Many residents of Missouri who are expecting a child may need to take time off from work. Parents should research the various state family and medical leave laws that exist.
Parents may find that their employer offers them benefits voluntarily.
Federal regulations provide unpaid job protections during maternity, paternity, and a family medical leave of absence. A handful of pregnancy discrimination laws protects workers from unequal treatment.
It is important to research what kinds of benefits you have. This article should help answer some common questions:
- What are the federal pregnancy laws?
- Does Missouri have FMLA?
- What types of leave of absence can I take?
Missouri Paid Maternity & Family Leave
Unfortunately, Missouri paid family leave laws are non-existent. But, there are ways to receive a form of income while parents are unable to work. Also, there are political movements to create a family and medical leave law in the Show-Me State.
Maternity Leave Assistance
No state-based ordinance currently exists. But, some parents find financial help instead of paid maternity coverage.
Maternity Leave Loan
Requesting special loans can provide parents with maternity leave assistance. You will have money sent to your bank account from the lender. The financial help lets parents pay their bills while the mother is home bonding with her baby.
Parents should have FMLA job protections before they take out a loan. Once maternity leave is over, the parents will have to pay back the loan once they start working again. If you lose your job, then you may have trouble making payments.
Unemployment While on Maternity Leave
Most parents cannot collect unemployment during maternity leave in Missouri. Yet, some rare situations allow for a woman to file a claim.
- Healthy women laid off (not “fired”) can collect unemployment insurance.
- Healthy women fired from a job can receive unemployment benefits while pregnant – but only sometimes. Stealing, harassment, drug possession, or other serious problems will disqualify you.
Women who quit their jobs to have a baby cannot collect unemployment. Mothers also cannot collect if they are unable to work. This also includes a pregnancy disability before delivery, or women recovering from childbirth.
Paid Sick Leave
Missouri does not have regulations that ensure paid sick days for employees. Individual companies decide if they will offer sick time compensation as a benefit to workers.
The state also does not have a law on unused vacation pay. Additionally, employees can hire a lawyer to help recover their earned vacation time if they have not received it.
Missouri Paid Leave Coalition
There is legislation underway to bring more benefits to help new parents. The Missouri Paid Leave Coalition formed in 2016 to support these measures.
The Missouri Earned Family and Medical Leave Program calls for 30 days of wage replacement benefits for all employees. This would cover anyone who needs to take off work for compelling reasons. These include caring for sick family members, their own health conditions, or bonding with a child after birth, adoption or foster care.
The coalition also supports House Bill 2806 and 2536. If the bills pass, it would be illegal to punish or discriminate against workers who receive family care benefits.
Missouri State Family and Medical Leave Laws
The Missouri Family Medical Leave (FMLA) laws are the same as every other state. It is important to get familiar with the nationwide act to see if it can help you out.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a United States law that grants job protections. The guidelines let workers take unpaid time off for up to twelve weeks during a 12-month period.
The program protects mothers who stop working before delivery because of complications. The act also protects women who miss work for OB/GYN visits and other pre-natal care.
Eligible employers must also offer intermittent leave, which allows workers to take a “reduced” schedule. This lets employees take smaller periods off for doctor appointments.
All covered employers must display the FMLA poster which describes the job protections and how to file a complaint.
Companies that must follow the FMLA rules need to have up to 50 people working within a 75-mile radius. In addition, workers who apply for assistance must have worked 1,250 hours within the last 12 months.
Let your employer know as soon as possible if you think you need to apply for assistance. Your employer should have the forms available for you. Your doctor needs to sign the paperwork before you return the completed documentation.
Give the completed FMLA papers to your employer. Some medical practices have a fee for filling out the paperwork. You are responsible for paying any fee that they charge.
You can download the FMLA application from the Department of Labor website.
Short Term Disability
Short-term disability in Missouri can help parents fill the primary gap in FMLA – the lack of income replacement. This private policy replaces some of your income while you are unable to work.
Short-term disability replaces a part of one’s income. It is available when you are unable to perform the duties of your job due to a covered medical condition. You must buy the coverage before becoming sick, hurt, or pregnant.
Private insurance companies offer short-term disability. The federal government enforces the FMLA.
Missouri Pregnancy Discrimination Labor Laws
Missouri residents might worry that having a baby will affect their job. Luckily, state and federal pregnancy discrimination laws protect them.
Human Rights Act
The Missouri Human Rights Act is a pregnancy discrimination law. The directive gives pregnant women the same benefits as other employees with temporary disabilities.
The benefits are either paid, unpaid, or not provided at all. Companies must treat all staff members the same when they request temporary disability benefits.
Federal Pregnancy Laws
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is a nationwide law enforced by the federal government. The PDA gives pregnant women the same job rights as other applicants or employees of similar abilities.
Under the PDA, an employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman if she is able to perform her job duties. An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman due to their prejudices. The PDA also protects pregnant women from discrimination in pay, job assignments, promotions, and other job terms.
Pregnancy Drug Testing
The state of Missouri treats drug and alcohol use during pregnancy as a disease. They focus on rehabilitating women. They provide treatment, as opposed to punishment, to pregnant women.
The law does not have any rules for pregnancy drug testing. Each doctor’s office or institution has their own set of rules for prenatal drug testing. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has more information about drug screening for pregnant women.
Maternity Leave Benefits in Missouri – Who Qualifies
A state-based enactment for maternity leave is not available. Nationwide laws such as the FMLA cover some people. The requirements are different for fathers, teachers, university faculty, and state personnel.
Paternity Leave for Fathers
Missouri paternity benefits help some fathers but not others.
- Able-bodied fathers cannot collect short term disability. The policy is not for spouses.
- Laid off fathers can collect unemployment. Dads who quit working to take care of his sick wife or baby are not ineligible.
- Unpaid paternity leave for fathers is available. The FMLA covers birth, adoption, or caring for a sick family member.
Teachers & University Employees
The FMLA provides special rights for Missouri teachers during maternity leave. The nationwide standard covers teachers, coaches, driving instructors, special education workers, and signers.
The specialized provision pertains to public and private elementary and secondary school workers. However, it does not apply to instructors in colleges, universities, trade schools, and preschools.
Read about the special provisions here. The rules cover intermittent leave toward the end of the school term and giving birth during the summer recess.
College professors should speak with their employers about offering paid time off. For example, the University of Missouri maternity and family sick leave policy works on a case-by-case basis. On the other hand, Missouri State University employee benefits follow the FMLA rules.
The Missouri State Employee leave policy offers time off to its personnel as a job perk. The comp time is distributed in different ways.
The state grants its government workers 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave. The policy follows the FMLA guidelines.
In 2017 Governor Eric Greitens passed an executive order. The change grants paid maternity and paternity leave to the state executive branch workers. The order allows six weeks paid time off for primary caregivers. Secondary caregivers receive three weeks.
All full-time state personnel receives annual leave. The amount earned is according to how many years they worked at their position.
- Staffers with less than ten years of total service earn 5 hours for each pay period. The maximum annual balance is 240 hours.
- Those who have completed ten years of total service earn 6 hours for each pay period. The maximum annual balance is 288 hours.
- Fifteen years of total service earns workers 7 hours for each pay period. The maximum balance is 336 hours.
Full-time state employees receive five hours of compensation for each semi-month of service. They work 80 or more hours before this occurs.