Stop AVMA changes to short term disability maternity benefits

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AVMA and New York Life have proposed shortening current short term disability benefits from 12 weeks to 4 weeks for routine pregnancies. We feel that this change in policy is a backward step in the women’s equality movement and blatantly discriminatory to working mothers and women in the veterinary profession. We have invested in this policy with the understanding that we would be receiving specific maternity benefits. To change these benefits without our consent or input is unacceptable.

Shortening maternity benefits would force female veterinarians back to work before they are medically cleared. Four weeks is not sufficient time for healing after birth. The majority of women do not even have their postpartum exam to clear them for normal activity until 6 weeks following birth. Ours is not a desk job and returning to physical activity too early may causing lasting harm.  

This policy change would force working mothers to place newborn infants into childcare facilities much earlier. Depending on jurisdiction, the majority of daycares cannot legally take children younger than 6-8 weeks of age. Newborn infants of this age are at high risk of contracting a variety of contagious diseases when started in daycare as they are not yet old enough to receive even the most basic of vaccinations. Diseases like respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, and common GI viruses run rampant in daycare centers and can be life threatening to newborn infants.

If the AVMA and New York Life choose to continue to move forward with this change in policy, we will be forced cancel our policies and look for coverage elsewhere.