Maternity Leave and Work Issues

If you are planning to become pregnant, you need information about the policies in your workplace. For instance, your employer must inform you of any workplace hazards that could affect your pregnancy. Possible hazards include lead, ethylene oxide, ionizing radiation, and dibromochloropropane. Your policy manual should state your employer's policies regarding maternity leave and vacation time.

Your health care provider or midwife can tell you if your pregnancy will require extra visits, extra rest, or any work restrictions. Some women fear workplace discrimination regarding pregnancy, such as taking time for childcare and breastfeeding. But it is illegal for most employers to discriminate on these bases. If you develop problems during your pregnancy, your employer is required to treat your pregnancy like any other medical disability. This is part of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, employees are eligible for unpaid leave for illness or pregnancy and birth, and their group health benefits maintained if they:

  • Have worked for their employer at least 12 months
  • Have worked at least 1, 250 hours over the past 12 months
  • Work at a location where the company employs 50 or more people within 75 miles of that location

Eligibility is determined under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Make sure you get the right paperwork from your employer, and bring it to your provider.

Review Date: 8/20/2019
Reviewed By: LaQuita Martinez, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Alpharetta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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