Childbirth is a special moment in the life of an individual or family, but its implications in the work environment can be confusing to the uninitiated. Many women may be unfamiliar with the laws regulating maternity and other types of disability leave.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees qualified employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy or other medical reasons. To qualify, an employee must either be a full-time government employee, or an employee of a company with 50 or more employees who has been employed by the company for at least 12 months and has worked 1250 or more hours in the 12 months preceding the leave.
Accrued paid leave may be exercised in place of the guaranteed unpaid leave. In the case of expected maternity leave, the employee must alert the employer to the required leave 30 days in advance.
When a worker returns from maternity leave, she is entitled to the same position which she left. If the position is no longer available, the employer must provide a job with equivalent pay, benefits, and duties.
Employers must allow female employees to take maternity leave, and any discrimination against employees who take maternity leave is against the law. Additionally, there are laws in place ensuring fathers an opportunity to take paternity leave from their jobs to allow them time to bond with their new child. The laws governing paternity leave are nearly exactly the same as those regulating maternity leave.
If you or someone you love has been denied maternity or paternity leave, contact the Austin employment lawyers at The Melton Law Firm by calling (512) 330-0017.