FMLA, No. Maternity Leave, Yes.

By Jack Tuckner, Esq.

You know what always annoys me – when companies lie to pregnant women, and tell them that they are not entitled to maternity leave, because they are not covered by the FMLA. You are entitled to maternity leave-you’re having a baby–you work for a company – you are entitled to maternity leave. The FMLA has got nothing to do with it. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 does apply, and does provide 12 weeks of unpaid protected leave for the birth or adoption of your baby in addition to other protected reasons, if you work for a company that has at least 50 employees, and you’ve worked for this company before your baby is born for at least one year. That’s a good thing if you happen to have that, and qualify.

But if you don’t, if your company is smaller than 50 employees, or you haven’t worked there for an entire year before your baby was born, you’re still entitled to maternity leave. You’re still entitled to have time to give birth to your baby and recover, typically for at least 6, 8, 10, or 12 weeks, depending, but you are entitled to a reasonable period of time, to convalesce, bond with your baby, and get back to work.

Otherwise, it’s illegal sex discrimination, disability discrimination, and pregnancy discrimination. So, if your employer is giving you a hard time about taking required leave to rest when your baby is born, or telling you that you’re not covered or qualified because you are not FMLA-protected, they are making that up, and they are misrepresenting the law, and you need to hold them accountable.

Just make sure you don’t quit your job when you hear that from your employer. And if you need further assistance, or you want to brainstorm with us about your particular workplace challenge with regard to maternity leave, give us a call here at Tuckner, Sipser, Weinstock & Sipser, we’re the women’s rights in the workplace attorneys. The consultation is always free of charge.