What Are Your Options if You’re Pregnant, Part 2: Maternity Leave – Family and Medical Leave Act

In February, we posted a blog about SDI and PFL for expectant parents. This blog article will provide insight into another option that expectant parents have during pregnancy or after the birth of a child.

Family and Medical Leave Act, or hereafter referred to as FMLA, provides 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period of time, to (1) care for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; (2) to care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition; or (3) due to the birth or adoption of a child.

In order for FMLA to be applicable, the employer must meet certain requirements. In particular, a covered employer can exist in one of three scenarios: (1) a private employer who employs 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year; (2) a public/ private, elementary or private elementary or secondary school regardless of how many employees are employed; and (3) a public agency regardless of the number of employees it employs.

In addition, for an employee to be eligible for FMLA coverage, an employee must (1) work for a covered employer; (2) work for 1,250 hours within a 12-month period of time prior to the start of the leave; (3) work at a location with 50 or more employees or within 75 miles of it; and (4) have worked for the employer for 12 months.

For an employee wishing to use FMLA, and when the need for leave is reasonably foreseeable (based on an expected birth, for example), an employee must give at least 30 days notice. If 30 days is not possible, an employee is required to provide his or her employer with notice as soon as practicable. After an employee notifies his or her employer of the need for leave, the employer must notify an employee of whether the employee’s leave is covered under FMLA within five business days of (1) the employee requesting leave; or (2) the employer learning that the leave may be for a FMLA-qualifying reason.