When most people start their job search as a veterinarian, they tend to focus on the things that are important immediately, such as where the hospital is located, what the hours will be, how much paid time off is offered and how they will be compensated.

Veterinarians, especially those right out of veterinary school, don’t always think about long term plans like starting a family and how the lack of a parental leave benefit can negatively impact their lives and financial stability.

Employers are now offering a couple of options for maternity leave: The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Short Term Disability (STD) Insurance. Other employers offer nothing at all in terms of parental leave which is short-sighted and will lead to some really difficult decisions for their veterinarians when they learn they’re expecting a child.

Let’s review the first two offers briefly, then learn about a better option. Veterinary wellness-focused employers like THRIVE Vet Care offer innovative solutions that don’t leave you juggling the impacts of work on the decisions you make for your family.


The FMLA is a law that requires employers to allow employees up to 12 weeks of time off to have a child. The time off comes with a “catch”; it is unpaid leaving new parents to worry about choosing between staying home and bonding with their newborn or paying their bills.  This is a choice new parents shouldn’t have to make. Additional factors to consider with FMLA are that working for an employer with less than 50 employees and working for an employer less than 12 months renders you ineligible to use it.

Short-term Disability Insurance

Short term disability insurance does cover part of an employee’s salary for 6 to 8 weeks after delivery depending on the circumstance, but the employee must pay out of their own pocket for that insurance coverage, decreasing the true value of the benefit. There may also be a waiting period before you begin receiving your checks, increasing the stress of getting expenses paid.  This type of insurance only applies to maternity coverage, meaning spouses or partners cannot use it to stay home with their child.

A better way to approach family planning with the employer of choice, THRIVE

At THRIVE, we know there is a better way!  We want to enable our doctors to care for and bond with a newborn or newly adopted child, so we offer 8 weeks of paid parental leave to do just that.  We also allow our veterinarians the ability to use their annual 4 weeks of paid time off, in addition to our parental leave policy, allowing them a total of 12 weeks off with their new child. Both mothers and fathers are eligible for this benefit.

While we can’t help those newborns to sleep through the night, we can ensure that our doctors have peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to rush back to work and won’t be struggling financially to stay at home. See our other treats for employees at our employee benefits section.