Question: I am having a baby and want to take some time off from work after the baby's birth. How much time am I entitled to take?
Answer: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year with continued group health insurance coverage during the leave for specified family and medical reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child, or placement of foster children.
The first step is to determine if your employer is covered under the Act. The Act covers private employers who employ 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. Public agencies, as well as public elementary and secondary schools, are covered employers regardless of the number of employees.
The next step is to determine your eligibility under the Act. To be eligible, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, have worked at least 1250 hours during the past 12 months, and work at a location where your employer employs at least 50 employees at the site or within 75 miles of the site. The 12 months you are required to have worked for your employer do not have to be consecutive. FMLA is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division in the Employment Standards Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Some states have laws that are more generous than the federal law. Check with your regional Women's Bureau office or local Wage and Hour Office for information about your state's law. In addition, some employers offer more generous benefits than the federal and state laws, so check your employee handbook or personnel policies, or talk to a human resources officer in your organization.