Get the facts: Your parental leave rights

So you’re having a baby, huh? There are about 2 million things to figure out before your bundle of joy arrives, but the one thing that shouldn’t have you panicked is work. Unfortunately, the U.S. is grimly behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to paid parental leave.

According to the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, the only other country that doesn’t guarantee paid leave for new mothers is Papua New Guinea. Awesome.

Nevertheless, be aware of your rights before you have “the talk” with your employer to ensure you have the most time possible to get to know your little one.

Currently, the Family and Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees of covered employers to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave without disruption of health insurance coverage after the birth, adoption or foster care placement of your child.

You are eligible if you have:

Worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months

Worked at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave

Worked at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles

Your employer is covered if it is:

A public agency

A local education agency

A private sector employer who employs 50 or more people

Other facts to know:

You can substitute paid leave (sick or vacation leave) to cover some or all of FMLA leave.

When you return from FMLA leave, you are guaranteed the same job or an equivalent job.

You are entitled to unconditional pay increases while on leave, such as cost of living increases and unconditional bonuses.

Your employer must provide critical notices about the FMLA, and you must give your employer notice of leave as well.

For more info information, visit

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