Author Topic: AEA MAternity Leave  (Read 9410 times)

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Scott

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Re: AEA MAternity Leave
« Reply #15 on: Aug 26, 2011, 12:45 pm »
Honestly, in an overpopulated world with dwindling resources, working in an overcrowded field, do we need to encourage breeding?


MatthewShiner

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Re: AEA MAternity Leave
« Reply #16 on: Aug 26, 2011, 06:25 pm »
Maternity or paternity leave doesn't need to be for having your child, but could be for adopting a child - so could be required even without adding one person to the planet
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

BalletPSM

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Re: AEA MAternity Leave
« Reply #17 on: Aug 29, 2011, 11:39 am »
As a few people have mentioned on this thread - plenty of ("real") companies (and even the "real" jobs in theatre companies) offer maternity leave but no pay.  I think this is, while not the greatest, perfectly fair.  Having a baby is - on the whole - a choice.  The same way taking a vacation would be a choice.  And not all companies offer automatic paid vacation either.  The biggest thing in maternity leave is a guarantee that you will have your job back in 6 weeks, 8 weeks, whatever the maternity leave allows for.  Just like an employer guarantees not to give your job away while you're on a vacation. 

As a freelance contract employee, there is no guarantee you will have a job, ever, after the current contract you're on, so AEA can't really offer a maternity leave option.  How would they?  Right now I have a total of 2 contracts lined up through end of next May.  I could time it to try to get pregnant sometime in November and it would work out about perfectly to have a baby after those contracts are done (now...I'm just ignoring the fact that stage managing a show at 7 months pregnant might not be the most fun thing in the world - but is any job?).  And then it's up to me not to take any more work that would conflict with having my baby and how long I want to stay home after that.   I can't call AEA and say, "hey, I'm having a baby in June, but I really want to start working again in August, so I'm calling in my maternity leave and can you make sure I have a contract by then?  Thanks." 

I'm not having a baby right now, but I AM going on a tour to the Dominican Republic at the end of November with a dance company.  It's throwing a huge monkey wrench in trying to book an equity contract between the one I'm on now and the one that starts mid-January - but that's my choice.  I want to do the tour - so that means I need to plan for essentially 4 months of unemployment (the tour is paying me about...1 peanut).  But, it's important to me artistically, so I'm going to find a way to make it work. 

On the whole, in a freelance situation, having a baby is no different than a choice like that.

I think you have a little bit of a different situation because you have a resident position - if I were in your position, I would go straight to your director and to HR (or whoever the HR equivalent would be) and rely on the good relationship you have with them - since your AEA contract offers no provision for you.  Think of what you absolutely need in terms of having a baby - you want 10 weeks off and then want to come back to work.  I agree with other folks here - you need to be able to do those 10 weeks without pay (since, as we've already mentioned, that's most other real jobs as well, especially non-profit jobs), but they should guarantee your job at the end of those 10 weeks.  What is  the policy for the other, non equity employees in the company?  Appeal to that. 

I think the larger issue with our union here is INSURANCE. If by having a baby you preclude yourself from being able to get your 20 weeks - then all of a sudden you've lost your insurance at the time when you need it most. 

THAT is a problem that our union COULD fix by offering provisions for women who get pregnant and so for whatever reason won't be able to get their 20 weeks.  They don't have to let this go on indefinitely - it could be a "you get to keep your insurance for one year after having your baby regardless of work weeks, and then after that you go back to the work week standard" or something similar.

Balletdork, I don't know if this is an issue for you - maybe you're on your husband's insurance policy, but plenty of women out there are having babies without husbands or a partner who's insurance plan they can just jump onto.

Those are my thoughts for right now.  Maybe if I were the one having the baby though I would feel differently.  Hard to say.

Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

Jessie_K

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Re: AEA MAternity Leave
« Reply #18 on: Aug 30, 2011, 08:49 am »
Maybe the issue is less the union we are in and more the country where that union resides.

http://aleksandreia.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/maternity-leave/

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/indwm/tab5g.htm

Other 1st world nations provide at least of percentage of wage to people taking maternity leave, the US does not.


juliz1106

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Re: AEA MAternity Leave
« Reply #19 on: Sep 01, 2011, 12:21 pm »
Thanks for this.  I was looking for these statistics after hearing similar stories on the news.  Maternity leave (and paternity leave, general family leave, vacation time, etc.) are just not priorities to businesses in this country.  Just like universal healthcare - and the importance of all Americans having healthcare in any sense - has never been a priority to this country, so things like maternity leave have been left to individual companies to provide on their own.  There is no mandate for companies to provide these services, because our country doesn't encourage it.  And until that happens, the theatre industry, and unions in general, will have little power - in my humble opinion - to change things.

BayAreaSM

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Re: AEA MAternity Leave
« Reply #20 on: Jul 19, 2012, 07:24 pm »
Sorry to rehash this older topic, but since this is now extremely relevant to me, I thought I'd offer my insight.

Now perhaps it's not a US item to pay a percentage of income for maternity leave, but California has me covered.

Like I stated in my earlier post in this topic, I planned my baby for my off season. Granted, it doesn't work out that way for everyone, but I guess I lucked out and got pregnant on our first try. I finished my contract season on May 11, 2012 and went on unemployment, since I wasn't due to be labeled as "disabled by pregnancy" until May 27. I even took on another short staged reading that closed on May 24, so that cut into my unemployment pay. Then I went on state disability and off of unemployment, as my pregnancy would hinder me from working. My little one arrived a little over 2 weeks early, at which point I was on new schedule for disability: 6 weeks of healing. After those 6 weeks were up, I had the option to do my 6 weeks of bonding (FMLA) then, or at another time. Since I'm not scheduled to return to my contract work until August 20, I opted for my bonding weeks now. I've been paid by disability since May 27th, and I will end my FMLA pay for bonding when I return to work. (Though I am going to see if I can get my last 2 weeks of FMLA bonding back when my season is over. UPDATE: California FMLA does allow you to split up your bonding weeks as long as they fall within the baby's first year.)

Maybe this is just something special for California, but I am very grateful to receive my disability & FMLA pay to help offset these pediatrician bills before I go back to work and start earning again. And, because of my PSM residency, I will be bringing the little guy to work with me a few days a week. My job has even worked a way to find me a new office that has more space so that I can set up his pack n'play and not block the flow of traffic (my current office is a glorified hallway into the costume shop and fitting room). Granted, I am married and use my husband's insurance, and I literally scheduled my pregnancy around my company's season - and again maybe it's just in California, but making your own maternity leave is something that can be accomplished. It just is a bit unreasonable to expect your company to allow it when you've signed a single show or even season-long contract. If you were a permanent year-round employee, then it would be different.
« Last Edit: Jul 27, 2012, 07:46 pm by BayAreaSM »

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Re: AEA MAternity Leave
« Reply #21 on: Jul 27, 2012, 02:56 am »
BayAreaSm ~

So glad you were able to finesse the system!
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