Family Medical Leave Act
FMLA for Pregnancy & Maternity Leave
The Federal Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) provides important unpaid job protection for working women experiencing pregnancy complications, premature birth of an infant, or who want to bond with their baby.
FMLA for Maternity Leave
FMLA provides important maternity leave benefits. Covered employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
For a precise answer about whether you qualify for Family Medical Leave Act job protection, you can complete an FMLA eligibility questionnaire. You will get a helpful email response within minutes. Complete your paperwork if you believe you are eligible.
FMLA for Pregnancy Disability
FMLA also allows you to take up to 12 weeks of job protected leave during any 12 month period to address your own serious medical condition. If you need to stop working early due to pregnancy complications, this time will count towards your total of 12 weeks.
Any FMLA time used prior to delivery eats into the time available to care and bond with your baby. Several state maternity leave laws may extend the total amount of job protected time away from work. This may happen in one of two ways:
FMLA provides important job protection in case you encounter pregnancy complications, or your infant is born premature and requires extended care at home. But it's all unpaid time away from the job.
You can create your own FMLA pay by purchasing supplemental maternity insurance before getting pregnant. It will provide paid FMLA if you miss work prior to your delivery, and additional payments if your child is born premature, or if postpartum disorders delay your return to work.
Five states have mandated paid leave policies in the form of short term disability, which provides income replacement in case of your own disability.
FMLA for Extended Infant Care
12% of babies are born premature. Parents often face a dilemma when this occurs: how much time can I take off and still have my job upon return? Just keep in mind the 12 week rule. Include any time you needed to take prior to delivery for any complications.
Add all of this time off, and ask if you can afford all this missed income.
Keep in mind that various state have laws to pertain to the care of a family member. FMLA provides protections for your own disability. These two laws can be combined and work sequently if needed to extend your job protected absence.
Intermittent Leave and Prenatal Care
Under the definition of a serious medical condition the Family Medical Leave Act regulations stipulate that a serious medical condition is one that requires continuous treatment by a healthcare provider. One definition of "continuous treatment" includes any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care.
Prenatal care is a common requirement for perfectly healthy pregnancies. Women routinely visit their Ob Gyn to monitor the health of their baby. Often these appointments are hard to get and require a woman to take time from work to keep these appointments.
The FMLA allows for intermittent leave for this type of situation. But be careful about using prenatal care with FMLA. You must request permission from your employer to use intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA under this scenario. Your employer has the right to deny your request when requesting intermittent leave for a pregnancy related condition. Also, as your pregnancy progresses you may need to use the time if complications prevent you from working. You only get twelve weeks.