A bonus/FMLA/employment conundrum

So I started a job in September, and am now due to have a kid in August.

With my job, I got a $5k bonus, contingent on me staying for a year.

Because I will have been at my job for less than a year and as a part time employee, I will like, double not qualify for FMLA or any other leave that the company allows.

I don’t think we’ll be able to save enough between now and August to both pay back my bonus AND potentially pay the OOP max for giving birth which I think is like 7.5k.

So my options seem to be:

  • Plan to pay back the $5k.
  • If I can get my boss on board, accrue comp time by working extra January through birth. Comp time is essentially straight overtime that can be banked to use as time off later, like PTO. But like PTO and unlike FMLA, your boss can decide to just not let you take it at the time you want to. Unlikely I think in my case, but possible. Requires telling my boss about my pregnancy ASAP.
  • Could also work straight overtime instead of comp time and save the $5k to pay the company back. But overall, this gets me less money because I do pay them back and don’t get paid for the leave I take. Doesn’t require telling my boss I’m pregnant as soon, just requires I ask permission for overtime.
  • Quit the month before I give birth, get on Colorado Medicaid, and while I have to pay back the bonus I’ll basically pay nothing for the birth.
  • Somehow find another job that will give me a bonus, that I can give to the company, and gives maternity leave immediately??

I’m leaning towards the comp time option because my job is a generally chill 20 hour per week work from home flexible hours situation that covers our expenses with some wiggle room, and I would ideally like to continue after a reasonable amount of recovery time after labor.

Any other ideas or thoughts? We do have a second income that’s a lot more wobbly in nature, but possible having to quit my job and pay back the bonus is regardless bumming me out.


if you like your job and have a good relationship with your boss, I’m on board with the comp time option because having a good job that you like that lets you be part time is lovely option for new parents after leave.

Do you have short-term disability that you can get through work? That could pay expenses while on leave, and you could use PTO to get you through.


I don’t qualify for STD as a half time employee :sob:

I’m thinking I’ll just send an email to my boss and see if there are any other unpaid options if I need to bridge the gap? Worst case scenario they fire or lay me off without cause in which case I don’t pay back the bonus and maybe get unemployment?


Also, a lot of STD have exceptions for pregnancy that state you have to have the STD in place for twelve months before the birth.


And also if they fire you for saying you’re pregnant…you have a lawsuit on your hands. FMLA or not. But yes, as long as your boss likes you and your work and seems like a good operator in the company, but upfront. The reason they gave you that bonus is they want to retain you for more than a year. If offering you unpaid leave is all they have to do, that is a win for them.


So. is your employer based in Colorado? Because their paid leave program goes into place on Jan 1 and we can investigate if that is an option.

Also…question. Since your work anniversary date and your due date are close together…can you use your PTO or comp time to get you over the hump to September and then qualify for FMLA? the requirement is 1,250 hours in a year which puts you at 24 hours a week


My employer is actually based in Alabama.

I also wanna say the Colorado thing didn’t start until 2024? I could be wrong.

Also their FML policy states that the FML taken must start at the child’s date of birth so that may throw a wrench into things. But I’m sure between me, my boss, his boss and HR we can figure it out!

I think people will want to help you problem solve if you want to keep the job.

You’re right, collection begins January 1, 2023 but withdrawals not til the next year- I’m helping an employer implement it now, so I had the employer side on the mind.

It looks like the Colorado piece might be saying you can take it within a year of birth or adoption of a child. I wonder if that will only cover children born after 2024 or if I can apply for the leave in 2024 of a 2023 baby? Hm…

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You might not be covered though depending on how many CO employees your company has

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Yeah it’s probably less than the threshold. Oh well. Dammit Alabama.

All right, my boss is on board with me accruing comp time.

To fund 6 weeks, I need 120 hours.

Though if I avoid spending my vacation, I should earn 40 hours, or two weeks, just by default. So I only really need to earn 80 hours. Which if I was diligent I could do in a month but have you met me?


I’m glad you’re boss is on board, this job seems like it’s been a positive for you!

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I am definitely still having some imposter syndrome but overall it is QUITE good!