Can employers put requirements on FMLA maternity

I am 5 months pregnant, I am due to have my baby in November. At that time will only be employed at my employer for 9 months. They have told me that in order for me to qualify through them for FMLA I have to be there 1 yr. Legally I was wandering if they can put a restriction on a Federal program ot not.

1 answer  |  asked Jun 19, 2008 8:40 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
No FMLA protection for first year

Your employer is not putting a limit on a federal program. The FMLA is not a federal program, it is a federal law. But it does not apply to all employees, nor does it apply to all employers. Before you get the protection of the FMLA you must have worked for the employer for twelve months, and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 month period. This means full time employees aren't covered during the first year and part time employees (those who work less than 1,250 hours per year, or about 25 hours per week) are never covered.
Applying these two requirements can be tricky. Suppose you worked 40 hours per week for nine months and then took three months of maternity leave. If your employer does not fire you, you will have met the one year requirement as soon as you return to work, and you will have also met the 1,250 hour requirement because you put in that many hours in the nine months before you went on leave. But if you had been working 30 hours per week, your total hours for the first 9 months would have only been about 1,170 hours, so you would have to work until your total hours for the previous 12 months reaches 1,250. Since you would be losing 30 hours from your total each week (your hours for the first week of February, 2008 would not count after the first week of February, 2009), if you continued to work 30 hours per week it would take you nearly 42 weeks after you return to work before you would qualify for coverage.
It seems crazy, but the FMLA was a compromise between those who wanted to protect employees and those who wanted to protect employers from the burden of providing protection to employees who hadn't really earned it.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Jun 21, 2008 4:01 PM [EST]

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