When expecting a new child, reading up on Indiana maternity and family medical leave laws is important. Parents may find income benefits and job protections that help them while they are out of work.

Federal laws provide unpaid job protections during maternity, paternity, and family medical leave of absence. State-based rules in the Hoosier State mostly help government workers and military personnel. Large employers and small businesses have different rules.

When researching Indiana maternity leave policies, you should find out if your job gives you special rights. Reading this outline should help answer some common questions.

  • What types of paid leave is available?
  • How long do job protections last?
  • How do the policies apply to different groups?

Paid Family & Maternity Leave in Indiana

Simply put, Indiana paid maternity and family leave laws are non-existent. Some residents might be lucky to work for companies with paid leave granted to its workers. If your employer does not offer these benefits, there are a few other ways to find financial assistance.

Rare cases might allow parents to collect unemployment or short-term disability. Paid sick leave is strictly voluntary. The majority must find an alternative.

Maternity Leave Assistance

Three possible options for financial assistance during an unpaid family or maternity leave work absence may help Indiana families survive the time off.

Family Leave Loan

Request a personal loan for family leave to see if you qualify. The lender who approves you will deposit money directly into your bank account. The monetary help allows parents to pay their bills while the mother recovers from childbirth and cares for the newborn.

Both parents should make sure that they have FMLA job protections before they borrow money. If you lose your job, you might have trouble making payments. That would leave you in worse financial shape than before.

Earning Extra Money

Earning money during an unpaid maternity leave through a side hustle is the best option for most families who think and act in advance. An online work-at-home or freelance gig does not put the family into debt and does not rely on the government.

You are in control. However, you need to start in advance of your time away from work. It takes time to build a business. Fortunately, prospective parents have advance notice of the need to get started.

Single Parents

Single mothers and fathers often are more vulnerable financially. It is difficult to maintain a full-time job while caring for young children at the same time. Losing the only source of income for even a short period can really hurt.

Many government support programs have needs-based criteria that consider income. Marital status is not a qualifier. However, solo parents meet the income guidelines more frequently as noted.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability in Indiana sometimes offers paid maternity leave. The state does not have its own temporary disability program. You have to purchase a private insurance plan prior to conception in order to qualify.

The payments last six weeks for a vaginal delivery, and eight weeks for a C-section birth – minus the elimination period. The elimination period is the amount of time before the benefits kick in.

Fill out a claim form when applying for pregnancy disability benefits. Your doctor and employer need to sign the paperwork before you submit the claim to the insurance company.

Unemployment Compensation

Claiming unemployment during maternity leave rarely works well in Indiana. However, there are some unique situations where a woman may collect benefits.

  1. Healthy women can claim unemployment insurance while pregnant if they are laid off (not “fired”).
  2. Healthy women fired from a job can sometimes receive unemployment benefits while pregnant – but only in certain conditions. Disqualifying reasons include stealing, harassment, drug possession, and other serious infractions.

In addition, new mothers cannot collect unemployment if they voluntarily quit their jobs. They are also ineligible during any period when mom is physically unable to work. This includes a pregnancy disability before delivery, and while recovering from childbirth.

Paid Sick Leave

The Indiana Code does not have a sick leave law as part of the state’s employee rights. However, some employers offer unpaid or paid benefits to their personnel.

Since the state does not have a paid sick leave employment rule, you should research what job benefits you have ahead of time.

Indiana Family Medical Leave Laws

Unlike other states, Indiana has no state-based family and medical leave laws that apply to the general public. Federal regulations protect the job rights of workers in the Hoosier State. Another thing that sets the state apart from others is their special considerations for military family members.

You will not be paid during your absence. The regulations offer legal job and health insurance protections only.

FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a federal law providing legal job protections to workers. FMLA guidelines allow personnel to take time off for up to twelve weeks during a 12-month period.

Requirements

Indiana workers need to meet the FMLA requirements. Their employer needs to be of a certain size. The employee also has to work a certain number of hours. The Department of Labor enforces the rules.

  • Employers must have up to 50 personnel working within a 75-mile radius
  • Eligible personnel must have worked 1,250 hours within the last 12 months
  • The act protects mothers if they stop working prior to delivery because of complications. This also includes having to miss work due to OB/GYN visits and other prenatal care.
  • Intermittent leave allows workers to take a “reduced” schedule. This lets you take smaller periods off for doctor appointments.

Forms

Tell your boss as soon as possible if you think you need to apply for FMLA. Your employer should provide the forms for you. Your doctor will have to sign the paperwork before you return the completed documentation.

Complete the FMLA papers and present them to your employer. Some doctors may charge a fee for filling out the paperwork. It is the applicant’s responsibility to pay this fee.

Download the forms here directly from the Department of Labor website.

Questions

Employees working in Indiana often have many FMLA-related questions. Find quick answers to the most frequently asked questions.

