Does my employer have to give me maternity leave?

| Jul 3, 2018 | Firm News

Pregnancy can be an exciting but scary time for you as it is a time of change. A change that may worry you as an expecting mom is how you will balance a career with a family. You may be curious about your rights regarding paid or unpaid maternity leave. The unfortunate reality is that some employers may not understand the rules of medical leave, which may lead an employee to worry about the status of their job. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the law women may rely on as it will protect your job for up to 12 weeks after giving birth or adopting a child. Though the law does not require your employer to pay you for your time off, it requires that your job be waiting for you when you return.

Your workplace size, length of employment and hours worked may impact your eligibility for maternity leave. The FMLA protects you if you have been with your employer for 12 months among 50 or more employees who live within 75 miles of the location. Your leave may be circumstantial as some states fund paid maternity leave while others don’t.

FMLA in Colorado

Though Colorado does not have its own state law regarding your time off, employers must abide by federal laws. Colorado amended the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act that protects you from harassment and discrimination during your pregnancy.

The CADA prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, religion, disability, race, age, and other protected classes. As a pregnant woman, you have the same rights as any other temporarily disabled individual under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Returning from leave

When returning to work after leave, you should be able to continue your job just as you left it. This means that your status should be the same, along with the pay you were receiving before your time off. Your employer should be providing benefits and opportunities like they did before your leave. If this is not happening, you may be experiencing discrimination and a violation of the FMLA.

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