The term "maternity leave" encompasses two types of leave.
The FMLA covers those who meet each of the following criteria:
If all of the above criteria are met, the FMLA requires a company to:
However, a company can require an employee to make vacation and sick days part of the 12 weeks off.
If your employer is not bound by any leave laws, you may find help through the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. If your company has 15 or more employees and held a person's job during another type of medical disability -- say, a heart attack or car accident -- then it must reinstate you after medical disability due to pregnancy.
Another option for wage replacement is temporary disability insurance. Only five states (New York, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico) have state-run temporary disability plans. These only cover those weeks during which you're medically unable to work, and it excludes fathers and adoptive parents.
If you have questions about what you're legally entitled to, contact:
9to5, National Association of Working Women For advice from the Job Survival Hotline, call 800-522-0925.
National Partnership for Women & Families For information on the FMLA and various state laws, call 202-986-2600 or their Web site.
U.S. Department of Labor For more information on the FMLA, or if you are denied leave or reinstatement to work, call 800-827-5335 or visit their Web site.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.