Take FMLA or Telework?

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fishnhunt
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:53 am

Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by fishnhunt »

DW and I are expecting our first baby in two weeks. My original plan was to take 4 weeks of paid FMLA after baby is born, DW will be off until the end of August. To take the FMLA as paid time off, I was going to use my sick leave. I currently have 330 hours of sick leave saved and accumulate 130 hours per year (5 hours per pay period).

The advantage to saving sick leave is if I retire from this employer there is a "match" up to a certain amount, then those hours are multiplied by my final hourly pay rate. That sum of money can be used to pay health insurance premiums once I am retired. However, if I do not stay with this employer for 20 years, I lose all of the sick leave. I have roughly 16.5 more years to hit the vesting requirement. I'd say the chances of me staying this long are 50-50. We live in a MCOLA with limited opportunities in my field. I really like the area for the recreational opportunities it provides that would be difficult to match in other cities. This was the reason for moving to this area to begin with.

My boss said since everyone is teleworking now due to covid-19, if I want to continue teleworking instead of taking the time off I can. If I go this route I will take a week or two off after the birth, then continue teleworking. I will save the sick leave but would not have my undivided attention to my wife and new baby. On the other hand, I was already planning to take four weeks off, so part of me wants to still do that. Talking with my co-workers I get very mixed responses. Some say save every hour of sick leave I can for early retirement. Others say take the full 6 weeks of sick leave paid, then add vacation time on top of that, with the mindset I could lose it if I don't put 16.5 more years in. Thoughts?
HomeStretch
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by HomeStretch »

It’s a personal choice. Consider taking the time off. You have plenty of time accrued plus accrue another 3+ weeks annually. You have 16.5 years before you are vested in a portion during which time you will accrue another 53+ weeks.

Time off will allow you to focus on baby and spouse which is a round-the-clock effort. Spouse will need a couple weeks to physically recover so you will be busy with the house chores too. Use any free time you have to catch up on your sleep. Best of luck!
Silk McCue
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by Silk McCue »

Congratulations on your impending joy.

I wouldn't let a modest potential financial outcome that occurs a couple of decades from now drive quality of life decisions today. There will never be another first child. That doesn't make the analysis all or nothing.

Cheers
FoolMeOnce
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by FoolMeOnce »

Is there a cap to how much sick leave your can carry before extra gets purged?

Can you combine sick leave and telework to work part time for a while?

Will you be eligible for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act paid leave?

Definitely take a couple weeks off at the beginning regardless. It will be a big help. I took three months of leave with each kid and have no regrets, though if course our circumstances aren't identical. Just sharing. Good luck!
dukeblue219
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by dukeblue219 »

As a father of two young ones, take the time off if you have it. You'll likely never spend that much continuous time with your kids again in their lives. Enjoy it and make memories. Help mom as much as you can. Don't spare one second thinking about work.
FoolMeOnce
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by FoolMeOnce »

dukeblue219 wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:04 am As a father of two young ones, take the time off if you have it. You'll likely never spend that much continuous time with your kids again in their lives. Enjoy it and make memories. Help mom as much as you can. Don't spare one second thinking about work.
Until the next pandemic...
dukeblue219
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by dukeblue219 »

FoolMeOnce wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:06 am
dukeblue219 wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:04 am As a father of two young ones, take the time off if you have it. You'll likely never spend that much continuous time with your kids again in their lives. Enjoy it and make memories. Help mom as much as you can. Don't spare one second thinking about work.
Until the next pandemic...
No kidding. I took 4 weeks for #1 and 5 weeks for #2. Here I am in week six at home with both. It's, um, busy around here.
Topic Author
fishnhunt
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by fishnhunt »

FoolMeOnce wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:02 am Is there a cap to how much sick leave your can carry before extra gets purged?

Can you combine sick leave and telework to work part time for a while?

Will you be eligible for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act paid leave?

Definitely take a couple weeks off at the beginning regardless. It will be a big help. I took three months of leave with each kid and have no regrets, though if course our circumstances aren't identical. Just sharing. Good luck!
No caps on amount of sick leave, some co-workers have several thousand hours saved.

Yes, could combine sick leave and telework to work a few hours a day if I want.

