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Ask the Lawyer By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.

| July 8, 2016

Dan Gwinn New Head ShotQUESTION: I am pregnant (four months) and I hope to take time off when I’m due, and then some more time to take care of my baby, but I don’t know if my employer will allow me to do so. Isn’t there a rule that gives people time off for childbirth?

ANSWER: There is a law that allows leave, if you and your employer meet certain requirements. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), passed in 1993, allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid childbirth and parental leave.

However, leave under the FMLA is only available to employees of public agencies or to employees of certain private firms – and then, only under certain conditions. To be eligible as an employee of a private firm, you must work for a company that employs at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius of your workplace and you must have worked a total of 1,250 hours during the previous year. In addition, you must request FMLA leave, if possible, at least 30 days before you wish your leave to begin.

If you and your employer meet these requirements, in addition to giving you 12 weeks’ unpaid leave, your employer must continue to pay its share of any group health insurance premium. When you return from your leave, you must be restored to your original job, or to an “equivalent” job, that is, one that is virtually identical to the original job in terms of pay, benefits and other conditions of employment. You will likely not continue to accrue leave or seniority while on leave (this is not required by the Act).

If you are not covered under FMLA, you may have some job protection under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, or under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Talk to Human Resources at your company to discover your employer’s policies on childbirth and maternity leave. You may also wish to see a lawyer, to discover what other options may be available to you.

The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at

By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3300
(248) 247-3310 facsimile

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