Postpartum recovery is hard, and many women need time away from work responsibilities to return to their normal routines. Gestational surrogates are no different. But, if you’re not bringing a child home from the hospital, you may be unsure of the policy involved during your postpartum period.
Every employer and surrogacy agency is different, but you can contact a surrogacy professional today to get more information about surrogate maternity leave.
In the meantime, this guide includes what you can expect in regards to surrogate maternity pay and maternity leave after your journey is complete.
Are Gestational Carriers Entitled to Maternity Leave?
With your previous pregnancies, it might have seemed like a given that you were granted maternity leave after birth. Not only did you need time to physically recover from the pregnancy and childbirth experiences, you had a brand-new baby at home who required your attention 24/7.
But, if you’re a gestational carrier, you won’t have a baby at home to care for. Will you still be able to take advantage of maternity leave?
The answer is yes. What a woman plans to do with a baby after birth does not impact her ability to take maternity leave. As long as she meets the normal eligibility criteria for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), she can take up to 12 weeks off work, unpaid, to recover from the “serious medical condition” of pregnancy. Even though a carrier will not be caring for the child herself, she will still need time to physically recover — and her job will be protected for up to 12 weeks.
In order to be eligible for surrogate maternity leave, a woman must:
- work for a covered employer;
- have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave;
- work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles;
- and have worked for the employer for 12 months (they do not need to be consecutive).
Talking to your employer about taking maternity leave, is important to ensuring all your bases are covered following your surrogate pregnancy. It’s important to be as honest and forthcoming as possible, as early as you think is necessary in your surrogacy journey. Remember, your job will be protected if you get pregnant, but your employer will still appreciate the early heads-up and any extra steps you take to ensure your responsibilities are handled at work during your maternity leave.
Will Employers Give a Surrogate Maternity Pay?
When it comes to maternity pay for surrogate mothers, an employer’s policy should not differ based on whether or not you will raise the child you deliver. Instead, many employers apply their general maternity/paternity leave policy to any gestational carrier taking time off for postpartum recovery.
Not every employer offers paid maternity leave. You may be asked to use PTO or take unpaid medical leave. Regardless of your employer’s maternity leave policy, you can be compensated for lost wages as part of your surrogate compensation package.
The earlier you talk to your employer about their maternity leave protocol, the earlier you’ll know whether you will get paid during this time off. Your surrogacy professionals will advocate for your financial needs to ensure you are not unduly burdened by your decision to carry a child for someone else. Whether or not you receive surrogate maternity pay from your employer, you will receive income to help support your family during your postpartum recovery.
Talking About Surrogate Maternity Leave and Compensation with Your Employer
Discussing your gestational pregnancy with your employer is a necessary conversation. Your surrogacy attorney can help you prepare for this conversation by making you aware of your local workers’ laws and the compensation policies you are eligible for with them. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself with a list of talking points and questions so you know exactly what you want to discuss with your employer when it comes to surrogate maternity pay and maternity leave.
Here are a few tips:
- Wait to tell your employer about your pregnancy until it has been confirmed or you reach your 20-week mark. A lot can happen within the first stage of the surrogacy process, and there’s always the chance something may not work out as planned.
- Whether or not you tell your boss that you are carrying a gestational pregnancy will be up to you.
- If you can, avoid giving your employer a set time you will be gone. Many surrogates recover much more quickly from surrogacy than they did their own pregnancies, but you don’t want to preemptively force yourself back into the office before you are ready. Just pledge to keep your boss informed during your postpartum recovery.
- Consider what you will tell your coworkers about your pregnancy. You might take this as an opportunity to educate about surrogacy; otherwise, you may find yourself facing an unexpected baby shower from your coworkers.
These conversations about surrogate maternity pay and leave as they apply to your career can be complicated, but you should be proud of your decision to become a surrogate — and be willing to talk about your journey openly with those who need to know.
Learn More About Surrogacy Maternity Pay
Want more information about maternity pay for surrogate mothers? Contact a surrogacy professional today.