Maternity Leave & Your Rights

LeaveIt can be extremely difficult to figure out how to handle maternity leave, especially if the laws are not clearly defined. An employer can easily make things quite difficult, so even if you are not currently pregnant or even thinking about getting pregnant in the future, it is extremely wise to study up on the process. There are certain laws and regulations that must be followed, although the exact specifications may be different from employer to employer. 

Defining Maternity Leave


Maternity leave covers two separate times during early motherhood. The first section of time involves a period of roughly two months, both before and after the actual birth. The section portion of maternity leave covers a period of time that is allowed for a person to take care of their baby after recuperating. The actual terms are going to vary slightly, but you can generally expect about twelve weeks after giving birth.

Covered by Maternity Leave


In order to be covered for maternity leave legally, an individual must meet a few requirements. For example, a woman can’t simply get hired and immediately go on maternity leave. She must have been working for the company for at least twelve months, as well as have worked 1,250 hours. The company she is employed by must also have at least fifty workers within a seventy-five mile radius. 

Obligations of an Employer


The FMLA requires that an employer do a handful of things when a mother takes time off for maternity. The first requirement is that the employer allows twelve weeks off for the new mother to care for her new baby. She must also be entitled to return back to work at the same level of employment that she had before going on maternity leave. She must also be afforded the same level of health insurance while she is away on maternity leave.

Additional Laws


There are certain circumstances where a woman may not be fully covered by such maternity laws, which can make things very stressful. These types of situations can arise if an expecting mother is working for a company that has fewer than a certain amount of employees, as well as a handful of other situations. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is a great resource for families to look up if you do not have many options for maternity leave with your employer. 

Disability Insurance


Pregnancy is one of those times when income is absolutely critical, although there is no question that some women are going to be cut off from their wage at work. If this is the case, you may want to look into disability insurance, which can be accessed in a handful of states. While there are only five states that provide this type of disability insurance to those women who need the money during maternity leave, these programs have helped out quite a few families. It pays great dividends to seek out these types of disability programs if you think you may have financial issues during pregnancy and maternity leave.

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