We had an employee request, and was granted, maternity leave under our leave policy. After the leave was granted, she had a miscarriage. How should this impact the maternity leave and how long should we allow her to be out?
From a legal perspective, maternity leave falls under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees 12 weeks of job protected leave for the birth, adoption or placement of a child, the employee’s own serious health condition, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. The above circumstance would most likely qualify as leave taken for the employee’s own serious health condition. To be covered, you will need to have the employee obtain certification from her health care provider. The length of time she takes for leave, up to the 12 weeks, may largely be determined by when her doctor releases her. Other benefit programs that may come into play in this situation could be short term disability and your Employee Assistance Plan, if you have either of these in place.
Be sure to review your Maternity Leave Policy to make sure it is in compliance with FMLA regulations. The Department of Labor (www.dol.gov) offers guidance for managing FMLA claims and our team at Strategic HR can also assist you with this and other compliance questions.
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