Difference Between Maternity Leave and Short-Term Disability

In case these details surrounding maternity leave aren’t enough of a jumbled mess, don’t worry! It gets even more confusing (sorry). But stay calm — we’ll help you sort through it. As we mentioned above, some companies and employees say they offer (or receive) paid leave when they are technically offering (or receiving) STD insurance payments that define “disability” to include childbirth and postpartum recovery. This confusion of terms is understandable.

Some STD insurance policies pay for 100% of a woman’s salary during maternity leave and are paid through insurance premiums covered by the employer. But other STD policies require the employee to foot the bill and/or to purchase those policies before the employee becomes pregnant. And, of course, it’s not unusual for an STD policy to cover only a portion of an employee’s salary during their leave.

Many unions and large employers offer STD insurance policies, and some feel that it is not appropriate to call even fully employer-funded policiesmaternity leave,” because pregnancy is not a “disability.” Practically speaking, there are additional hoops an employee must jump through to take advantage of STD-based policy benefits.

Unlike company-provided maternity leave, STD policies require you to get a medical diagnosis; you’ll probably need to provide your company with certain documentation from your physician before you will start to receive STD payments. And once you apply for these benefits, there may be a waiting period before you’ll start to receive payments.

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