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Understanding your rights during maternity leave

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2023 | Employment Law

In today’s modern workforce, women have made significant strides in their professional careers. Despite that progress, issues of employee rights during maternity leave persist.

One concerning situation that women sometimes face is being fired while on maternity leave. It is important for all employees, especially women preparing for or currently on maternity leave, to understand their rights in such situations.

Federal laws protect maternity leave rights

According to the United States Department of Labor, 85% of working women will become mothers during their careers. The United States has several federal laws that safeguard women’s rights during maternity leave.

One of the most significant pieces of legislation is the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under FMLA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family and medical reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child. This law ensures job security during this time.

Employer responsibilities during maternity leave

Employers have specific responsibilities regarding their employees’ maternity leave rights. They must grant eligible employees their FMLA rights and maintain any health benefits for employees on maternity leave.

As an employee, your coverage remains intact throughout your time off. Additionally, employers cannot retaliate or discriminate against an employee for taking maternity leave or using FMLA rights.

Legal remedies for maternity leave violations

If an employer violates a woman’s rights by firing her while she is on maternity leave, legal remedies are available to her. She can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or seek assistance from relevant state labor agencies. If a resolution is not reached, she can pursue legal action.

Federal laws exist to safeguard maternity leave rights. By understanding these rights, women can protect their careers and the well-being of their growing families.

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