Family and Medical Leave Act helps pregnant women

When a person is expecting a baby, he or she naturally makes many preparations. The nursery has to be set up and decorated, the bottles must be purchased and the baby’s car seat must be installed. Still, one important preparation must be considered: to secure one’s employment situation during the period when one will be at home caring for and bonding with the new bundle of joy. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is designed to make sure that a woman’s job is protected in this case in Wisconsin.

The United States, unfortunately, doesn’t have many companies that offer paid maternity leave, compared with other countries around the world. Under the FMLA, an individual who works at a business with a minimum of 50 workers may rightfully take 12 weeks or less off to take care of a new child, although these weeks off are unpaid. Following that period, a person can return to his or her job with the same working conditions, benefits and pay he or she previously received. Furthermore, even while a person is on leave, the person still receives the same health coverage enjoyed prior to the leave.

People who can take leave include fathers and mothers of new babies, pregnant women, parents who just adopted children and employees who have seriously sick family members. Employees who are seriously sick themselves can also take leave. Independent contractors cannot take advantage of FLMA — only part-time and full-time workers can.

In addition, a person must have worked at a company for a minimum of 12 months for 1,250 hours or more in order to be eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act benefits. When a person wishes to take a leave under FMLA, but faces resistance from an employer, this can add stress to what may already be a stressful and busy medical or family situation. The individual, however, can take legal action in order to defend his or her rights in Wisconsin.

Source: keepmecurrent.com, “For moms-to-be, a medical-leave primer“, Karen Bilodeau, May 19, 2014

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