Because I am a pregnant California state citizen, I qualify for a large variety of confusing entitlements. My ideal maternity leave would begin two weeks before my due date and end when the baby is five and a half months old–six months off total. However, I am beginning to wonder if I’ll even be allotted half of that.

My old boss came into work with her three month old baby boy three days ago and shared with me her horror story of fighting for her maternity leave rights. Apparently after several frustrating phone calls to “the Starbucks Benefits Associates”, she wound up whirling the glass of water she’d been drinking onto the floor. They told her the maximum time off she could receive was 12 weeks and her plan was to take 16 weeks off. Her friend in HR told her to ignore the benefits people and ask them to mail her the application packet. She mailed in everything she needed to and decided regardless of what happened, she would take her leave the way she had planned. In the end, she was compensated fully.

So far my experience has been the same–extremely frustrating. Every time I call about my maternity leave, I get very vague confusing answers about the length of time I’m allowed off. From what I can understand, I’m only going to be allowed 12 weeks off because ONCE AGAIN, I didn’t work enough hours. However, I went to the California leave entitlement website and learned I do qualify for pregnancy disability leave (PDL) regardless of how many hours I’ve worked at Starbucks. It will be interesting to learn if state law supersedes our mega billion dollar corporation. As of right now, my plan is to do as my boss did and fill out the form instead of dealing with our leave representatives. I’ll keep you all posted on what winds up happening.