FMLA and Pregnancy

FMLA and Pregnancy

Question:  A pregnant employee has gone on leave 4 weeks before the baby is going to be born. Do I have to give her all 12 FMLA weeks after it’s born, too? Sixteen weeks is a lot!

Answered by the HR Experts:  Eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave in a benefit year for qualifying reasons, regardless of any other leave they have taken during the year. An employee may take FMLA leave for their own serious health condition as well as to bond with a newborn baby. Being unable to work because of a pregnancy qualifies as a serious health condition.

If the pregnant employee is starting her leave now because she is unable to work, then her 12 weeks of FMLA starts now. Using 4 weeks of FMLA before the birth will reduce the amount of FMLA she has available for bonding purposes after the baby is born. In other words, she will have 4 weeks of FMLA before the birth and 8 weeks of FMLA after the birth, for a total of 12 weeks.

If she is starting leave before the birth because you have a policy that allows pregnant employees to take a certain amount of leave regardless of FMLA, you should follow that policy. However, the use of non-FMLA leave does not reduce her entitlement to the full 12 weeks of FMLA.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to check state law. It’s possible she will have additional leaves available to her if she experiences a pregnancy-related disability.

Original content by the Mineral Platform. This information is provided with the understanding that Payroll Partners is not rendering legal, human resources, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from a lawyer, HR consultant or other professional.