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Jenn Lemmon
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Maternity Leave

A Maternity Leave Experience and a Helpful Checklist.

My name is Amy Reihle, I work at ZJX and this is my maternity leave experience.  My story may not be the same as anyone else’s but I do hope that telling you about my experience, it will help you.  In 2014, I went on maternity leave with my first child, Elizabeth.  I had preplanned for and decided to take 14 weeks of leave to have my first child.  I also planned to come back part time for the first few months to transition myself back to work and daughter into childcare.  Before going on maternity leave, I received guidance from another new mom at Jacksonville Center.  I obtained approval for Article 26 (FMLA - Family Medical Leave Act) and filled out the maternity leave paperwork with Human Resources, one request form for Article 30 and a separate request form for Article 26 (FMLA).

I delivered all of my original copies of the maternity leave paperwork to Human Resources and maintained copies to my assigned supervisor and lastly, my local NATCA representative.  No one told me I was using leave incorrectly or at least to my advantage.  When I came back after having 3 ½ months off, as planned, I was part-time for an additional three months.  By going part-time, I lost holiday pay, accrued leave, my retirement date prorated and my insurance cost went up greatly.

I should not have become part-time and did not know this until almost a year later when I was discussing my experience with other mothers at work.  A woman who had transferred from Chicago Center overheard my conversation.  She questioned if I actually became a part-time employee.  I told her, yes, I was part-time for three months.  She said that if I had taken Article 30 first, then Article 26 (FMLA) that I would have had enough annual and sick leave accrued to have never been a part-time employee.  I have attached my “earnings and leave statement” to show the difference in price that I had to contribute for my health/medical benefits. 

At this time, staffing wasn’t a problem and I could have received the days off I wanted.  The days I would have requested would have been flexible and I could have saved my accrued annual/sick leave and money had I used the tools available to me.  But none of this was explained.  No one at this facility had been taking maternity leave correctly.  Human Resources, management or NATCA did not give guidance on how maternity leave should be used.  And how do I know what to ask?  I don’t know what I don’t know!

Since then, I have informed my local NATCA and now I am sharing my story with PWC.  When I became pregnant again and the maternity paperwork had to be completed, Human Resources had to adjust the way the paperwork should be filed.  They had always filed the Article 26 (FMLA) paperwork first, then Article 30.  By filing the paperwork in this order, you lose the opportunity to take Article 26 (FMLA) leave later, when it’s needed. 

Article 26 (FMLA) allows you to choose what type of leave you want to use, i.e. sick, annual, credit or leave without pay (LWOP – Leave Without Pay).  It does not make your leave request preferential and is not guaranteed.  If you make a leave request it may not be approved.  Someone may have a request in prior to you or they may not approve the leave, due to staffing needs.  But if you have to call in sick, you can say, “under FMLA, please show this day as annual or sick.”

*List of things to do, prior to maternity leave:

1.  Article 26 (FMLA) request.  Your OBGYN will fill out a portion of the document.  Then the paperwork will get approved by the FAA after you submit it to Human Resources.

2.  Leave Request Form.  “Request for Leave or Approved Absence” OPM Form 71.  This document is attached.  Two pieces of paperwork, Article 30 (Union Agreement) and a separate request form for Article 26 (FMLA).

3.  Calendar.  Make a calendar with specific leave written on each day, RDO (Regular Day Off), LWOP(Leave With Out Pay), Sick, Annual and Holiday. Attached is a mock calendar that will give you an idea of how to plan your time off.  I did not want to use all of my annual and sick leave, so I chose to take LWOP for the majority of my maternity leave.  This is what worked for me. *Note: Do not take LWOP around both sides of a Holiday or you will not get holiday pay, use annual leave or sick leave. I have indicated this on the calendars attached. 

*Remember to keep a copy of all your submitted paperwork.  Be sure that you have submitted all of your paperwork to your manager/supervisor and NATCA.  The originals should be submitted to Human Resources.  This allows both the supervisor and Human Resources to monitor and double check the leave imputed into Web-Schedules, correctly.

I should have scheduled the initial 3 ½ months under Article 30 leave in the NATCA contract, then return to work using any additional leave needed under Article 26 (FMLA).  This would have allowed me to cover the days that I needed off versus coming back as a part-time employee.  I have attached my actual Earnings and Leave Statement as to show the cost difference in health benefits.

Article 26 (FMLA)- For every 80 hours of FMLA/LWOP used, you will not receive regularly earned leave (annual or sick) for one paycheck.  

Written by: Amy Reihle, ZJX ARTCC

Please take the time and review Article 30 – Prenatal/Infant Care and Article 26 – Leave for Special Circumstances. 

RDO- Regular Day Off                                          HL- Holiday Leave

LWOP- Leave With Out Pay                                SL- Sick Leave

PP3- Pay Period 3                                                  YES- Will receive accrued leave

No- Will not receive accrued leave

JANUARY

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

RDO

RDO

HL

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP             YES

LWOP             PP3

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

RDO

RDO

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP           

LWOP              

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

RDO

RDO

HL

AL

AL

LWOP             YES

LWOP             PP4

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

RDO

RDO

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

29

30

31

1

2

3

4

RDO

RDO

SL

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

29

30

31

1

2

3

4

 

 

 

SL

LWOP

LWOP            NO

LWOP            PP5

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

RDO

RDO

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP 

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

RDO

RDO

AL

AL

LWOP

LWOP            NO

SL                  PP6

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

RDO

RDO

HL

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

26

27

28

1

2

3

4

RDO

RDO

AL

 

 

 

 

MARCH

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

26

27

28

1

2

3

4

 

 

 

AL

AL

AL                  YES

LWOP            PP7

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

RDO

RDO

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP          

LWOP       

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

RDO

RDO

SL

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP             NO

LWOP            PP8

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

RDO

RDO

LWOP

SL

SL

LWOP          

LWOP       

26

27

28

29

30

31

1

RDO

RDO

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

AL                  NO

 

APRIL

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

26

27

28

29

30

31

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

AL                 PP9

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

RDO

RDO

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

AL

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

RDO

RDO

SL

SL

SL

SL                  YES

LWOP           PP10

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

RDO

RDO

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP

LWOP         

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

RDO

RDO

AL

AL

LWOP

LWOP             NO

LWOP           PP11

30

1

2

3

4

5

6

RDO

 

 

 

 

 

 


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