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Jan22

Georgia Maternity Leave

Does Georgia have a separate maternity leave law?

Georgia only provides prospective mothers and fathers with federal FMLA leave.  In fact, according to the United States Department of Labor, 39 states do not have any type of significant “maternity leave” laws.  Nor do they provide any short-term disability laws.

Eleven of these 39 states have laws that extend the FMLA, however.  What this means is that the extended laws provide similar benefits to employees of municipal and state governments.  They may also extend the same benefits to smaller companies. 

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) says that employees are entitled to receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each calendar year.  In order to be eligible for this, however, each employee must meet certain requirements.  Generally, a certain number of hours worked in the previous year, as well as wages earned play a part in determining eligibility.

Another federal act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), says that if employers offer benefits covering other types of leave, then they must also offer maternity leave.

In the United States, only 11 states offer significant maternity leave or disability laws on the state level.  These states are Washington, Connecticut, Wisconsin, California, Vermont, Minnesota, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Maine, Oregon, and New Jersey.

Five states (California, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York), offer state-mandated short-term disability programs.  These programs allow pregnant women and new mothers to receive payments that equal a percentage of their average weekly income.  This percentage generally ranges from 50 – 67 percent. 

It is important to mention that even the states that have short-term disability payments, those payments are only for the specific period of time that a woman has been medically certified as being unable to work.  In a normal pregnancy, this period of time is about ten weeks.  If, however, a woman were to have complications, or a caesarian, she might be on disability for a considerably longer period of time.  Except for California, the other four states put a cap on disability at 26 weeks. JH

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 at 8:16 pm and is filed under
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57 Responses to “Georgia Maternity Leave”

  1. karen w. Says:

    I began maternity leave on Monday March 3rd. I was told if I didnt return to work by Monday June 2nd my job would be posted and I could reapply. Is this legal? Was I fired? Can I file unemployment?

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Karen!

    This was entirely legal. The FMLA gives workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child. Your 12 weeks ends on May 26. The employer is entirely within his or her rights to terminate you, if you don’t return to work by June 2.

    If you return to work on May 26, by law, the employer must give return you to your old job (or one with the same pay, benefits and working conditions.) It sounds like your employer is extending this deadline to June 2, which is generous.

    Yes, you will be fired if you do not return to work by June 2.

    You can file for unemployment and you may qualify for benefits, depending upon the state.

    The employer is being extremely generous by offering to rehire you if there is a position available when you want to return to work. Employers are under no obligation to do so.

  3. Jennifer L. Says:

    Where can I find a form to fill out for the short-term disability for maternity leave?

    Thank you.

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jennifer! The most commonly used forms can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/. Some employers require additional forms for STD insurance or FMLA, which are supplied by the insurance company or employer.

  5. Linda O Says:

    Is it true that the company that you work for must have a minimum of 50 employees in order to qualify for short-term disability?

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Linda O!
    No, that is not true. Most medical or maternity leave in the U.S. is taken under FMLA, the Family and Medical Leave Act. An employer must have at least 50 workers within 75 miles to be covered under FMLA.
    However, various companies or employees offer short term disability insurance. An employee of any size company may qualify for short term disability insurance. In the case of maternity leave, the insurance must usually be purchased before the employee is pregnant. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  7. Erin Says:

    If i received short-term disability and don’t go back to work, am i required to pay that back?

  8. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Erin! If the employer paid you short term disability benefits while you were on maternity leave, then yes, you may be required to pay the benefits back if you do not return to work. The details should be in your employee handbook.
    Employers only offer benefits (include short term disability) to employees, not to ex-employees. If you take maternity leave and never return, then basically you became an ex-employee the first day of your maternity leave. If you didn’t plan on returning, you should not have accepted the benefits.
    When benefits are paid by an insurance policy, or by the state, the rules are different. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  9. IAK Says:

    I am due at the end of December so can I take 12 weeks off in 2009 (from Sep to Dec 2009) and then 12 more weeks in 2010 (from January to March 2010)?

    Thank you.

  10. Caitlin Says:

    Hi IAK! No, probably not. This will depend upon how your employer tracks FMLA, but less than 5% of employers do this by the calendar year.
    The most common way to track FMLA is beginning the first day that you take leave. So if you took leave on December 1, 2009 for 12 weeks, you would be eligible for another 12 weeks of FMLA on December 1, 2010.
    If you started your 12 weeks of FMLA on September 15, 2009 you would be eligible for additional FMLA leave one year later, on September 15, 2010. Also be aware that any time you take off for morning sickness, prenatal visits,or before the baby is born counts towards your total 12 weeks of leave. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  11. Vivian Says:

    My employer just informed me that our company does not meet the FMLA criteria because we have less than 50 employees. He gave me two options of paid materity leave: One, I can be out for two weeks after delivery, but it would be taken out of my sick leave and vacation pay or I can work from home (20 hours a week) for the company during the two weeks that I am out. I would definately have to report back to work after two weeks! I have the options documented. Is this legal?

