Okay so I was flaming mad when I posted yesterday. And yes, there were probably even some pregnancy hormone induce tears while typing. After several hours and being really worked up I tried to figure out what I was so mad about. It was not that I will have to deplete my vacation. I’ll only have about six weeks of work when I return from maternity and after that I will either go on summer vacation (remember I am a 10.5 month employee) or leave my job all together. What I was mad about was how patronizing our HR office is. They are not helpful and will really work to make you feel dumb. And then I was mad that in the last 14 weeks this is what had me the most upset. I was pissed that I was so stressed after my meeting because of the way I was treated, not necessarily because of the ridiculous policy, though I think it stinks.

Once A. got home from work I was a lot better. We were able to talk a lot and vent even more. During this, I pulled up the maternity leave policy. I am going to quote the portion that address the vacation time usage and you tell me what you think:

…If the employee works up to the date of delivery, then 8 weeks of paid leave begin at that point. Up to 4 weeks of additional leave may be taken after that under FMLA, for a total of 12 weeks. Some or all of the additional 4 weeks may be paid through, for example, vacation time or personal days.

No where in this does it state that women are required to deplete their vacation time. My mother taught me well and I am preparing for a fight. It’s not about the time, it’s about the principle. My game plan is to meet with my supervisor and fill her in on my experience. I want to feel her out to see what she thinks. Then I am planing on meeting with the ombuds person to discuss my options. This employer walks all over the staff and I am sick of it. I know several new moms that are as feed up with the maternity leave “policy” as I am, and I am in a position to bring it up. I don’t fear the politics of this place.

Oh, but this is not the only fight we’re preparing for…oh no it gets better. And the common theme is vacation.

After I had settled down A. and I finally worked out our plans for next January. She has to quit her job to start student teaching around the time the baby is due and we had hoped she’d be done by the time I have to go back to work. So we made a plan and we both felt relieved. Then I started talking about using some vacation time in September to visit our soon-to-be born nephew. She wants to come, but has to be conservative with her vacation time this year because, while she got the lump sum on July 1, if she uses more than she is “entitled” to before leaving at the end of January, she will have to pay it back. I figured out how much time she can use between then and now. But things were not matching up with her leave plan balance. I’ll spare you all the calculating I did, but it turns out when A. went full time TWO YEARS ago (she used to work 28 hours) our HR department never increased her benefits. So for two years her vacation and personal time has been prorated. And you know what, after we realized this, the conversation felt familiar. Two years ago we pointed this out to them, AND THEY NEVER FIXED IT! So my task today is to go through two years worth of pay stubs and figure out how much time they owe her, and also start figuring out if she’s been paying more for her health insurance, perhaps that’s still being pro-rated too! All I can say is my head hurts. This is such a huge mess and I am so pissed that we have to spend the energy to clean it up.

Now do you believe me that they are incompetent?