Your Right to Time Off Work FAQ

Do I have the right to take time off when I have a baby -- and is that time paid?

You may have the right to take leave under your employer's policies, state law, or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For example, if your employer provides time off for parenting or pregnancy, you may use that leave if you are eligible. Even if your employer doesn't provide pregnancy leave, you may be entitled to take time off during the time you are unable to work due to pregnancy if your employer provides leave for other temporary disabilities. For more information on time off for pregnancy and parenting, see Nolo's article Taking Pregnancy Leave and Parental Leave.

The FMLA requires larger employers to give covered employees up to 12 weeks of leave per year to care for a new child. You can also use FMLA leave for prenatal care and complications from pregnancy that prevent you from working. FMLA leave is unpaid, but you may use your accrued paid leave during FMLA leave, as long as you meet the requirements imposed by your employer. For information on the FMLA, see Nolo's article Taking Family and Medical Leave.

A number of states have laws similar to the FMLA, which allow employees to take unpaid time off for pregnancy or bonding with a new child. Some states require employers to provide unpaid leave to employees who are physically disabled by pregnancy and childbirth. And a handful of states (including California) provide partial pay to employees who are unable to work because of pregnancy. For more on these state programs, see Nolo's article Paid Family Leave in California, New Jersey, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

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