  12. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Vivian! Yes, unfortunately, this is legal in Georgia. In fact, the employer could just fire you when you missed a few days of work after childbirth and not offer you any paid or unpaid leave.
    Some states like California have family leave laws over and above the federal FMLA. Georgia does not.
    If your employer offers paid or unpaid leave to workers with other medical disabilities (such as a heart attack) then he must offer the same benefits to you after childbirth, under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. However, that law applies only if the employer has 15 or more workers.
    Of course, the employer cannot “force” you to do anything. Generally, after a normal delivery the employee is not released by her doctor to return to work for 4 to 6 weeks. Suppose you take that time off work, fully intending to return to your job when you are physically able to do so but the employer fires you after two weeks of absence. Once you are physically able to return to work, you may very well qualify for unemployment benefits. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  13. Shelly Says:

    Hello,
    Just trying to get clarification on FMLA for Georgia. It is my understanding that no matter the size of the company, I am entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Is this correct? Also, my company does not offer short term disability, does the state of Georgia offer this? If so, how do I apply? Thank you!

  14. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Shelly! Unfortunately, no. The federal FMLA applies to companies with 50 or more workers within 75 miles. Georgia has no family leave law at the state level that would cover smaller employers.
    In addition, to qualify for FMLA, an employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months AND must have worked 1,250 hours in the past year.
    As mentioned in the article above, only 5 US states offer short term disability. Georgia is not one of them. If you search our archives for “FMLA” you will find a wealth of information on this federal law. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  15. zach Says:

    My wife is an assistant director of a child care facility. She will be taking leave in October, and all seems well. Her school is a franchise with 20 employees, but the corporation has several hundred locally. Is she covered federally for leave? Also she has emails saying her job is safe, could this be used should they let her go?

  16. Tori Says:

    I checked with the human resources department at my job and asked if I am able to take 10 weeks of maternity leave. I was informed that I can only take 10 weeks of leave if my doctor indicates this amount of time is needed on my FMLA paperwork. Otherwise, I can only take 6 weeks.
    In my previous pregnancy, I took 12 weeks of maternity leave with no problem (same employer). Therefore, I am asking if I have to have doctor approval to take 10 weeks this time? Please inform.

  17. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Tori! Assuming that your current employer is covered by FMLA, and you have not used FMLA for any other purpose including your pregnancy, you should be eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave under FMLA. This leave can be used for baby bonding, as well as pregnancy and childbirth disability. So even an adoptive mother or father would be entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA. However, if you have used hours, days or weeks of FMLA during your pregnancy for prenatal appointments, etc. then that time is deducted from the 12 weeks total.
    Read more about this in our archives, and if necessary refer your HR department to the link below.HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  18. jenn Says:

    Hello!

    My corporate office is in CA and I am in our GA location. Will the CA or GA Maternity Leave laws apply to me?
    Thank you!

  19. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jenn! You are most likely an employee in Georgia, and you will be covered under the Georgia maternity leave laws if you are employed at a location or branch office in Georgia.
    In a few cases, a worker in Georgia may actually be considered a California employee who telecommutes. If you pay California income taxes and have California state disabiity deducted from your paycheck, those would be indications that you are being treated like a California employee. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  20. bobby Says:

    are men able to take mat leave if thier wife is high risk??? and how long ?? wher can i find more info?

  21. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Bobby! Men do not qualify for maternity leave, however, they can use FMLA to care for a spouse with a serious health condition. FMLA entitles you to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  22. kallie Says:

    My job does not pay our employees maternity leave. can i file for unemployment for my maternity leave? thanks

  23. Caitlin Says:

    Hi kallie! You can file for unemployment benefits, but you will be denied. Workers are eligible for unemployment only when they are a) physically able to work and b) actively looking for a job. Right after childbirth, you will be physically unable to work for 4 to 6 weeks. After that point, if you are looking for a job, you may qualify for unemployment benefits — but not if you are just staying home with the baby.HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  24. Deborah Lackey Says:

    I took my FMLA leave Dec.21, 2009 due to pregnancy. Baby was due March, 19 2010. Due to Pre-Eclampcia I had my baby 1/04/10, at 29 weeks. My employer started my 6 week Maternaty leave on that day coinsiding w/my FMLA even though my baby was in NiCU for the next month. He is now home & i am breast feeding him to gain weight(he weighed 3.9 at birth & they are saying I have to come back to work on March 20th ( end of FMLA. I am a flight Attendant Gone for 3-4 days & will not be able to pump breast milk which he needs desperatly. Does FMLA offer any special circumstanes leave? If my maternity leave had started at the end of my FMLA, I would have been O/K, but now I,m going to loose that time, because my baby was pre-mature.

  25. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Deborah! Unfortunately, the way the employer is handling FMLA is appropriate. There is no requirement under any law that an employer grant employees 12 weeks off under FMLA plus another 6 weeks off for maternity leave. If they did, they would have to give every employee 18 or more weeks off for illness — and that was never the intention of FMLA.
    Some states require that new mothers be given breaks to pump breast milk, but in your case it would be almost impossible to store it for 4 days and transport it.
    The job of flight attendant is just not compatible with breastfeeding an infant. Even if you had a few more weeks of leave, your premie would probably still need you more. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Catilin

  26. Bill Says:

    My wife is on maternity leave and we have decided that she will not be going back to work. Her employer allowed 12 weeks of leave with the forst 6 weeks being paid maternity leave via short term disability. Will we have to pay this back if she does not return? Thanks !