  • How long does it last? You get 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • When should I call an attorney? You may want to speak to a lawyer if you feel like your employer is not following the rules or they are infringing on your rights.
  • What if I am collecting worker’s compensation?  You can receive FMLA and workers’ compensation at the same time. The reason for the absence must be due to a qualifying serious illness or injury.
  • What phone number should I call? There is no phone number, but you can call the US Department of Labor at 1-866-487-2365 for generic questions.
  • Can I file for unemployment while on FMLA? The act provides job protection. You cannot file for unemployment when you have a job.

Military Leave

Members of the armed forces have the additional benefit of an Indiana military leave law, the MFLA. Additionally, a federal regulation (USERRA) which protects the employment of military personnel.

Military Family Leave Act

The Indiana Military Family Leave Act (MFLA) requires employers to grant unpaid leave to family members of military personnel. Family members may take up to 10 days of unpaid time per year. The spouse, parent, grandparent, or sibling of a service member can apply. MFLA is available:

  • Within the 30-day period before beginning active duty
  • During the leave period while on active duty
  • During the 30-day period following return from active duty.

The MFLA applies to companies with 50 or more employees. The applicant must work at least 1,500 hours in the 12 months prior to applying.

(USERRA)

The Uniformed Services and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects Indiana military personnel. The USERRA has a few rules that employers of service members must follow:

  • Military service can not damage the employee’s civilian career.
  • Personnel must be promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty.
  • Employers cannot discriminate based on past, present, or future military service.

The USERRA also protects those who voluntarily or involuntarily stop working. This can happen if they need to care for their partner who is suffering from pregnancy complications.

Who Qualifies for Maternity Leave in Indiana

There is no stated-based Indiana employment law for maternity leave. Federal rules help some people. The FMLA covers teachers at primary and secondary schools. College professors will have to research their university’s policy. Fathers have their own rules. There are benefits for all state employees. Small business workers have to plan ahead.

Small Business Employees

Only one state-based law in Indiana offers maternity leave benefits for small business employees. However, several federal rules could apply.

The federal FMLA only covers companies with 50 or more workers. Therefore, it does not cover for many small businesses. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Indiana Civil Rights Act are more likely to help people working at small businesses.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Indiana Code does not have a state-based law protecting workplace discrimination due to pregnancy.

However, The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prevents employers from punishing women due to pregnancy and childbirth. The PDA applies to companies with 15 or more workers.

Individual small business owners are in charge of creating their own policies. If they do, then they have to apply the policies evenly and fairly. If a small business offers medical leave to some conditions, they have to cover pregnancies.

Individual small business owners must are in charge of creating their own policies. If they do, then they have to apply the policies evenly and fairly. If a small business offers medical leave to some conditions, they have to cover pregnancies.

Civil Rights Act

The Indiana Civil Rights law prevents employers with more than six workers from discriminating due to the employee’s sex.  Any company policy cannot impact one sex more than the other.

Fathers on Paternity Leave

The Indiana Code does not have a male maternity leave law. Fathers can take advantage of some FMLA paternity leave benefits but not others.

  • Fathers cannot file for short-term disability. The father is not disabled. The policy will not cover family members.
  • Fathers who are fired from their jobs can collect unemployment. This can happen if a father needs to stop working to take care of his wife recovering from pregnancy complications.
  • New fathers qualify for paternity leave. The federal act allows time off for birth, adoption, or caring for a sick family member.

Teachers & Educators

Federal FMLA covers Indiana teacher maternity leave. The federal rule offers specific rights for teachers, coaches, driving instructors, special education specialists, and sign language interpreters.

This supplemental FMLA rule only applies to teachers in both public and private elementary and secondary schools. They do not cover instructors in colleges, university, trade schools, and preschools.

The rule covers intermittent leave toward the end of the school term and giving birth during the summer recess.

Teachers should look in their employee handbook to figure out if their employer offers paid maternity leave. For example, the Indiana University policy allows twelve weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave.

State Employees

Federal FMLA guidelines cover Indiana state workers. However, the State Government Employee Handbook describes the option to take Family Medical Leave (FML). The state employee policy also grants other forms of paid and unpaid time off.

Family & Medical Leave

A program called Family Leave for Employees of Indiana State Government (FML) provides unpaid job protections. State workers can use FML in the following cases:

  • The birth of a child.
  • Placement of a child for adoption or foster care.
  • Caring for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.
  • For a serious health condition of the employee which prevents the person from performing their job.
  • A qualifying exigency due to the worker’s spouse, child or parent on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.
  • Caring for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

In addition, they can apply for the state’s Short/Long Term Disability program to cover their own health condition. The Indiana State Employee packet describes the rules.

Paid Sick Leave

Indiana state employees can use paid sick leave to care for an injured or ill immediate family member.

Full-time employees accrue paid sick time at the rate of 7.5 hours for every 2 months, plus 7.5 additional hours for every 4 months. Part-time workers earn sick leave at the rate of 3.75 hours for every 2 months, plus 3.75 additional hours for every 4 months.

Personal Leave

State employees earn personal leave at the rate of 7.5 hours for every four months. Part-time workers earn 3.75 hours every four months.

Sources:

  • MFLA: www.depauw.edu/handbooks/employee-guide/
  • FMLA questions
  • State Employee FMLA: www.in.gov/spd/
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