Answers to your questions about maternity leave

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Missing work for an extended time is worrying. Yet nothing matters to new parents but the health and well-being of their child. Those first months together are important for the health of both the baby and mother, and the bonding that occurs is irreplaceable.

That is why the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects the job status of new mothers. It is a federal law that allows employees with a serious health condition, or an immediate relative with a serious health condition, to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without being terminated. This includes childbirth.

Does the FMLA apply to me?

The FMLA covers most employees, including anyone who has worked more than 1,250 hours in the past year and works with a company that has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. Additionally, many states have enacted additional protections for expecting mothers and new parents. In California, those are the pregnancy disability leave (PDL) and bonding leave (CFRA).

When can I take leave under the FMLA?

While it can depend on your circumstances and health, your FMLA leave must be taken within the first year after birth. However, it does not have to be taken consecutively.

Does the FMLA cover pregnancy?

Yes. In addition, many states, including California, have increased disability protection for pregnant mothers. The PDL allows employees up to four months of leave, depending on how many hours the employee worked. We recently wrote about the rights of expecting mothers on our blog.

Does the FMLA allow leave after adoption?

Yes, adoption is treated similarly to childbirth for the purposes of the FMLA.

What if my rights were violated?

Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination and violations of the FMLA and state laws do occur. If you have experienced a violation, an employment law attorney can discuss your rights, including the potential for compensation and reinstatement to your position.