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Watchung Hills Regional High School


Maternity & Child Care Leave FAQ

Maternity and Child Care Leaves: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I notify the district of my planned leave?

A. Please submit a letter (a signed letter, not an e-mail) to the Superintendent including your anticipated last day of work and the anticipated date of your return to work.

Q. May I use sick days during my maternity leave?

A. If you are pregnant, you are considered disabled 30 days before the baby’s due date and 30 days following the baby’s birth. You may use accrued sick days during this time period. If your doctor writes a letter documenting a longer period of disability, you may use accrued sick days during this time of disability. (Policy 3435)

Q. How much time may I take off for bonding with my child following the child’s birth or adoption?

A. Both the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) provide time off for parents to bond with a new child. Both of these laws protect your job and benefits during a qualified leave and they are both unpaid entitlements.



Who is eligible?

Employees who have worked at least 12 months and 1,250 hours of work

Employees who have worked at least 12 months and 1,000 hours of work

How often is an employee eligible for a qualified leave?

12 work weeks (any week in which the employee would have worked at least 1 day) every 12 months

12 work weeks every 24 months

What circumstances are eligible for this type of leave?

Personal serious illness

Bonding with a new child

Serious illness of a family member

Does NOT cover personal illness

Serious illness of a family member

Bonding with a new child

How much time is given for bonding with a new child?

Childrearing/bonding within 12 months of birth/adoption. This leave may be take intermittently.

Childrearing/bonding within 12 months of birth

Intermittent leave is not permitted

Q. How does FMLA/NJFLA apply to maternity leave?

A. Following the use of permitted sick days during the pregnancy disability, the district will begin to count FMLA/NJFLA weeks. FMLA and NJFLA are counted concurrently for a total of 12 weeks.

Q. What is New Jersey Family Leave Insurance?

A. N J Family Leave Insurance (NJFLI) applies to employment covered under the NJ Unemployment Compensation Law. NJFLI does not protect your employment or health benefits but may provide income during an unpaid NJFLA leave for up to six weeks. NJFLI may provide up to six weeks of NJFLI benefits in a 12 month period. The amount of money received depends upon the employee’s average weekly wage and is up to 2/3 of the employee’s average weekly wage up to $584.00.

Q. How do I apply for NJ Family Leave Insurance?

A. Please visit the WHRHS Human Resources office for an application or online at This application cannot be submitted until the unpaid portion of your leave begins. A copy of the child’s birth certificate must be included with the application.

The form for NJ Family Leave Insurance may be accessed here: NJ Family Leave Insurance Form

Q. What happens with my WHRHS group health insurance during maternity leave?

A. During your disability leave (sick days) your coverage continues and the portion you contribute to health insurance is deducted from your paycheck. During the unpaid FMLA/NJFLA your coverage continues and you are billed for the contributory portion of your health insurance. After 12 weeks of FMLA or NJFLA, you are no longer entitled to WHRHS group health insurance and will be enrolled in COBRA which you may or may not elect to accept.

Q. Is it possible to take a leave beyond disability and FMLA/NJFLA?

A. Tenured teachers may request an unpaid childcare leave and the request granted with the length of the leave being determined mutually between the tenured teacher and the district. A request for an unpaid childcare leave from a non-tenured teacher will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Please provide an example of a typical maternity and childcare leave.

A. Thirty days before the birth of the baby and 30 days following the birth of the baby are paid sick days with benefits (assuming the employee has enough sick days accrued). These are 30 calendar days, and will usually equate to a total of 40 sick days.

After 60 calendar days of disability, the employee may have up to 12 unpaid work weeks of FMLA/NJFLA (assuming the employee is eligible for the leave). The employee is entitled to benefits and will be billed for the contributory portion of health benefits. During this time the employee may be eligible for six weeks of NJFLI payments from the state.

Following the FMLA/NJFLA leave period, the employee may request an unpaid childcare leave but the employee is not eligible for group health insurance from WHRHS during the unpaid leave.

Q. What if I have additional questions?

A. Please make an appointment to meet with the Director of Human Resources (ext. 4918) to discuss your specific situation. The office is normally open from weekdays from 8:00-4:00, 12 months a year.