By Cynthia Deaton
Maternity Leave, FMLA, pregnancy disability: you may have heard these terms, but what exactly do they mean to you, the employer?
The specifics might be a little confusing, but we’re here to help clear things up.
Maternity leave is the period of time when a mother stops working because she is about to have—or has just had (or adopted)—a baby. While we most commonly hear the term “maternity leave,” sometimes it’s called family leave, family medical leave, pregnancy leave, or even parental leave and paternity leave, because it may apply to not only birth mothers, but also to adoptive mothers, fathers or domestic partners.
So, what do you do when your Team Member tells you she is pregnant? You know it is good news, but you can only think about what this means for your company. Take a deep breath, as Pinnacle is here to help.
The first step is to have a discussion with the Team Member about how long he/she anticipates being out, and then notify Pinnacle of the upcoming leave of absence.
Pinnacle will determine how much, if any, leave protection your employee is entitled to. This is actually a complex answer due to various federal, state and local laws that provide for protected time off. Some leave laws run consecutively and some concurrently (while this sounds the same, they are actually different), and some type of leaves may affect the other. This means that it is important to involve Pinnacle, so we can research leave laws specific to each individual and his or her situation.
Some leaves, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), require that the Team Member received written notification of their rights and responsibilities while on a leave of absence. Pinnacle will provide you with all of the necessary documents for you to give to your Team Member.
Lastly, be accommodating. Your Team Member may make requests for accommodations throughout the pregnancy and in most cases, they are entitled to accommodations. Team Members are afforded certain accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as pregnancy is considered a temporary disability. Your Team Member may be placed on bed rest, need additional breaks or time off for prenatal appointments. The key is to listen and work with your Team Member in making the accommodations. Not all requests for accommodations may be reasonable, but Pinnacle’s HR Team will help you navigate this complex issue.
This is an exciting but stressful time for your Team Member, and it is important for her that you show your support. However, the most important thing you can do for your business is to partner with Pinnacle. We will make sure that you are compliant with all legal requirements, and we will educate you on your obligations to her.
For additional questions or resources, contact Pinnacle’s HR Team at HR@pinnaclepeo.com