When you’re carrying a child who is not your own, are you still eligible for maternity leave?
The answer is yes. Surrogate maternity leave and compensation is a normal and expected part of the surrogacy process. You won’t be left out in the cold once you give birth to the intended parents’ child; you can take time for your postpartum recovery without fear of losing your job or putting a financial strain on your family.
However, this topic can be complicated. Your personal surrogate maternity leave and compensation will depend upon a few things, including your surrogacy professional’s and your employer’s policies. That’s why we encourage all surrogates to discuss this topic sooner rather than later. It’s the only way to protect yourself and your family during your postpartum recovery.
For personalized answers to your questions about surrogate maternity pay and leave, please contact a surrogacy professional today. For general information about this topic, keep on reading.
How Does Surrogate Maternity Leave Work?
Postpartum leave during any kind of pregnancy can be intimidating. Many working women worry about their careers during their postpartum recovery. Even though there are laws protecting new mothers during this time, many are concerned how their absence at work will affect their career path and their employer’s view of them.
Before we get into the details of postpartum leave for surrogates, you need to understand the basics of maternity leave in the U.S. today. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows for eligible employees of covered employers (typically companies with 50 or more employees) to take 12 workweeks of leave to care for family members or to recover from a serious health condition. That includes the birth of a child or to care for a newborn child within one year of birth. The two are mutually exclusive, meaning that you can take advantage of FMLA policy as a gestational carrier. Even though you will not care for the child you deliver, your job will still be protected as you recover from the major heath conditions of pregnancy and childbirth.
However, there is an important note to consider: While FMLA protects your right to a leave from work, it does not ensure that you will be paid during your absence. That will be up to your employer and your surrogacy professional.
What’s the Deal with Surrogate Maternity Pay?
It’s normal to be concerned about your family’s financial situation when you take leave from work. If your employer does not offer any paid maternity leave, your family may be unduly stressed by your lack of income after giving birth to the intended parents’ baby.
Don’t worry — Surrogacy professionals understand the complications and rarity of employer-provided paid maternity leave. That’s why many require maternity pay for surrogate mothers as part of their compensation package.
Intended parents understand the sacrifices that you will make carrying their child, and they know those don’t end once their baby is in their arms. They know you will have to take time off work to recover from childbirth, especially if you have had a cesarean-section. So, they not only compensate you for the act of carrying their child — they also reimburse you for any lost wages you may incur during your postpartum recovery!
Any discussion of surrogate maternity pay will occur during your surrogacy contract stage. At this point, your surrogacy professional and attorney will review your employer’s leave policy, your pay stubs and more to ensure you receive the reimbursement you deserve during your postpartum recovery.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a surrogacy professional today for more information on this topic.
How to Talk with Your Employer About Surrogate Maternity Leave & Compensation
While your surrogacy professional and attorney will play an important role in determining your surrogate maternity leave and compensation, you also have to talk to someone else: your employer.
We know it can be awkward and uncomfortable to discuss pregnancy and maternity leave with your employer, especially when you are still in the beginning stages of the surrogacy process. However, it’s important: Your surrogacy journey will affect your job at some point, and it’s best to be honest with your employer as early as you can. That way, you can come up with a plan that suits both of your needs.
Before you have this conversation about surrogate maternity leave and compensation, do your homework. Come up with a few notes and talking points to keep your discussion on track. Here are a few tips:
- Wait to tell your employer about your pregnancy until you are about 20 weeks along. Like in all pregnancies, unexpected developments can happen during the first half of a gestational pregnancy. Unfortunately, this can include a failed transfer or miscarriage.
- You are not obliged to tell your employer you are carrying a gestational pregnancy. The choice of whether or not to reveal that will always be up to you.
- Keep in mind that your postpartum recovery may take shorter than your previous postpartum recoveries. Because you will not be caring for a newborn, you may feel recovered just a week after childbirth. However, tell your employer you’re planning to use your entire 12 weeks to avoid being forced back into the office before you’re ready. You can always keep your employer in the loop and come back early.
- Think about the conversations you will have with coworkers. Do you want to tell them about the surrogacy? If not, you may find yourself at the center of an unexpected baby shower or discussions about your future with the baby.
Yes, surrogate maternity leave and compensation can be an awkward conversation for all involved, but it’s a crucial one to have. As a surrogate, you must protect yourself and your family — and ensuring you receive the proper reimbursement during your postpartum recovery is a big part of that.
Remember, if you have questions about surrogate maternity pay and leave, don’t hesitate to reach out to a surrogacy professional anytime.