“My company offers a generous paid-family-leave benefit, but they just got bought by a different company with a much stingier policy—fewer weeks off at lower pay—and I’m expecting. How can I get my original benefit and not the new one?”
While it’s possible you may be “grandmothered” into the old plan, unfortunately, it’s not a sure thing. Your best course of action: Go to HR directly to find out what changes, if any, are coming up.
If a different parental-leave plan is replacing the former one, then you should try to negotiate, says Claire Bissot, managing director of CBIZ HR Services, an HR consulting organization. “Treat it as if you were starting a new job and they didn’t have a great policy,” she suggests.
Come prepared with compromises you’re willing to make in case the new company won’t give you the leave you were entitled to pre-acquisition. For example, suggest a number of weeks off that falls between the old and new offerings. “Show you are committed to the company and can be flexible,” Bissot says. “Read through the new company policy to see if there are other options available to bridge the gap.” And if not, propose some, such as working from home or part time after your leave ends.
If they won’t budge, there might not be more you can do. According to Bissot: “The employer may amend, cancel or change any part [of a leave plan] with or without notice,” which would eliminate any potential legal recourse. At this point you might need to evaluate whether the new firm is a good long-term fit. “If the company is unwilling to work with you, is this even a company you want to work with?” Bissot asks.
There are plenty of wonderful businesses that regularly hire pregnant women and give generous maternity leave, no matter employees’ tenure. Just don’t forget that if you’re in California, New Jersey, New York or Rhode Island, your state might offer more generous subsidized leave than the acquiring company does. Some cities now offer generous paid family leave too, such as Washington, DC.