Yes, I am eligible but only for a qualifying reason. As of now there is no way to use this additional paid leave, that I know of.
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mmmodem
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by mmmodem »

I got the same advice from experienced fathers that said I should take all the time I am allowed. You only live once. Family comes first. Work life balance and many other such phrases. We chose to do what DW and I wanted instead. DW only needed me the first two weeks for each of our children. I don't get the same benefits as you but I sure am glad I saved my PTO because when I left the job, I banked 11 weeks of PTO. The remainder of FMLA was taken piecemeal the rest of the year. We took a lot of extra vacations to visit family.
blackholescion
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by blackholescion »

As someone who went through this recently (paid family leave of 8 weeks), I only took 2 in order to salvage a project in dire straits if I left, and took the remaining 6 over the course of the year. Those first 2 weeks happen in a flash. With another on the way, I’m taking no less than 4 weeks but told my manager I might take all 8 in one go. 2 weeks isn’t enough. I’m not sure 4 is either.

There will be a point when you’re ready to go back to work before the 12 weeks of FMLA are up. That’s the point you should return and not a moment sooner.
daheld
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by daheld »

Take the time. You will never, ever regret it.

I was fortunate enough to take 5 weeks when my wife had our son, and it was both a time of incredible bonding between he and I, but I was also able to help my wife a lot around the house. It was a time I'll cherish forever, and some piddly alternative financial gain is not even a comparison.
terran
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by terran »

I would take the time unless you think it endangers your job if there are COVID related layoffs (and think those are likely). If you do work another 16 years you'll have plenty of time to add more sick time.
Topic Author
fishnhunt
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by fishnhunt »

OP here,

Thank you everyone for the replies. I have decided to take the 4 weeks off. I may even take an extra week or two after reading the responses, will see how it is going at that point.
Silk McCue
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by Silk McCue »

fishnhunt wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:16 am OP here,

Thank you everyone for the replies. I have decided to take the 4 weeks off. I may even take an extra week or two after reading the responses, will see how it is going at that point.
Good for you!

Cheers
rage_phish
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by rage_phish »

dukeblue219 wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:04 am As a father of two young ones, take the time off if you have it. You'll likely never spend that much continuous time with your kids again in their lives. Enjoy it and make memories. Help mom as much as you can. Don't spare one second thinking about work.
This^
Dizzycow
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by Dizzycow »

Can you take Expanded FMLA (EFMLA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)? Leave is paid at 2/3 so you can save your sick leave. More info on the Dept of Labor's website here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
mnnice
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by mnnice »

I would take what seemed prudent in the beginning (absolutely two weeks). I would take as much of the remaining FMLA after your spouse returns to work. That strategy saves money on childcare, reduces exposure to sickness (pandemic or regular), and smooths your spouse‘a transition back to work.

Congrats on your new one. Maybe he or she will show up on Mother’s Day.
niceguy7376
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by niceguy7376 »

Is FMLA paid by Employer or the state or federal govt? This is a newbie question on the FMLA topic
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lindsayinsf
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by lindsayinsf »

Have you spoken with your spouse about which option they would prefer? I can not imagine wanting my spouse to go back to work after two weeks if they didn't absolutely have to.

Is working a part time schedule (after the first few weeks off) something you could work out with your company? At least find out if it is an option in case you want to spread out your leave. You will likely discover 4 weeks isn't enough. :D

For perspective, many other countries expect new parents to take at minimum two months of leave:
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2 ... tal-leave/
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lindsayinsf
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Re: Take FMLA or Telework?

Post by lindsayinsf »

niceguy7376 wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:31 pm Is FMLA paid by Employer or the state or federal govt? This is a newbie question on the FMLA topic
FMLA is unpaid leave. The OP is using their sick leave to supplement their income during time off.

FMLA protects your job up to 12 weeks so you can not be fired for caring for a child, spouse, parent or yourself during serious health conditions. It does not apply to caring for siblings, cousins, or other relatives. It only applies to employers with at least 50 employees, and to employees who have been on the job full time for at least one year. Some "essential" employees (executives) are exempt if the employer decides such.

Some states and counties mandate paid maternity leave which is paid for by various combinations of state and employer. New York (8 weeks) and San Francisco (6 weeks) come to mind. No states provide paid paternity leave. In California, disability leave is an option for the birth parent for medical reasons which provides partial income (paid by the state) up to 6 weeks and overlaps with FMLA leave.
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