Maternity Leave Laws: What Are Your Rights?
Pregnant Mothers Can Use the Family and Medical Leave Act for Unpaid Maternity Leave.
Qualified mothers have the right to take unpaid maternity leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows employees to take necessary leave to care for themselves, children, spouses, and parents with a serious illness or injury. New mothers and pregnant women can use FMLA leave as maternity leave before and after a child is born.
You can use FMLA leave to bond with a newborn child or any newly adopted child or foster child entering your home. You should have a job to return to when you finish your FMLA leave. If your employer denies you this right, you have the right to speak with a dedicated FMLA attorney and seek compensation.
What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
- The company must employ 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.
- You must work a full year before the start of your medical leave.
- You must work 1,250 hours before the start of your medical leave.
How Does Maternity Leave Qualify Under FMLA?
Pregnancy is a medical condition. The FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave in 12 months to care for yourself or a child when dealing with a medical condition.
Maternity leave allows you to prepare for childbirth before your due date, heal from the childbirth process after your child is born, and care for your newborn as you begin the bonding process. It also allows you to bond with an adopted or fostered child entering your home.
You have the right to use all 12 weeks for your maternity leave. You also have the right to use a portion of the allotted time. Anything can happen in the first year of a child’s life. You can save the remainder of the FMLA leave for a time when another medical issue arises with your child or family member.
Do I Have to Notify My Boss That I Need to Use FMLA Leave?
To use FMLA leave, you must provide your employer with proper notice that you plan on using it for maternity leave. Unless the use of FMLA would create an undue hardship for your employer, they should approve your medical leave.
What Are the Benefits of the FMLA for Maternity Leave?
When you use FMLA leave for maternity leave, your employer must follow certain rules, such as:
- They must keep your position or a comparable position available for you when you return to work.
- A new position must provide the same pay and benefits.
- The new position must be one for which you are qualified.
- Your employer cannot terminate you because you took FMLA leave. However, the law does not prevent an employer from firing you if you would have lost your job while in the office.
What Are Some Ways You Can Use FMLA for Maternity Leave?
- You are nine months pregnant. You find it more difficult to get around. You are constantly tired. You use your FMLA leave to take the last few weeks of your pregnancy off from work so you can rest and prepare for your baby.
- You and your husband are adopting a toddler. You must attend court appearances. You know that after about a month of legalities, your child will come home. You take FMLA leave to deal with all the related legal issues and bond with your new child when she enters your home.
- You just had a baby. Not only are you exhausted and trying to heal, but you are learning to care for your new baby. You want to enjoy your bonding time, get used to nursing, and heal from giving birth. You take FMLA leave to provide you the time needed to accomplish these goals.
What Are Your Rights as a Victim of FMLA Violations?
However, if you believe the violation was intentional and willful, your time limit is extended to 3 years. Discuss your case with a qualified FMLA attorney to learn more about your rights under the law.
Can You Get Fired from Work for Using FMLA Leave for Maternity Leave?
You cannot get fired from work or face any other forms of punishment or retaliation (demotions, negative employee reviews, reduced pay, etc.) for using FMLA leave as maternity leave. The law provides clear guidelines to employers regarding qualified FMLA leave. Your employer cannot fire you simply because you are using your legal FMLA leave to take time off work.
What Money Can I Receive for FMLA Leave Violations?
As the victim of FMLA violations while on maternity leave, the court may award you compensation. Some of the remedies available may include financial relief, such as repayment of lost wages, attorneys, fees, and money for pain and suffering. Other remedies may include the reinstatement of your job and other injunctive relief. Your FMLA attorney can help you request the remedies you need from the courts.
How Can A FMLA Lawyer Help Your Case?
When you need to use FMLA leave for maternity leave, your employer should grant your request. When they refuse your request, fire you from work, or otherwise retaliate against you, you have the right to seek justice. A qualified FMLA attorney can ensure your claim is filed within the proper time limit in the proper courts. They can help you draft your complaint and follow all court and legal rules.
Most importantly, your attorney will advocate on your behalf from the moment you decide to file a claim until the end of the entire process. They will work to negotiate a fair settlement as quickly as possible. When your employer refuses to settle the claim, they will fight for your rights in court.
Contact Our Dedicated FMLA Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
You have the right to take FMLA leave as maternity leave. Your employer does not have the right to retaliate against you or cause any issues upon your return to work. If you are the victim of discrimination because you used FMLA leave for maternity leave, the Derek Smith Law Group’s compassionate FMLA lawyers can help.
Did Your Boss Prevent You from Using FMLA Leave for Your Maternity Leave? Did You Get Fired from Work While Using FMLA Leave