Being a working mother is not always easy and sometimes employers can make your life even more difficult. Restricting job opportunities and paid leave, even firing or laying off employees who need to take time to help their families is unfortunately not uncommon in the workplace. However, there are protections in place for mothers trying to balance work and family.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that can help families and mothers. The FMLA gives working people the opportunity to take unpaid, and in some cases paid, leave for up to 12 weeks, without the possibility of losing their job. It also protects employees from losing their health benefits during this time.
Who does it apply to?
The FMLA covers State, Federal and local employers, including schools. The FMLA also covers private employers who have more than 50 employees.
What are your rights?
If you work for one of these employers for 12 months or 1,250 hours, you are entitled to FMLA leave. You can take FMLA leave if you are too sick to work, have to care for a sick family member or have recently given birth or need to care for a newborn child. This act also covers leave for employees who adopt or provide foster care for a child.
If you think your employer violated your protections under the FMLA, you have options. Consulting an experienced employment lawyer can help you evaluate your situation better. Working mothers spend a lot of time and effort balancing their lives, and the FMLA was designed to help.