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My Rights Regarding Maternity Leave

Pregnancy is a fantastic, drastically altering experience for practically all American women.

maternity rights

Many women are granted maternity leave from their employers before and after giving birth.

But regrettably, some people may have trouble getting maternity leave. If your employer refuses to respect your employee rights regarding maternity leave, you should discuss your alternatives with a lawyer using LegalShield's personal legal plan. However, you should first familiarize yourself with the local, state, and federal maternity leave rules.

What you should know about maternity leave is detailed below.

Maternity leave: what is it?

A special kind of leave called maternity leave enables new mothers to take time off from work to spend quality time with and take care of their infant. Depending on the employer and the employee's circumstances, it may be compensated or uncompensated.

In the US, paid maternity leave is uncommon. 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave are guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), although this regulation only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. Fewer Americans who work for businesses have access to paid family leave, and even fewer have access to paid maternity leave.

However, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, which became effective in October 2020, stipulates that employees of the government are entitled to 12 weeks of paid parental leave automatically.

States have different maternity leave regulations. In certain circumstances, paid maternity leave is available under the legislation of some states.

What are my rights during maternity leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal legislation that mandates that companies offer maternity leave (FMLA). For specific familial and medical reasons, the FMLA allows eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.

An employee must have worked for a covered employer for at least a year and 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to the commencement of the leave in order to be qualified for FMLA leave. A public organization, a private or public elementary or secondary school, or a private firm with 50 or more employees are all considered covered employers.

Only new mothers who require time off to bond with their infants are covered by the FMLA. Adoptive parents are OK, according to the DOL.

While an employee is on leave, their job must be protected under the FMLA. This means that the employer cannot give the employee's job to someone else and must keep it available for them. When an employee or independent contractor returns from a leave of absence, they must be given their old position back or one that is as as rewarding financially.

Employers are not required by the FMLA to pay their workers while they are on leave. However, some employers still decide to do it. Neither state nor local legislation, nor the federal government, oblige employers to offer paid maternity leave.

What regulations govern maternity leave?

In addition to the FMLA, which we have studied about, there are also other federal regulations to take into account, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. To find out your rights, speak with a lawyer in your state as most have maternity leave-specific regulations.

Having issues taking a maternity leave?

There are a few options available to you if taking maternity leave is becoming difficult. You should first speak with your employer. They might not be aware of their state's maternity leave laws, or they might have policies that go beyond what is required by law.

You can complain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you are still having issues (EEOC). The EEOC is in charge of upholding federal laws that prohibit employers from treating employees unfairly.

Before filing a complaint, you should think about getting legal representation to strengthen your case. Find the best attorney with a LegalShield personal plan, and chat with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you obtain the justice you are entitled to.

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