When I was pregnant in 2011, neither my husband nor I had any paid leave from work. In fact, neither of us were covered by FMLA: his company had less than 50 employees, I worked several part-time jobs. He was only able to take 2 weeks of vacation after our daughter was born before returning to work, and I stayed home for almost 12 weeks without pay. It was stressful, especially because I was laid off from one of my 3 jobs during the pregnancy, but we made it work. We had done a lot of research and planning and so we felt confident we could handle the time I was out of work.

However, we weren’t prepared for my mom to get diagnosed with cancer a few months after I returned to work. I was working full time at this point, but I still hadn’t been employed long enough to be covered under FMLA. Being unable to take any time off – paid or even unpaid – to help my mom through her treatment was incredibly stressful. I was a wreck emotionally and felt totally helpless, and of course my performance at work suffered as a result. Taking time off would have been better for not only me and my family – but also where I worked!

Liz, New Britain CT