Anne alluded to it with her comment on Friday, so let's dig in and talk about it.
I recently started filling out my paperwork for my maternity leave, so I've got a pretty good idea of how it all works, sort of. I get up to 12 weeks of leave: 6 weeks paid (the first week has to be taken as vacation days) or 8 weeks paid if you have a Cesarean, and 6 week unpaid. I am a part time hourly employee, which for me means a minimum of 20 hours and up to 40 hours. I currently work about 25 hours a week. So, this leave of absence kind of sucks for me because I will only be paid for 20 hours per week instead of the 25 I actually work.
We have nine weeks until the baby is born and we have yet to make a decision regarding if I'm returning to work. And I'm not sure we are going to be making that decision before the baby is born.
First, our health insurance is through my job. I work for a big retailer that has a very young workforce and therefore, the insurance is amazing. When I got the job here and we switched our insurance from Dave's company to mine, we were saving over $300 a month. That's no small chunk of change! So, I need to stay on payroll here at least through my delivery so that the medical bills are paid with the really good insurance.
Secondly, the company I work for is not exactly the easiest to get into, but once you're in you can move around and move up. I have one of the lowest jobs on the totem pole, however, I work great hours, I can set my own schedule, I can work from home, etc. I have a great relationship with my director who knows my background in logistics and engineering and if I wanted to move up, I'm sure I could.
I currently do not make a lot of money. My salary, although it does contribute, is more like bonus money for Dave and me. Dave, on the other hand, does well enough that I don't have to work. And in addition, we have the photo booth business which doesn't make a lot of money, but does provide something. If I were to continue with work at the hours I am currently working, I will be spending my entire salary on child care. That is not worth it. Plus the thought of other people raising my child makes me sad. If we felt that it was imperative that I continue working than I would have/should have found a full time job that actually paid a real salary.
Luckily, I don't have to decide right now (although I know I can't wait forever). After talking to our leave coordinator at work, if I decide not to come back after my maternity leave it is just treated like a resignation and I would not have to pay anything back. So for right now, we're just going to go with the flow after the baby is born and decide when we have to decide.