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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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Let's say someone requests a series of leave extensions for medical reasons. You approve them over several months until she’s used up all available accumulated leave—and then approve unpaid extensions in the hope she’ll return soon. At that point, you are free to ask if her doctor can provide a definite return date. If the answer is no, you can safely terminate her.
The EEOC is suing a Chick-fil-A res­­tau­­rant in Concord, alleging violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that almost any savvy HR professional would have known to avoid.
Here’s an important tip to pass on to all supervisors: Never speculate on why an employee may be performing poorly. Focus on the work and leave the psychoanalysis to experts. That’s especially true when you think an employee’s work may be affected by pregnancy or pregnancy-related complications.
Q. We are a small company and have seven employees. One of our employees recently went out on a leave of absence for pregnancy. During that time, we hired a replacement worker to do the same job. The replacement only worked part time, but was still able to complete work that our employee did full time. When our employee returns to work, we would like to change her job status from full time to part time. Is this legal?
Some things are best left unsaid. That includes any comments about how hard it must be for a mother to have a career and raise children. Tell managers to keep the topic out of their office chitchat.
Q. A while ago two of our employees developed a romantic relationship. They are now expecting a baby and both workers put in a request for family leave to bond with their newborn. Are we required to give both workers leave for the birth of their child—even if they are not married?

Regularly re­­mind bosses that they should never comment on an employee’s pregnancy, pregnancy-related problems or the desire to have children. Only two responses are appropriate: Congratulate the employee when things go well and offer condolences when they do not. Anything else may be interpreted as discrimination based on pregnancy.

It can be complicated to handle a pregnant employee when she can’t perform some part of her job. That’s because three federal laws—the ADA, the FMLA and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act—intersect to provide protection for some pregnant workers who have medical restrictions.
A recent decision by the California Court of Appeal illustrates just how complicated and costly it can be to discipline an employee who is on protected leave.
If an employee is experiencing pregnancy complications, it may not be enough to provide four months of leave under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law. For practical purposes, four months is the minimum leave employers are required to provide. You may owe more time off under the California FEHA, as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship on your business operations.
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