The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is supposed to be helpful when it comes to maternity leave. In some...
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is supposed to be helpful when it comes to maternity leave. In some ways FMLA is useful, but it's sad when all you can say about your maternity leave laws is that, "Well, it's better than nothing." FMLA is better than nothing - just not by much. FMLA is designed to offer "Eligible employees up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:"
  • The birth of a baby.
  • The adoption of a baby or child.
  • The placement of a foster child.
  • To care for a seriously sick family member - it must be a health condition requiring advanced care.
  • To allow the employee to take sick leave if they have a serious health condition.
Often basic sick leave falls under the FMLA act at many workplaces - although that's not really what it was created for. There are some major flaws with FMLA such as not all women and families are covered with the act. You have to have a specific number of employees in your company, and you have to have been working for a specific amount of time. To further complicate FMLA many states create their own rules and regs in addition to the basic FMLA rules. See the state vs. federal FMLA laws. Another problem with FMLA, besides the fact that not all women are covered, is that it offers very little protection against pregnancy discrimination - a botched FMLA case is tough to prove. There are people who can help you if you've been fired due to pregnancy. Lastly, is that the FMLA is so non-specific. That's the biggie issue. FMLA is sort of lumped together with sick leave, family care leave, and in some cases disability. Pregnancy is not sick leave or disability leave (not technically) - you're not sick, you're having a baby. The fact that it's not separate make the issue problematic, say, if in one year a family member falls ill and you are pregnant. How can you divvy up your leave time - you can't - not very well when you're only alloted 12 weeks per year. The good news in the US is that some companies do value pregnancy and parenting. Some companies create their own leave policies. They're few and far between, but it does occur. Later today, I'll share some resources about how to handle maternity leave, more info on FMLA, and how to find the money to take your maternity leave. Don’t forget to enter our welcome to spring contest - you could win a baby sign language book!

Tags: fmla pregnancy discrimination state vs. federal fmla laws the family and medical leave act

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