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Maternity/Disability Leave NJ.. confused PLEASE HELP!

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  • Maternity/Disability Leave NJ.. confused PLEASE HELP!

    My current employer provides it's own STD program which entitles me up to 26 weeks (NOT via the state of NJ) none of which can be utilized for after birth maternity leave since they don't consider birth of a child a disability (???). I am instead entitled to 8 weeks partial pay after birth of a child. Only time taken before birth of a child falls under disability and only approved if by dr's orders for serious medical condition & approval from company's disability review team.

    I was placed on maternity leave at 21 weeks due to a serious medical condition and still have 9 weeks to go. At that time I did not qualify for FMLA because I'd run out due to a child's chronic condition. At that time I was advised I was not entitled for FMLA for another 2 weeks when my time renewed.

    The company's STD team contacted me recently asking specific symptom questions relating to my condition & requiring re-certification (have another STD form filled out by Dr.)

    This company recently merged with another big corporation and they've already advised lay offs would be part of the deal although who & when has not yet been announced. I have always exceeded job requirements on reviews. But I am afraid I may be singled out & they may be looking for a reason to let me go due to this merger.

    My questions are:

    1) I am aware FMLA & STD run concurrently. Since I did not qualify for FMLA at the onest of my STD will any of my FMLA time be used? Or did FMLA automatically kick in 2 weeks after I started STD?

    2) Am I entitled to four weeks STD before birth regardless of company STD vs state STD since I am employed within the state of NJ?
    3) I read somewhere on this forum (correct me if I'm wrong) that while out on STD without FMLA protection the employer has the right to terminate you. Can my employer do so in my case?

    4) I'm sure my Dr will recertify me because I'm still suffering from the same condition. I am afraid that the STD review team will decline my STD because I don't have all and only some of my current condition's symptoms (although ultrasounds are concrete evidence I am suffering from said condition). Can my employer force me to go back to work?
    I am afraid I will have to choose between the job I need to support my family & the health of me and my unborn baby.

    Sorry for all the questions. Don't know where else to turn. My employer continues to give contradictory information anytime I ask....
    Please help!!!
    jin easy
    Junior Member
    Last edited by jin easy; 03-26-2006, 04:39 AM.

  • #2
    I assume you mean your employer has a voluntary plan disability policy. New Jersey's TDI (the state plan) requires that "Private Plans must be at least as liberal in benefit amounts, eligibility requirements and duration of payments as the State Plan." Because the state plan does allow for at least 6 weeks to recover from childbirth you should be allowed to receive that much from the voluntary plan following birth. You would be covered as long as medically necessary and your doctor can work with you on a return date.

    You would have to refer to the plan to determine how much -- what portion of your salary -- you are eligible for, although again it should be at least on par with what is offered through the state

    You are correct that while out on STD without FMLA protection the employer does not have to hold you job, and can terminate you.

    You should refer to this link to determine your FMLA eligibility. It seems you qualify since you are already on FMLA. This link can help you determine your eligibility:

    I can't really weight in on your symptoms or eligibility for paid leave using your company's STD policy. An employer cannot force you to return to work, but it is possible that you may not be eligible for paid leave under the policy.


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