How Long After Birth Can I Take FMLA (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Immediately

The Family and Medical Leave Act is most commonly known as FMLA is one of the best laws implemented to secure both the job and family needs of an employee. Most employees especially women wish to take rest during pregnancy and also usually after childbirth. Even the leave during regular check-ups can fall under the FMLA act.

Except for highly compensated employees, certain officials, and employees, both private and public sector employees could make use of FMLA without any restrictions. Most states have designed few other laws to take care of seriously ill family members and also to secure the work and equivalent designation of the employee.

How Long After Birth Can I Take FMLA?

The FMLA, one of the most familiar acts among the employees that allow them to take a maximum of 12 weeks of leave (unpaid) whenever required. This leave could be used during any 12 months. People often apply for FMLA to take care of newborn children or any other family member. Employees could use this leave period even during the pregnancy and also for one year immediately after the birth of a child. But there are certain conditions to be followed by the employees. People should apply for FMLA leave requests at least before 30 days to complete the necessary procedures.

It is not mandatory to be seriously ill to take FMLA leave. But most people use it to take care of the new child i.e. during the parenting period. Even male employees could opt for FMLA leave based on the newborn child. Once the leave period is completed, your respective higher official must provide you the job equivalent to your previous position. However, health insurance will be provided by the employer even during your leave.

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To qualify for FMLA leave you must have worked in a certain company for the required number of hours and also it is mandatory that, the company should have at least 50 employees around the 75-mile radius. It is necessary to be paid during FMLA leave. But you are eligible to use your accrued paid leave for some amount of time. Immediately, after the completion of the leave period, you can join the job with all the benefits and pay.

StagesPeriod
During pregnancy3 weeks
During the birth of a child2 weeks
After childbirth7 weeks

Why Does It Take That Long To Take FMLA After Birth?

It is not mandatory to opt for FMLA leave only after the birth of the child. In few cases, employees prefer to use their FMLA leave due to certain unavoidable circumstances like sudden illness. Some of the organizations also offer paid leave and other options for parental leave under the FMLA leave category. It is not necessary to use all the 12 weeks of period continuously even when not required. You can use a minimum of three weeks during the last week of pregnancy, 2 to 3 weeks to get recover after the birth of a child, and the remaining weeks as parental leave to take care of.

Most of the states started to offer paid leave for some time which seems to be more beneficial for employees. But, the period of leave and rate of wage replacement depends on the location and size of the organization. The FMLA leave should be taken within one year of the newborn child. Few organizations, accept the extension of leave for certain days in the case of acceptable request or reason, as they have their leave policies.

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To apply for FMLA leave, FMLA Medical Certification Form is the mandatory part, which must be provided by an expert or professional doctor. This form would be the proof that either employee or any of the family member’s health condition is applicable for FMLA leave. The form should be submitted to the organization within 15 working days to be valid. It may take nearly 5 to 6 days for the employer to approve the FMLA leave.

Conclusion

The employees must be aware of all the policies, regulations, and benefits that fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The employer must notify the employee against the starting period of FMLA 12 weeks as per the rules and regulation of the Department of Labor. The FMLA Act is applicable even for an adopted child.

Unless the notice is provided, the leave doesn’t start. The health care provider must issue the certificate to the employee only after the proper verification of the patient. If the health condition falls under the category of FMLA, the certificate and notification should be provided.

References

  1. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2816593
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629611000117
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