If you are pregnant or just had a baby, you are entitled to receive maternity leave to care for your child after he or she is born. The FMLA, or the Family Medical Leave Act, is a federal act that protects this right for eligible employees. Across the United States, women who just went through childbirth have the legal right to take medical leave from work during pregnancy and after the childbirth without the fear of losing their jobs. This can be slightly confusing when it is combined with certain company policies regarding maternity leave, but our Columbus FMLA attorneys at Coffman Legal have experience handling legal cases involving maternity leave and how it relates to the FMLA. The following are some of the key points to understand when it comes to the FMLA and what you should know if you recently went through childbirth or are currently pregnant.
FMLA Leave for Pregnancy or Parenting
FMLA is a federal law that states that eligible employees have the right to be given 12 weeks of leave from work per annum for medical and caregiving reasons. Part of this company-required and provided leave includes pregnancy disability and maternity leave. While the FMLA leave can be unpaid, you can choose to use your accrued paid leave (e.g. vacation or sick leave) during your FMLA leave.
While on FMLA medical leave, you will continue to receive group health benefits, but you will have to cover your normal share of the cost where applicable. Once your medical leave is over, the FMLA gives you the right to be reinstated to your former position at work with the restoration of your salary, benefits, and any other employment perks with no fear of retaliation or potential loss of a job.
The FMLA applies to employers who have at least 50 employees. While company policies differ slightly, every employee is eligible for leave if they have worked for a company for at least 1 year or for 1,250 hours or more in the year prior to taking the leave. Moreover, the employee must work in a place where the employer has 50 or more workers within a 75-mile radius to qualify for the FMLA.
If your employer does not allow you to take leave before or after having a child or denies you your job when your FMLA leave has ended, you may have a legal claim to take the leave, be reinstated, and may be entitled monetary damages.
Parenting Leave in Ohio
Once your child has been born and you have recovered physically from giving birth, you can choose to use the FMLA parenting leave, to care for and bond with your new baby.
This leave is part of the total 12-week allowance for time off. If you use 2 weeks of your FMLA leave during the pregnancy period, you’ll have 10 weeks remaining for parental leave.
If your employer is not large enough for you to receive FMLA, it is possible that you may also have a right to leave under Ohio law for medical leave associated with childbirth or pregnancy.
Questions or Issues Surrounding FMLA and Maternity Leave
The best thing you can do if you have questions about this topic is to consult with FMLA and maternity leave employment attorneys in Ohio. Our law group at Coffman Legal has years of experience helping people like you secure their rights and ensure their jobs and families are protected. Call us today to schedule a consultation with our Ohio FMLA lawyers.