and has helped over 5 million people with financial issues. Their mission is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis and solving money management problems through education and professional counseling.