Is it mandatory to take maternity leave?

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Is it mandatory to take maternity leave?

If my employer is willing, can I work from home and still collect a full paycheck?

Asked on May 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, maternity lease is NOT mandatory or required. It is illegal to discriminate against employees due to pregnancy, so as long as you are capable of doing your job, your employer may not make you take maternity leave. (If at any point you become incapable of doing your job, or doing it safely--for example, a job involved lifting, but you have lifting restrictions; or your job involves handing chamicals which are unsafe for a pregnant woman--the employer could at that point suspend, furlough, or even terminate you, if you did not use FMLA or similar leave to take protected medical or maternity leave.)

You have a right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, for medical necessity or to care for a newborn, assuming that both you and your employer are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)--

* It has at least 50 employees

* You have worked there at least 12 months, and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months

--but this is at your option; you can't be forced to take it.

Your employer is free to let you work from home if both you and it want it--that would not be discriminatory against you, and so is legal. It's just a matter of what the two of you agree to.


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