Many residents of Missouri who are expecting a child may need to take time off from work for many reasons: pregnancy disability before delivery, recovery from childbirth, baby-bonding time, or care of a sick infant and or spouse.

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the primary law offering legal job and health insurance protections during parental leave situations. However, only about half of the population qualifies for twelve weeks.

Also, the time off is typically unpaid – except for the lucky few who work for government employers, and those who purchased short-term disability in advance.

Learn where you fall and what to do.

Missouri Parental Leave Laws

Missouri does not have a parental leave law to supplement the federal FMLA (see below for further details). Therefore, do not expect to find a state-level regulation that fills in the apparent holes: compensation, duration, and eligibility.

Pay Amounts

Most people in Missouri take unpaid parental time off from work because FMLA does not require employers to continue compensating absent workers. Also, the state does not have a paid family leave benefit to close the gap.

However, there are always exceptions and ways to cope.

Loans

Requesting a personal loan can provide a family with temporary assistance during an unpaid parental leave. If approved, the lender will deposit funds directly into your checking account, which you can use to pay regular bills while bonding with your newborn baby.

Parents should have FMLA job protections before borrowing money. You may have trouble making payments if you lose your job while absent from work.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability creates maternity leave pay for women who purchase a personal policy at work before they conceive. The State of Missouri does not have a mandatory program covering temporary medical conditions, and you do not qualify for benefits if you enroll once you are already pregnant.

Therefore, future mothers must take matters into their own hands and act in time to receive partial income replacement benefits due to any of these valid claim reasons.

  • Complications of pregnancy before birth
  • Recovery from labor and delivery
  • Postpartum medical disorders that delay return to work

Unemployment Benefits

Collecting unemployment benefits may be possible for mothers after her maternity leave ends if she had to quit a job for a good cause reason related to her pregnancy. Missouri Statute 288.050 appears to carve out an exception for women facing this situation.[1]

  • Forced to quit her work because of pregnancy
  • Notified her employer of such necessity as soon as practical
  • Returned to that employer and offered her services
    • As soon as she was physically able
    • No later than 90 days after the end of the pregnancy

State Employees

Missouri state government employees in full-time positions can tap into their annual paid leave benefits to spend time bonding with a newborn baby. For example, a parent with less than ten years of service banks 5 hours per pay period, up to a maximum balance of 240 hours – or about 6 weeks.[2]

Service Years Rate Maximum
< 10 5 240
< 15 6 288
> 15 7 336

Also, state government employees get 5 hours of paid sick leave per bi-monthly pay period, which they can accumulate without limit. If only the taxpayers supporting this generosity had it so good!

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave for mothers in Missouri lasts up to twelve weeks as per FMLA guidelines – if they qualify. New moms have multiple ways to be eligible for this unpaid time off from work.

  • Her serious health condition such a pregnancy disability before birth (see below) and or postpartum medical disorders
  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care

Paternity Leave

Missouri paternity leave for fathers also lasts up to twelve weeks according to FMLA rules. New dads have different sets of qualifying reasons to tap into this unpaid time off from work, but the days go by just as quickly.

  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, who has a severe health condition
  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care

Missouri Family Medical Leave Act

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to Missouri workers as it does nationwide. The state has not enacted a supplemental regulation to extend the length of legal protections or expand the number of qualifying employees.

Therefore, only about half of the people in the Show-Me state enjoy these legal rights.

  1. Take job-protected time off without interference, restraint, or retaliation
  2. Have group health insurance maintained under the same terms and conditions
  3. Restored to the same or an equivalent position after the 12 weeks

Length

Missouri FMLA provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid legal protections for those who qualify. You must work for a covered employer and be an eligible employee – otherwise, zero weeks apply to your situation.[3]

Covered Employers

  • Private-sector employer, with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks
  • Public agency regardless of the number of people it employs
  • Public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of people it employs

Eligible Employees

  • Worked for the employer for at least 12 months
  • Logged at least 1,250 hours of service in the last 12 months
  • Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius

Pregnancy Leave

FMLA in Missouri during pregnancy leave warrants a detailed discussion because of the extremely long periods that are possible and the lack of compensation.

A woman experiencing medical complications of pregnancy qualifies to take leave due to her serious health condition under FMLA rules. However, her time off may exceed the 12-week limit, depending on when it starts.

  • Beginning in the 2nd trimester: 24 weeks before giving birth
  • Starting in the 3rd trimester: 12 weeks before labor and delivery

As you can see, an early pregnancy leave quickly exhausts the legal safeguards. These women must risk job loss to spend time bonding with their baby and recovering from childbirth.

Furthermore, an extended bed rest disability is often unpaid. Women should take advantage of every possible financial assistance resource to make ends meet.

Forms

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services maintains an online library of the FMLA forms that you need to complete. Download and print the PDF version, complete the paperwork with your doctor and submit the signed document to your employer.[4]

  • Health Care Certification for Employee’s Serious Health Condition
  • Health Care Certification for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition

Also, because FMLA is a federal regulation, employees can access the same paperwork at the US Department of Labor website.

[1] Missouri Revisor of Statutes

[2] MO Office of Administration

[3] US Department of Labor

[4] MO Department of Health & Senior Services