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What should I know about maternity leave?

Maternity leave is a confusing topic for expectant mothers in Florida. It’s crucial that you’re well aware of the facts in this case, which can help you identify whether your rights are being violated. The Cut answers the following questions about maternity leave so you can rest assured that you’re being treated fairly by your employer.

Will I be paid while on leave?

If you’re eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you’re privy to at least 12 weeks off due to childbirth or the adoption of a new child. However, federal law doesn’t require this leave to be paid, it only stipulates that your job will be reserved until you return. While some states do offer full or partial paid leave to new mothers, Florida is not one of them. However, some employers opt to provide pay during leave despite these laws.

Are fathers eligible to receive paternity leave?

FMLA also covers fathers when it comes to paternity leave. The same rules apply in this case; new fathers can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave provided their employer has more than 50 workers living within 75 miles of the workplace and the father has been employed for a year or longer.

When can I take maternity leave?

It’s up to the employee on when maternity leave is taken. In some cases, a new mother may want to wait until her baby is born so she can spend uninterrupted time bonding and caring for her child. In other instances, a mother may choose to begin to leave a week or two before she gives birth. This will help her prepare for the delivery process.

Can I add on sick days or vacation time to maternity leave?

This usually depends on the employer. Some actually require workers to use days accrued for their maternity leave, which means they wouldn't be tacked on to the 12-week period to extend the time. Other employers are willing to work with their employees to ensure they have enough time off to assume their new role as a mother. If you’d like additional time, it’s best to broach the issues human resources to see if you can’t negotiate an increase.

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