When you find out you’re pregnant, the type of maternity leave you’re going to receive is probably not your first thought. It’s 9 long months away, after all. But it’s amazing how quickly that special day comes when you’re ready to bring your new baby home. We know that you’re going to want to be prepared, and being ready financially with job security is a huge part of that.
Since the United States only offers the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is unpaid, you’ll need to find out what kind of coverage you’ll receive within your state and through your employer. Checking out our Knowing Your Maternity Leave Rights by State post is an excellent place to start, but many states aren’t listed because they don’t offer any leave beyond FMLA. And only four states currently offer a specific paid family leave option. If a baby is in your future and you live in Rhode Island, you’re in luck! Rhode Island is one of the four states offering partially paid leave for new moms and dads.
Maternity Leave Options in Rhode Island
Taking care of a new baby is no easy task. As a new mom, you will be recovering from your childbirth while navigating the ins of outs of caring for a newborn who needs a lot of love and attention. Not only that, this will likely be one of the most special times in your life. You deserve to put your sole focus on your new baby without the stress of possible financial loss. Rhode Island is a state who finally recognized the benefits needed during this amazing life event. And not just for moms, but for dads, too.
In 2014, Rhode Island passed a law requiring employers to give parents a paid period of leave. This was in addition to the Rhode Island Parental and Family Leave Act (unpaid) that was already in place. Additionally, Rhode Island offers Temporary Disability Insurance that new mothers may qualify for. Having multiple offerings for new parents is certainly helpful, but it can also be confusing to know what your coverage might look like. We have outlined it all here for you Rhode Islanders so you know exactly what to expect when you bring home your bundle of joy.
As a nation, many parents are covered under FMLA. It is unpaid, but it does offer job security and continued health coverage. Rhode Island’s PFLA is similar to FMLA with a couple of minor differences. One extra benefit of Rhode Island’s is that there is an added 13th week, whereas FMLA only includes 12 weeks.
Eligibility: The following factors make you eligible for RIPFLA.
- You work for a company with 50 or more employees,
- have been employed continuously for at least 12 months,
- and average 30 hours per week of work for that employer.
It is required to give a 30-day notice to your employer if at all possible.
Pay: Unpaid. However, between TDI and TCI (see below), as well as any leave offered by your employer, you may receive pay for the 13-week duration of leave.
Period of Leave: A new parent may take 13 consecutive weeks of leave within a 2-year period. Some state laws similar to this allow the leave to be broken up, but Rhode Island requires a continuous leave.
The purpose of Rhode Island’s Temporary Disability Insurance is to protect employees against wage loss due to a health or injury related disability. It covers new mothers who have given birth. It is only one of a handful of states to offer this type of paid program. The whole of TDI is financed by payroll deductions. For 2019, the deductions are equivalent to 1.1% of an employee’s paycheck (this percentage also includes the deductions necessary for TCI).
Eligibility: In regard to the birth of a new baby, TDI is only for mothers. In order to qualify, the new mom’s doctor must decide that she is unable to perform the essential duties of her job. Additionally, you must have been paid at least $12,600 within the base period (which is approximately one year). If you don’t meet this requirement, check here to see if you still may be eligible.
Pay: A mother’s weekly benefit rate will be equal to approximately 60% of her regular wage. As of 2019, the minimum benefit rate is $98 with a cap of $852. As a new mother, you will also qualify for an added dependent benefit allowance. The allowance given is for up to 5 children and is equal to $10 or 7% of your benefit rate (whichever is greater).
Period of Leave: The amount of leave you require as a pregnant or new mom will be determined by your doctor. He/She will decide when you are healthy enough to return to work. The maximum leave allowed is 30 weeks.
The parental leave portion of Temporary Caregiver Insurance was built around the premise that parents should have time to bond with their new baby without the worry of lost pay. The state of Rhode Island understands that these first weeks are a vital part of a baby’s development. All new parents deserve this special time with their child.
To pay for TCI, employees will see a 1.1% deduction from their paycheck. This percentage allows for both TDI and TCI coverage.
Eligibility: Most parents who work in Rhode Island, even those that live out of state, qualify for TCI (with a few exceptions).
In order to be eligible, you must meet the same pay earnings as outlined for TDI. But unlike TDI, both moms and dads receive the TCI benefit.
Pay: Monetary eligibility is exactly the same as TDI. Moms and dads can receive up to approximately 60% of their weekly wage – anywhere from $98 – $852 for 2019.
Period of Leave: Moms and Dads qualify for up to four weeks of paid leave. This paid leave is given to new moms and dads to care for their newborn. It is quite a bit less time offered than other paid family leaves. However, it’s important to remember that Rhode Island is only one of four states offering paid leave. Four weeks is a lot better than zero.
Because Caring for your Baby is Number One
It’s wonderful that some states recognize that family should come before work. Around the world, every other developed country has recognized the importance of parents caring for their newborns by giving them paid time away from work to do so. With Rhode Island being only one of four states currently offering paid family leave (with two more to follow) we are certainly behind. Hopefully, programs like those offered in Rhode Island can soon be used as a model for other states in the future.