5 Ways to Fund Your Unpaid Maternity Leave

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

pregnant woman holding stomach in office at her desk while working

I was talking to a pregnant friend recently who was telling me about her struggle to maximize her maternity leave. Unfortunately, this is a common problem many parents face when trying to find the right balance financially and emotionally of raising a newborn.

In the U.S., 114 million people don’t get paid maternity leave, according to PL+US, a nonprofit advocacy group — meaning they don’t get a cent from their employers.

But if you’re in that position, don’t worry. There are ways you can fund and extend your unpaid maternity leave. Here’s how.

1. Be strategic with your vacation and sick days

You have nine months to prepare for a baby, which means you can plan out how to use your vacation and sick days way. If your company allows you to roll over you paid time off (PTO), you could start saving your days a few years before getting pregnant or adopting.

Let’s say you get 20 vacation days and five sick days a year that roll over and you use a total of five days in the two years before having a child. You could have 45 paid days saved up, which would give you nine weeks of PTO to use after having a baby. That could be in addition to any other paid leave you might get. All this could cover you financially for some time if your company doesn’t provide any paid maternity leave.

If you and your partner both save up your PTO days, you could take your time off consecutively to have someone home with the baby for the first few months without missing out on a salary. That’s what my friend and her husband did, so she’s able to take six months off, after which her husband will take three months off.

Talk to your employer’s human resources as early as possible to see if your vacation days can roll over and if you can use your unused sick days for maternity leave. Also, check the policy on batching together PTO days because not all companies offer the benefit.

2. Use short-term disability insurance

Whether you work full time or are self-employed, you might want to consider buying a short-term disability insurance policy to cover part of your unpaid maternity leave. You’ll need to make payments on the policy for the months or years leading up to having a child and then get a payout once you use the coverage.

That payout typically ranges from six to eight weeks of coverage, which can offer a percentage or the full amount of your salary. The range could be extended if your doctor deems you unable to work for a longer period due to medical complications before or after the baby is born.

Some companies offer short-term disability insurance as part of their benefits package. If they don’t, you could purchase an external policy. You’ll have to put money aside ahead of time to pay for the policy, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll have all or a portion of your income coming in when the baby arrives.

3. Take out a personal loan

Babies can cost a lot of money. According to the Baby Center calculator, you could be spending over $8,700 in the first year alone — and that’s not counting childcare. Even one-time startup costs are nearly $4,500. If you don’t have that kind of money saved up, you might want to consider taking out a personal loan.

Taking out a small personal loan to cover these expenses means you’ll have the money you need to take care of the baby while on unpaid maternity leave. Once you’re back at work and have a steady income, you can start making monthly payments to pay back the loan. This makes the child-raising process more financially manageable.

Be aware that lenders have different terms and interests rates. So, make sure you’re getting a low-interest loan with a repayment schedule that works with your maternity leave plan.

4. Rack up overtime ahead of time

If your employer offers overtime, start working more hours and racking up the overtime pay. This won’t mean you’ll have a paycheck coming in while you’re on unpaid maternity leave. But you could start setting aside that extra cash to use once the baby comes.

If both you and your partner can take advantage of overtime before the baby’s arrival, then you could save much more. Also, ask your boss if you can work from home in the days leading up to giving birth, so you don’t have to use up your paid leave time.

5. Take on a side hustle

If your job doesn’t offer overtime, you can make extra money by taking on a side hustle. Try any one or more of the gig economy opportunities, such as TaskRabbit, Uber, or DoorDash, to make a little more dough to save up for the baby.

The benefit of such side jobs is that you can set your own schedule and not face startup costs. With Uber, for example, you can make an average of $19.04 an hour, according to the company. So, if you work two hours a day, you could make more than $1,050 a month. Do that for eight months, and you’re looking at an extra $8,400.

Funding unpaid maternity leave is possible

Don’t fret if you’re one of the millions of Americans who don’t get a penny in maternity leave from their employers. There are ways to fund and extend your time off.

Also, there are many side gigs you can do from the comfort of your couch to make money after the baby arrives. Research your options and use the time before childbirth to plan financially for your family.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.199% APR to 15.365% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.145% APR to 14.685% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.145% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.97% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply:SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.15% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.