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Q&A: FMLA info?

What's FMLA, and how can I get the most out of it?

Re: What's FMLA, and how can I get the most out of it?

The Bump Expert

The FMLA (aka the Family and Maternity Leave Act -- learn more at the U.S. Department of Labor) is the federal law that makes your maternity leave possible. (It also applies to other situations where you might need to leave work for a while to take care of yourself or a family member with a serious health problem.)

This law, which applies to you if your company has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius and you've been there at least a year, entitles you to 12 weeks off in a 12-month period. While this leave is unpaid, it secures your position for when you return, and ensures that you continue to be covered under your employer's health insurance plan and other benefits.

A few things you might not know about the FMLA:

You can spread it out
Your 12 weeks technically don't have to be taken all at once. If you have pregnancy complications, you might want to take some before baby arrives. The rest can be taken anytime over the 12-month period that you work out with your employer. Since there are a few different ways to define "12-month period," talk with your company about its specific policies.

You might have to use their vacation days
Some (but not all!) companies ask employees to use paid leave (such as vacation and sick days) that's already been accrued as part of those 12 weeks of maternity leave. Though you might not be happy about "losing" those days, but look on the bright side -- you'll get paid! In fact, the law allows you to elect to use the paid days towards your FMLA leave, even if your employers doesn't require it.

You might have to pay for health insurance
Your employer is required to maintain your health insurance benefits, but you might have to cover your premiums for the time that you're away.

Different states have different laws
The FMLA applies to all states, but most enforce their own family and medical leave laws in addition to the federal ones. Check the National Conference of State Legislatures for your state's specific requirements. Tennessee, for example, offers 16 weeks of leave for childbirth, while some states (California and New Jersey, for example) offer partial wage replacement. Your employer might have varying policies too, so definitely look into your options.

Erin Walters

re: Q: FMLA info?

It's actually the Family and Medical Leave Act, not "Maternity". Most federal agencies have their own policies on leave, so definitely check with your own employer, not just the Dept. of Labor (though "Labor" is very appropriate for the subject here!).

candreco |

re: Q: FMLA info?

The link above didn't work!

SejalL |

Q&A: FMLA info?

FMLA, Family and Medial Leave Act was created to protect employees while they are on medical leave for either themselves or to take care of a family member. Your employer provides you with the paperwork ( a standard form) that then your doctor or family's doctor fills out and you turn into your human resource department at work. FMLA can only be used if you have worked at a job for a full year, worked at least 1250 hours in the past 365 days and there are more than 50 employees at your job location or within a 75 mile radius.

crystala1 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

FMLA is great! With my company I called a number and everything was done for me. I even get the 6 weeks off paid, which is amazing. I love my company. But it all differs with everyone's company as well as the state.

Dani_0601 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

Also, some companies have Short-term Disability that you can use during maternity leave that pays you the max. of $300 per week for 8 weeks during leave after you have used all of you vaca and sick!!! WOW love it.

babymorgansmom |

Q&A: FMLA info?

What about employees of companies that have less than 50 employees, are there any guarantees for us?

jennydowyl |

Q&A: FMLA info?

For employers with less than 50 employees, they are not subject to FMLA regulations and therefore their employees to not have any job protection while on leave. If you company has an STD/LTD program, ask your HR group whether or not going out on disability is considered a termination or a COBRA event. Most employers have an informal policy of not terminating employees until they transfer to a LTD claim at 90 days. You should also check to see if you state has a pregnancy disability program (like CA) which provides the same benefits, provides job protection and is run concurrent with FMLA.

ericaghmartin |

Q&A: FMLA info?

There is nothing for Freelancers - boo

RayJayBaby |

Q&A: FMLA info?

The newest link for the US Department of Labor - Family and Medical Leave Act: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm

SarahF007 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

My husband and I work for the same hospital and I was disappointed to find out that his 2 weeks paternity leave means I only get 10 weeks off....apparently the 12 weeks is for the whole family!

zims |

Q&A: FMLA info?

I love living in Saskatchewan Canada! We get a full year (52 weeks) of maternity leave with 65% of our wage...my employer even tops that up to 95% for the first 17 weeks! I get more time to spend at home with my new baby and can keep my accumulated sick and vacation days for when I return.

KendraMountney |

Q&A: FMLA info?

Check into your employer's FMLA policy sooner than later. I had assumed that I was eligible for FMLA, but after contacting HR I found out that I was not eligible. I had initially been hired as a temporary employee, worked at that status for a year, and then the position was made permanent and I have been in it for about 9 months. Turns out they do not count any of that temporary time toward the 12 months of employment required to receive FMLA, so I am out of luck! I was considering staying at home, so this wasn't a huge disappointment, but would have been had I planned to keep working!

lesliepoe |

Q&A: FMLA info?

