Are You Entitled to Payment or Benefits When You Go on Maternity Leave? What You Need to Know
Pregnant women are entitled to the same rights as individuals with other medical conditions and must be treated fairly on the job. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 allows pregnant women and their partners to take maternity leave for up to twelve weeks. Pregnant women often have a lot of questions regarding this act and wonder whether or not they are entitled to payments and benefits.
What Should You Know About the FMLA?
Pregnant women need to be aware of their rights to maternity leave benefits so they can do everything possible to protect those rights. There are some important facts to ponder regarding the act and what it does and does not provide for pregnant women.
- Not all companies are required to offer maternity leave. Companies with at least 50 employees are required to provide leave.
- Eligible employees must have been working with the company for at least a year and at least part-time before being granted maternity leave.
- A woman is allowed to continue working as long as she can safely and effectively perform her job. Under the act, women cannot be forced to take maternity leave.
- Most companies allow pregnant women to use their sick and vacation days during their maternity leave, but this varies among employers.
- FMLA is also available for those who adopt a child or give birth through a surrogate. The pregnant woman’s partner also has the right to take leave to provide for her and the baby’s care.
Are You Entitled to Benefits?
It is important to note that not all states have enacted paid maternity laws. There is no federal law in place that requires states to provide paid leave. As of now, there are only four states that offer paid maternity leave including New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
Although most states have not adopted laws for paid maternity, some employers offer paid leave for the good of their employees. Those who are not offered paid leave may be able to take advantage of medical disability payments and sick and vacation days.
Pregnant women are given the right to keep their insurance during their leave period, but they must pay for the premiums out of their own pocket. Failure to pay these premiums could result in a cancellation of the policy.
Know Your Rights
It is imperative you are aware of your rights and do everything you can to protect them. Your employer cannot fire you because you are pregnant and cannot discriminate against you in any way. Employers must provide modifications for pregnant women so they can continue to perform their jobs safely and effectively.
If an employer fires a pregnant employee unfairly, the woman has a right to seek legal help. Pregnant women have the same rights as those with other medical conditions. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects women in the workplace and ensures their rights are afforded to them under the law.
If you are a pregnant employee, it is imperative you are aware of your rights and the steps you must take to pursue your twelve weeks of leave. Check with your employer regarding their maternity leave policy so you will know the benefits you will be offered.