What is Maternity Leave?
Maternity leave, also known as pregnancy or parental leave, is when an employee takes time off work in order to care for their newborn child. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employers must provide eligible employees with unpaid leave. Many states such as Massachusetts also have laws granting employees the ability to leave work to care for their newborn children. In some circumstances, employers must provide employees with paid maternity leave.
Who Qualifies for Maternity Leave?
To qualify for unpaid leave under the FMLA, employees must have worked full time for at least 12 months for their employer. Only certain employers are required to provide unpaid leave, such as government and public employers. Private employers who are engaged in interstate commerce and have 50 or more employees must also provide unpaid leave. Many state laws also require private employers to provide maternity leave in other circumstances.
Can a Lawyer Help Me with my Maternity Leave Issue?
An experienced employment lawyer can help an employee determine whether they are entitled to maternity leave. If an employee is treated differently because they took maternity leave or retaliated against, an employment attorney can advise you on whether you have a discrimination claim. An employment attorney can also help an employer determine whether it must provide its employees with maternity leave and benefits. If you are an employer and an discrimination or employee benefits action has been brought against you, contact an employment attorney to learn about your rights and legal defenses.