Man, you ladies need to move to Canada! We get a year and depending on employer top up on wage too. I will have 95% of my regular wage for the entire year. Couldn't imagine only getting 12 weeks!

amber.lt@hotmail.com |

Q&A: FMLA info?

I think I need to move to Canada!

littlesisbride |

Q&A: FMLA info?

Im not sure what hospital/ state you live in but in NY we both get 12 weeks and work at the same hospital, plus under the act you can actually take up to a year off, though it is unpaid but I get to return to my same position.

KLDM |

Q&A: FMLA info?

All short-term disability leaves are different. Some companies have a Maternity Leave Policy, some make employees use STD (which pays you at different rates depending on the policy and your time with the company) and some companies don't have anything for Maternity Leave--in which case FMLA comes into play. As it has been stated before, if you meet the requirements (1 yr at company, company size of at least 50 employees, and have not taken FMLA the 12 months prior), your job MUST be held for up to 12 weeks. BUT, your company is not required to pay you. Speak with your HR rep... they have all the details.

afskinner |

Q&A: FMLA info?

FMLA actually stands for Family Medical Leave Act, not Maternity, however, maternity certainly falls under this act, for both moms and dads...not just moms.

Jennysez73 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

America is definately behind the times when it comes to maternity leave. God bless America but good job Canada! Way to be sincerely family focused.

Korshaw |

Q&A: FMLA info?

Many other countries have far better coverage for maternity leave than the US. My colleagues overseas will get 6 months to a year, while I'll be back in 3 months.

rachelleandjoe |

Q&A: FMLA info?

So, my due date is Jan 3, does that mean I can take 12 weeks in 2010 and 12 weeks in 2011? Since the FMLA rule is 12 weeks per 12 month period. Or am I mis-reading it?

Mdevall2006 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

So, my due date is Jan 3, does that mean I can take 12 weeks in 2010 and 12 weeks in 2011? Since the FMLA rule is 12 weeks per 12 month period. Or am I mis-reading it? You are misreading it. It's 12 weeks in a 12~month period. Meaning if you take a leave ending in 12/2010 you cannot take another one until 12/2011.

djtrench1011 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

We get 18 weeks in Alaska... But what about Paternity leave? I can't find anything on that...

NayaShardez |

Q&A: FMLA info?

FMLA is in a rolling 12 month period. So you would not be able to do 12 weeks in 2010 and 12 weeks in 2011.

kandjstead |

Q&A: FMLA info?

What if your company is not covered by FMLA?

mellie3108 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

The 12-month period is determined by the employer, so check with your employer to determine which method they use (calendar year, rolling forward or rolling backwards). Also, the FMLA allows employers to determine if the 12 weeks required by law per 12-month period is split between the mother and father or if each would receive 12 weeks of leave for those who work for the same company (for the mother's own serious health condition prior to the birth of a child or the parenting leave after the birth). Also check with your individual state for State FMLA as well as Pregnancy Leaves. Each state is different. I live in SD but we do not have a State FMLA; however, many of our neighboring states do (MN, WI, etc.) and often cover more employers than the federal law. New parents are also allowed, per FMLA, to take parenting leave after the birth of their child in order to bond with the child. However, the maximum amount of time is again 12 weeks and it must be used within the first 12 months after the birth of the child. Pay attention to notification requirements (especially for fathers) since most employers would follow the Federal notification requirement of a 30-day notice prior to taking leave as this would be seen as "foreseeable leave". Other types of leave (emergency C-sections, for example) would not require the 30-day notice since it would be considered unforeseeable and would require you to notify your company "as soon as practicable" or by following your company's attendance policy notification requirements. If you cannot tell, I work in HR and deal with this stuff everyday. Hope this helps!

nicmahl |

Q&A: FMLA info?

It was my initial understanding that FMLA benefits will cover a total of 12 weeks so I was thinking about saving up this time to stay home with my child after she is born. But, recently I was iinformed that FMLA benefits allow mothers to take off up to 1 month before delivery date and 12 weeks after delivery date. Was I misinformed?

edwardlinda |

Q&A: FMLA info?

My husband and I both teach in the same school district and we also hit a "wall" with the 12 week limit under FMLA....they told us we could only take 12 weeks combined HOWEVER...there is something called "family rearing" inwhich you can take additional time off. Therefore, my husband and I will be taking off a combined 16 weeks to be home with the baby. Each of us taking 6 weeks (FMLA) and 2 weeks (family rearing)...look into it because even our HR had no clue about this. We had to tell them!

TeacherStef |

Q&A: FMLA info?

I thought it was only 6 weeks! What is the deal if you haven't been there for a year?

Darcyrmc |

Q&A: FMLA info?

