Maternity Leave Rights in Florida
Many states have set out laws that provide a certain number of weeks of family and medical leave for a new mother without fear of losing her job. California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey even provide for paid maternity leave and New York will provide paid leave effective in 2018. Florida, however, has no such law on the books protecting a woman’s job if she wants to take time off to recover from childbirth and bond with her new child.
Fortunately, many employees in Florida are still covered by federal employment laws and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides job security during time off for qualified reasons. Pregnancy, complications with pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption all qualify as valid reasons to request FMLA time from your employer. An employer can also never retaliate against anyone for taking valid FMLA leave through other means.
Employers with 50 or more employees must abide by the FMLA and provide this time off, assuring that the mother’s position will still be available when she gets back from leave. The eligibility requirements for employees require that the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the last year. Unfortunately, if you work in Florida and your employer is not required to follow FMLA rules or you are not eligible for FMLA time yet, you may not be guaranteed any job protections if you take time off after having a baby.
In addition to FMLA allowances, many employers have their own maternity leave policies. These policies can allow for longer leave or even for payment during all or part of the maternity leave. If an employer has such a policy, however, it must allow every woman who has a baby the same rights to paid or unpaid leave. An employer may be conducting unlawful discrimination if it does not apply the policy equally to all women who qualify.
Finally, in addition to maternity leave, all pregnant women in the workplace should be aware of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which specifically protects them from any type of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on their pregnancy or childbirth. Long gone are the days that employers can lawfully fire a woman simply because she chose to become a mother. Unfortunately, harassment and discrimination do still occur against pregnant women and mothers who take FMLA time off, and those women deserve to recover for the harm they suffered.
Call a Florida Employment Lawyer If You Believe Your Rights Have Been Violated
If you think that your employer has refused to let you take time off for your childbirth or adoption or has discriminated against you in any way because of your pregnancy, you should call the law office of employment attorney Robert S. Norell as soon as possible. We can advise you of your rights and help you hold your employer liable for their violations. Please call our office for help at 305-405-9243 today to discuss a possible claim.