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My wife has taken maternity leave. She is a salaried, tenured public school teacher, but surprisingly the workplace does not offer maternity leave pay. She had a few weeks of sick leave accumulated, and HR paid her for those as if she had been "sick", but the remainder of her maternity leave will be unpaid.

HR sent her an E-mail saying her pay will be stopped, and she must notify them when she returns to work, so they can resume sending pay checks. She planned to return immediately after the break for Christmas and New Years.

My question has two parts:

  1. In a normal year she would continually receive salary, even for time off for holidays such as one week off at Thanksgiving and two weeks at Christmas or even the month off during the summer. HR said they've stopped payments. Will she earn a salary during those three weeks, which happen to fall inside the time she is taking off for maternity leave?

  2. If the answer to the above is "no salary over those holidays", if she returned to work for the last day before Christmas break, can we say "she's returned to work" to receive those two weeks of Christmas break pay that she'd normally be due?

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It depends on the contract, and since it is a public school system it will be in their written policies.

Leave without pay is a “non-pay status”. Often one does not get holiday pay if on a non-pay status before and after the holiday.

If she worked for the US government, the answers to your questions would be:

  1. No
  2. Yes, even one hour before or after the holiday.

Effect of Being in Pay or Non-Pay Status Before or After the Holiday Employees must be in a pay status or a paid time off status (i.e., leave, compensatory time off, compensatory time off for travel, or credit hours) on their scheduled workdays either before or after a holiday in order to be entitled to their regular pay for that day. The minimum time in a pay status required to receive regular paid holiday time off is one hour.

Employees who are in a non-pay status for the workdays immediately before and after a holiday may not receive compensation for that holiday.

https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/pay-administration/fact-sheets/holidays-work-schedules-and-pay/

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    I edited the "and"/"or" -- see if you agree.
    – nanoman
    Nov 12 '21 at 12:06
  • @nanoman You are correct. Thank you. I incorrectly thought that the employee did have to be in pay status both before and after but apparently not.
    – Damila
    Nov 12 '21 at 12:35

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