I found out that while I am on leave I still have to pay the monthly premium normally taken out of my check for health insurance.... no problem there, however, I also found out that if for some reason after 12 weeks I decide not to come back to work (quit my job), that I owe my company the $700 or so that they cover of our insurance- for each month I have been off. Total of around 2,000 bucks. Keep that in mind ladies, you never know how things are going to be in 12 weeks, especially if this is your first child, and while I do plan on going back to work, I find it daunting that if I decide to keep my insurance coverage while on maternity leave I HAVE to return to work or I owe them a boat load of $$$$!!

baby gray |

Q&A: FMLA info?

this is sorta on the subject, I have STD with accrued hours, but I'm not planning on going back to this job (i received a new offer for a much better job with much better money) I've been reading but does anyone know if they have to pay my STD plus my insurance?

TravisandJenn2007 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

In NJ you can take 4 weeks before the birth and 6 weeks after with NJ short term disability. Then you can also get 6 weeks of bonding time within the first year at the same pay rate as disability

Jesstastic |

Q&A: FMLA info?

in FL we are allowed to take UP TO 12 weeks under FMLA... we aren't garunteed the whole 12 weeks... Doctor has to write in the amount of time that is necessary. Talk to your doctors about their position on this - my OB will only write for 6-8 weeks for a standard vaginal delivery therefore unless i have issues during delivery or a c sectionI'm only going to be able to take the 6-8 weeks instead of 12 :(

JoannaGiron |

Q&A: FMLA info?

Hey, I live in NYC. My HR rep told me that I get 6-8 weeks leave based on my delivery and that I have to return back to work. My STD runs concurrently with FMLA. I get up to 12 weeks. I've been on the job for almost 6 years. I have to use all personal time off prior to me going on leave. I have to pay premiums for an additional voluntary STD. NY state only gives you $170 a week, something like that. The additional STD is something I have been paying for since last year. I would love to take the full 12 wks, but I was advised that I couldn't. However, when I went on the FMLA's website it stated I need to give the employer at least a 30 day notice to get the full week. I'm due Oct. 7th. My doctor already filled out my paperwork and I'm going to see if I can come back in 12 wks.

Valarie10711 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

A couple of people have commented on this issue, but I thought I'd post anyway...my husband and I work for the same company, and although he is entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA just like I am, family members are entitled to a COMBINED 12 weeks. So, any time he takes as FMLA counts against the 12 weeks that I can take. It's frustrating and seems unfair because most couples are not in this situation and would both be allowed to take the time, but it is what it is I guess. He will still be taking 2 weeks when the baby comes, but it will solely come out of his vacation time which stinks : (

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Q&A: FMLA info?

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Q&A: FMLA info?

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Q&A: FMLA info?

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watson012 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

Wow! We are really lucky in Canada... Quebec to be more specific... We get a whole year off, paid (at a percentage of your salary, of course). And your job is guaranteed when you get back.

irina_n314 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

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doklasushil |

Q&A: FMLA info?

My employer offers Short Disability for time off due to having your baby. Our pay is at a 100% for the full 12 weeks then they have a program that gradually gets you back to work full-time. So when you come back you only work 1/2 days for 2-4 weeks then at 6 week you will be back full time after your 12 weeks off. But since this is my last child there is no need for me to move to Canada although I love it there.

BabyCharlee |

Q&A: FMLA info?

i found out recently that if your company is under 50 employees they may have not elected into FMLA so you are not covered, as in my case.

paulanphil |

Q&A: FMLA info?

I'm in Louisiana but work for a company based out of Ohio, so I don't know which state law I fall under. I'm assuming Louisiana. But I can't take more time than the DOCTOR ALLOWS. Even if FMLA says I can take UP TO 12 weeks. The doctor has to recommend 12 weeks for me to qualify for that. But I do have STD that covers 60% of my pay and I only have to take 40 hours of vaca before that kicks in. I can also use vaca to make up the 40%. And I have enough for almost 8 - 9 weeks of vaca/ STD to stay home with my little girl. Don't assume, just because FMLA says you can take UP TO 12 weeks off of unpaid leave, your employer will allow that. Most companies follow what the doctor orders. So you may only get 6 weeks or so.

sdjurado84 |

Q&A: FMLA info?

as soon as my doc confirmed my pregnancy I went to my human resources dept. and asked for the paper work for FMLA, I happened to qualify for 12 weeks which is great b/c during the pregnancy I can take a few hours here and there for doctors appointment or if I need the day off for a sick day/mental health day.

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Q&A: FMLA info?

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Q&A: FMLA info?

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Q&A: FMLA info?

Here is a update to that link provided about State and Family Medical Leave Laws (state by state): http://www.ncsl.org/print/employ/fam-medleave.pdf

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