Sonntag, 21. November 2010

Maternity.... WHAT!???

"Maternity Leave??? Paid??? How long??? Government-paid child benefit??? Parenting benefit??? Now why again did you move over here!?"

Yes, I know... it's been a while again... almost a month, to be exact, that I've been quiet, but as you can imagine things are different over in the USA and so I'm not sitting on the couch with my feet up, enjoying my last couple of weeks of pregnancy, but still working full-time and listening to the above questions almost daily.

Yes, in Germany, by law, as an employee you must be given maternity leave with 34 weeks, 6 weeks prior to your due date and you will be paid during this time off and also for another 8 weeks postpartum. Yes, after the child is born, the government will pay you a monthly child benefit up until the child finishes some form of education that will get him into a profession and yes, there's also the option to stay home longer and get paid a parenting benefit of I believe now 67% of your last salary (with minimums and maximums) for a maximum of 14 months after giving birth.

Here in the States that's all significantly different. First of, every state has it's own laws in regards to maternity leave and I guess with Florida, I chose to be in one of the States with the least "benefits" in this regard. Want a child? Have a child! But do it yourself!

So while in Germany, I would be relaxing right now, getting ready for Baby E, here I'm still on my feet working full time at 37 weeks and 1 day. My due date is 20 days away. With all the (physical) working, I don't know if I'll make it that far and I'd be quite happy for her to come out now as she is considered full term, but I sure know that I better not go overdue! Really, who wants to still be working past their due date??????? Since I haven't been with my employer for at least 12 months, I don't get any form of maternity leave. Not paid, not unpaid, not under "short-term disability" like my pregnant manager who's one week ahead of me, not under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)... All I can take is up to 4 weeks of personal leave through my employee benefits. Sounds great, doesn't it!? Dropping my 4 week old baby off somewhere, so I can go back to work is not really something I want to think about, but that is the reality over here for my situation and I do understand why people ask me why I moved over here or why I didn't move back to Germany, where I would have had way better prospects. Well, one answer to the latter is: I have a Greencard. If my baby is born in Germany, my baby will not have a Greencard and things will be rather complicated to get her legal resident status for the USA. Plus, I would have to start over again. Indeed, I'll have to start over here again soon as well, but it's less of a new start than it would be in Germany. At least I have a car, some furniture, a job...

Although the news from the job and the last month make me want to move on once again: management is not really considerate. Past 34 weeks pregnancy (while I would already be off work in Germany), I had to work a 17 (!!!) hour shift and several 12+ hour shifts. Only this week it looks like I'll be able to "relax" a little more.

I also had another "nice" incident at work. While fellow greencard-winners bicycles in Miami were stolen, I was stolen from at work... by a coworker! I had helped out another coworker and for the first time in this business & the 1 3/4 years, put my server book out of my hand. It only took 2 minutes to realize I had left it at one of the computer stations in the back of the house (10 feet away from a manager expediting food), but when I came back, it was already gone... and with it $400.-, as of course Murphy's Law has always been my "friend" and on the one day, that I put my server book down, all but one table had paid in cash (usually everybody pays with credit cards) and a thief is around. Needless to say, pregnancy hormones took over and I was in quite a state and cried for an hour while management tried to find evidence and pinpoint suspects. At the end of the night, after sorting out all the paperwork with a manager for 1 1/2 hours, it was clear that $300.- of that money were my employers and I would have to pay that back over time. AWESOME!!!!!!!! Management "knows" you took it (and so does everybody else), but unfortunately the ultimate proof was missing, so that person is still working with me. Talking about uncomfortable... try working with someone that you believe stole from you, knowing your story of being pregnant and single and all... It's definitely not a great feeling!

Besides work, I really haven't done anything. Still lots of stuff to prepare for when Baby gets here, but unfortunately my days don't have 48 hours in them and I'm not having the energy to solely work on my "To-Do-List" on my days off.

I am however very excited now and can't wait for my baby to get here... one reason might also be that I'll finally get to stay home for a little longer than one day at a time... :)

Wish me luck with everything!!! :)


  1. Oh my, Du machst ja Sachen mit! Das mit dem stehlenden co-worker ist ja mal das aller letzte. :(
    Kommt denn jemand von Deiner Family oder Freunden rueber zur Unterstuetzung wenn Du nach der Geburt wieder arbeiten gehn musst?
    Ich bewundere Dich so fuer alles was Du machst, ich wuerde das alles garnicht allein hinkriegen. Wuensch Dir alles Gute Jenny! *drueck*

  2. I'm glad that I found your blog. You are a brave person to move in the USA without a single help. As you said before what doesn't kill you make you stronger !national loans