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The Family And Medical Leave Act

Your pregnancy was perfect.  Delivery was painful but normal.  Baby is adorable.  All you want to do now is hold your child, sing lullabies, and rock your beautiful newborn to sleep.  Fortunately, federal law may require that your employer provide you with up to 12 weeks of leave to do exactly that.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires most employers with at least 50 employees to give their employees up to 12 weeks of leave to care for their newborn child. 

To qualify for the leave, an employee needs to have worked for the employer for at least a year and have worked at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months.  The employee must also work in a location where the employer employs at least 50 individuals within a 75 mile radius. 

While you donít have to take FMLA immediately after the birth of your child, any leave you take to bond with your child must end within one year of the birth of your child.

Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for requesting leave under FMLA.  In fact, your employer must provide you with information regarding your right to take FMLA leave.

You also have obligations under FMLA.  Most importantly, you must notify your employer of your intent to use FMLA.  Generally, you need to give your employer 30 days notice of your intent to take leave.  If an unexpected emergency arises, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible.  Your spouse or other family member can provide notice on your behalf. 

So long as you provide reasonable notice in an emergency, your employer cannot refuse to grant you leave if you would otherwise qualify for FMLA.  On the other hand, if you have a normal pregnancy and birth and did not tell your employer of your desire to take FMLA after your childís birth, your employer may require that you wait to take leave until the requisite notice period has passed.

FMLA leave is unpaid, though there may be other laws such as California Paid Family Leave that can provide you with some income during your leave. 

Also, FMLA is the federal law regarding taking leave for the birth of a child.  California has its own laws relating to family leave.  While often similar to federal law, it is important to understand that there are distinctions.  In fact, California law often provides greater protection for pregnant women. 

For more information on the Family Medical Leave Act, or other leave time available to pregnant women and parents, visit LAPregnancy's sponsor today at or call Attorney Sarah B. Schlehr directly at (310) 492-5757.

This Belly Scoop has been sponsored by Sara Schlehr, The Pregnancy Lawyer for you!


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Sarah Schlehr, your pregnancy lawyer






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