If you are expecting a baby, you may be worried about your career and what you will do once the baby arrives. Luckily, there are laws in place that protect your rights, allow you to stay home with your newborn, and safeguard your job. Female employees seeking maternity leave have more options than ever before and more rights than they realize. Employers who deny maternity leave or who violate the rights of their pregnant employees can be held liable for pregnancy discrimination.
Your Basic Maternity Rights Both Washington and Federal law allow pregnant women to take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid time off from work with employer-paid health benefits after the birth of a child. This leave is protected—meaning you cannot lose your job while you are on maternity leave.
This leave is a right—as long as you and your employer meet the requirements for the leave.
Eligibility for the Family Medical Leave Act and the Washington State Family Leave Act depends on a few factors:
- You must be employed for at least 12 months, AND
- You must have physically worked for 1,250 hours during the 12 month time, AND
- Your employer must employ at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
If you meet these requirements, your employer must hold your position for at least 12 weeks, and must maintain insurance coverage for you and your family members during this time.
If you do not meet the requirements or your employer does not meet the requirements, there may be other options available to you. Maternity leave is a complicated legal area of law and requires the expertise of a skilled Seattle employee rights’ law firm.
Washington employees must also agree to give pregnant women disability leave for pregnancy-related medical conditions, such as severe morning sickness, preeclampsia, bed-rest, and childbirth. No matter how much time she needs off from work, Washington employers should bring the woman back once her medical provider releases her and grants her a clearance to resume working. The pregnant woman and her physician decide when she is excused from work for medical related conditions—not the employer.
Choose a Law Firm Dedicated to Protecting Women’s Rights
Maternity leave is an important time for mothers and their newborn babies. During this time, your body is still healing from the delivery and you are adjusting to life with a new baby. Breast-feeding, doctor visits, and cesarean incisions are just some of the reasons why Washington lawmakers have fought so hard to afford women the right to maternity leave. In addition, this is a critical bonding time for babies and their mothers.
Sadly, many employers attempt to deny pregnant employees their full maternity leave in an attempt to save money and record higher profits. They may even harass or bully pregnant women into thinking they need to return early or risk losing their positions. Some companies even go so far as to fire pregnant women in lieu of paying them maternity leave that is rightfully theirs.
This is against the law—and the Seattle employee discrimination lawyers at Phillips Law Firm will fight aggressively to ensure that you receive all of the maternity leave to which you are entitled.
Call us today for a free consultation and review of your case at 1-800-708-6000.