According to the United States Department of Labor, women make up nearly 50% of the workforce, and 85% of working women will become mothers during their careers.
Maternity has two components, pregnancy and bonding.
A pregnancy is considered a disability and is normally a period of 10 weeks, four weeks before and six weeks after childbirth. After the birth, and once medically cleared by a doctor, the mother may very well want to stay home and “bond” with their child. This “bonding” period is considered family leave.
Companies with 50 or more employees must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which gives eligible employees the right to be out of work a total of 12 weeks.
If a person is lucky enough to work in a state like New Jersey that has a generous family leave law, they may be eligible for 10-12 weeks for bonding.
For companies with less than 50 employees, a pregnant worker may not have the job assurance rights afforded by the FMLA, but may still be covered by the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act or a state law, such as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which was amended in 2014 to cover pregnancy discrimination.
Employers who, based on their size, may not need to comply with federal or state leave laws, should still consider providing a period of leave to employees that will not be an undue hardship on company operations. With employees resigning in record numbers and businesses having difficulty filling roles, having generous disability and family leave policies makes good business sense.
Marzano Human Resources Consulting has developed maternity and other leave policies for its clients which position them to be employers-of-choice, while also ensuring they mitigate risk to their business.