It can be very exciting welcoming a new baby. Both parents may desire to take time away from work to bond with their baby. Thankfully, the U.S. government has passed legislation that protects the rights of pregnant women, new mothers, and new fathers when it comes to taking time off work for baby-related issues.
Facts about paternity and maternity leave.
It is important to know that pregnant women are entitled to a discrimination-free workplace according to the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise treat pregnant women in a manner that is discriminatory because of her pregnancy. If an employer finds out that a woman is trying to conceive the anti-discrimination laws apply here as well.
During the pregnancy, the woman may have to take time away from work. If she needs to take more than the amount of sick or vacation days permitted, the employer should ensure that her position is kept open and permit her to take the time through the temporary disability program. Any company that provides health insurance as an employee benefit must insure that the insurance provides for a pregnancy.
After the birth of the child mothers will take time away from work to heal from the delivery and tend to their new baby. New fathers may decide to take time off as well. Even though some employers provide paid leave for a short time for new parents, all companies are by law required to allow paternity leave and maternity leave.
The Family Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees the chance to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for maternity or paternity leave, during adoption, caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, caring for yourself if have a serious health condition, or responding to the call of duty for a person in the National Guard or Reserves. Employers must keep the person’s position open for when he or she returns.