How To Talk to Your Employer About Maternity & Paternity Leave for Surrogacy

September 22, 2022

Whether you are carrying a baby for someone else or planning for one through gestational surrogacy, understanding maternity and paternity leave is an important element of this journey.

In this article, we cover maternity and paternity leave for both surrogates and intended parents.

Maternity Leave & Lost Wages for Surrogates

Can I Receive Maternity Leave as a Gestational Carrier?

Whether you are a gestational or traditional surrogate, you are entitled to maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave (source).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible for FMLA:

  • You’ve worked for your employer for 12 months or longer.
  • You worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the leave starts, or about 24 hours a week.
  • You work at a location where there are 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite.

How To Talk to Your Employer About Maternity Leave

Know Your Rights

First things first, before approaching your employer about maternity leave, make sure you know your rights and what avenues are available to you. See if you are eligible for maternity leave under FMLA and re-review your employee handbook. In addition, have a full understanding of how your surrogacy agency works with intended parents to support you during this time. Once you have a full grasp of your options, you then can determine the best path for you and your family for moving forward.

Know What You Want

      After researching your maternity leave options, weigh how moving forward will best serve you and your family. Make sure before approaching an employer about leave, that you have a very clear understanding as to what you want and how you will advocate for your chosen avenue.

Give Proper Notice

Many employers have varying criteria for leave. If you’re planning on taking FMLA leave, a minimum of 30 days is required for the notice period. Make sure to re-review your employee handbook and any materials you may have received from your employer prior to giving your notice. If these materials are not easily accessible, contact your human resources department inquiring for more information about company policies.

Will Intended Parents Reimburse Lost Wages?

It depends on the contract. The contract between the gestational carrier and intended parents should clearly state the financial responsibilities of the intended parents. It is critical that your agency is transparent about these details to fully understand if you may be obligated to bare any financial burden from the journey. At Hatch, reimbursement for lost wages for surrogates is covered under our Peace of Mind Program.

Setting Expectations

Overall, a surrogate can expect up to 3 weeks of lost wages for a vaginal delivery and 4 weeks for a C-section, through a combination of maternity leave, intended parent reimbursement, and/or short-term disability. Make sure you completely understand what you are entitled to and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Paternity & Maternity Leave for Intended Parents

The federal law that allows intended parents to take time off for surrogacy parental leave is known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows parents to take time off work for the birth and care of a newborn child, or for placement of a child in the family for adoption or foster care. 

This legislation entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Similarly stated above for surrogates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible for FMLA:

  • You’ve worked for your employer for 12 months or longer.
  • You worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the leave starts, or about 24 hours a week.
  • You work at a location where there are 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite.

Ask About Company Paternity Leave Policies

Many countries offer generous paternal leave. Unfortunately, in the United States, that is not often the case. Make sure to review your company policies and look for any language that may suggest leave would be unavailable to you. If you are unsure of your company policies, connect with your human resources department to learn more about what policies are in place for employees. 

A lot takes place at the beginning of a surrogacy journey. Prior to embarking on the path to parenthood, make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of how you will navigate this time, including leave. If you have questions, we have helped build over 3,300 happy families and we have resources available to properly guide you. By being prepared, you will be more equipped to address leave as you are ready to communicate your needs with your employer.

Lost Wages for Surrogates Are Covered Under the Peace of Mind Program at Hatch

We are the only agency in the United States to offer a truly all-inclusive package, covering both medical and non-medical expenses, with no surprises. Our Baby Guarantee Package covers unlimited services for egg donation, surrogacy, and IVF, until live birth. The program protects intended parents and surrogates against the most common financial pitfalls during an egg donation and surrogacy journey. 

At Hatch, we provide many opportunities to achieve your dreams of creating your family. Contact us to learn more about family-building options.

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