Paid? Unpaid? 4 weeks? 12 weeks? 6 months? Will you be expected to do some work, or can you really just turn off your cell phone and ignore work email for your entire leave? Maternity leave policies can be as varied as the employers who offer them. No matter what your employer offers, actually taking maternity leave can be a challenge in and of itself. I have just completed my second maternity leave, and while each experience has been different, I hope that I can lend some insight to those of you preparing for leaves of your own.
There are very few laws that most of our clients can cite, but FMLA is one of them. Even if most people don’t know the details, they are typically well-aware that FMLA generally provides for medical leave from a job. Unfortunately, FMLA does not provide the sweeping coverage and benefits that the general public expects. With regard to FMLA, the “devil is in the details”, which is why most people, in my experience, are disappointed and even resentful when they discover that an employer is not subject to FMLA regulations or that their employer is not required to provide paid medical leave.