Maternity Leave Laws

Need a sample maternity leave policy? Information on pregnancy disability leave? We can help with the latest on topics like disability maternity leave.

Creating a legally compliant maternity leave policy is harder than ever. When you need assistance, trust Business Management Daily to help you deliver.

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As you may have heard by now, the new health reform law includes a provision to protect nursing mothers who choose to pump breast milk at work. But it’s important to realize that 24 states still have their own laws on this topic. And you must follow whichever law—fed or state—gives the greatest protection to the employee.
Frequently, absenteeism problems arise because a company has no clear policy on the issue. A company policy statement should be distributed to all employees, indicating when and under what conditions an employee will be paid (or not paid) for absences.
Awe c’mon. An employee is obviously pregnant but you can’t even say the “p” word? Does the mere use of the adjective translate into legal liability? One court recently said “relax;” it’s okay to say a woman is pregnant. Just don’t make any employment decisions based on it or comment negatively. Still, it’s a bit tricky, as this case shows …

When it comes to employment lawsuits, HR is a lot like flying an airplane: The most risky parts of the trip are at the takeoff (hiring) and the landing (dismissal). With hiring, you can limit the employment-law risks by following the legally safe steps and training supervisors to do the same.

Some employees try to fabricate a lawsuit by resigning and then alleging that some form of discrimination made their working conditions so intolerable that they had no choice but to quit. The name of this claim: constructive discharge. Fortunately for employers, it takes more than a few isolated comments to create intolerable conditions. And, as the following case shows, the fear that working conditions will become intolerable isn’t enough to justify quitting before things get bad at work.

Q. Our pay stubs currently list employees’ available vacation, sick and other leave hours. Our new software allows employees to log in and check that balance anytime. Can we eliminate that information from the pay stubs?

Employees who run out of FMLA leave and are fired under a policy requiring mandatory dismissal for excessive absences may be invited to apply for other open positions when they recover enough to work. Be careful how you handle those reapplications, especially if one of the terminated employees was off because she was pregnant and ran out of leave before being able to return.

Some comments simply aren’t appropriate in the workplace—especially when the person weighing in is a supervisor or manager. Most bosses understand they can’t use ethnic or racial slurs, but many don’t understand that the same common sense applies to discussing family planning.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protects employees from discrimination based on pregnancy and related medical conditions. It doesn’t, however, let new mothers take off work when child care arrangements fall through, as the following case shows.

HR professionals must make sure that supervisors hear this message loud and clear: Don’t make any assumptions about what a pregnant woman can or cannot do. Voicing such presumptions and taking action based on them virtually guarantees a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

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