  27. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Bill! This is a matter of company policy rather than employment law. However,yes, in many cases your wife can be required to pay back any short term disability payments from her employer, if she does not return from maternity leave. She can also be required to repay the employers portion of any health insurance premiums. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  28. Cindy Says:

    I had a baby in Dec 2009 and returned to work at the end of Feb 2010. I want to start to try and get pregnant again. If I have the baby before end of Feb 2011 will I quaifiy for another 12 weeks?

  29. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Cindy! That depends upon which of 4 methods your employer is using to calculate FMLA leave. However, under the most common method, you would not qualify for any leave, even for prenatal doctors appointments, before Dec 2010. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  30. Brandi Says:

    I am due to have my second child in less than 2 months. A few background points & questions:
    1) I asked my HR about short term disability during my last pregnancy (2 years ago) and was told that pregnancy/childbirth was NOT covered so I took her word for it and never filed. Everything that I have read says that if the employer provides short term disability then they have to cover pregnancy as they would any other disability. Is this true?
    2) If they are in fact required to provide short term disability, do I have any recourse for not being compensated for my last pregnancy as well as this one?
    3) As with my previous pregnancy, I used the 12 weeks FMLA. I plan to use the 12 weeks FMLA with this one too which will be born in June. I requested time off (vacation days) for a 4 day trip this month (I have 2 weeks vacation time accrued). I was told that I could take the 4 days off but they would be UNPAID because I have to use all my vacation time as part of my 12 weeks FMLA.

  31. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Brandi! In general, we see a few problems with the way your employer is handling this.
    1) If the short term disability benefits are paid by an insurance policy, then in most states the policy can exclude pregnancy and childbirth. If they are paid by the employer, then the employer has to offer the same benefits for childbirth disability as for other disablities. This is enforced by the EEOC.
    2) If the benefits are paid by the employer, yes you have recourse in the courts. If the benefits were under an insurance policy, and you never filed a claim, your only recourse might be to sue the HR person.
    3) Technically the employer cannot deny you benefits that would be granted to other employees simply because you plan to use FMLA later in the year. You could report this to the U.S. Department of Labor. But really, it is not a huge deal. If you take the time off unpaid, you will be paid for 4 extra days in June. HTH, and thanks for reading!~ Caitlin

  32. nelly boo Says:

    hello!
    i am due to have my baby in less than two weeks, i went to my employer (name deleted, a nationwide discount chain) to ask what all i needed to go on maternity leave and was told that all i needed was a doctors excuse. well my doctor just took me out of work and i went to apply for my leave and disability, and was told that i wasnt going to get it because i didnt perchase the long term/short term disability. when i worked for jc penneys and didnt perchase a disability packege for my first child, is what there telling me legal?

  33. Caitlin Says:

    Hi nelly boo! You probably qualify for leave, but not for short term disability payments.

    There is no federal law that employers in the U.S. must provide paid maternity leave, and most of them do not. Many employers offer short term disability insurance, but you must purchase the policy before you become pregnant. (Five U.S. states provide short term disability to all employees: New York, New Jersey, California, Hawaii and Rhode Island.)

    If you have worked for the employer more than 12 months, you will probably qualify for unpaid, job-protected leave under FMLA. That federal law permits you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and be returned to your job.

    Each employer sets their own benefits, so the benefits offered by your previous employer have no bearing on the benefits offered by your current employer. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  34. kate Says:

    My husband and I work at the same company, and our handbook states that if both employees work there that they would have to split the 12 weeks of FMLA time. Is this correct?! Also, does it count as FMLA time (and count against my 12 weeks) for him if he takes paid leave?

  35. Caitlin Says:

    Hi kate! Yes, these are both correct. If you and your husband worked for different companies, you would each be entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA to care for your new baby. However, because you both work for the same company, the 12 weeks is split between the two of you. Congress created this provision to reduce the impact of FMLA on employers. (Some states may have a family leave law that entitles you to more time off.)

    Even if your husband takes paid leave, the company can designate it as FMLA, reducing your total leave. Any time you take off before birth for prenatal appointments, etc. also counts towards the 12 total weeks. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  36. Marcie E. Says:

    I have worked for my employer for six months and was two months pregnant when I was hired. They told me because I don’t qualify for FMLA that I will need to resign and reapply to the job after I have the baby. Is that legal and what should I do legally so I don’t have to quit to keep my job that I might have when I return.

  37. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Marcie! The employer is not under any obligation to rehire you after you miss several weeks for childbirth, and most will not. They will have filled that position with a permanent employee.

    Many employers will tell a pregnant worker that she has to quit, but it is a fib. You do not HAVE to resign when you leave to have your baby. Instead, you can inform the employer of your intention to return (in writing) and they can fire you for non-attendance. If they do this, you will be eligible for unemployment.

    If you quit, even for a good reason like childbirth, you will not be eligible for unemployment when you are able to work again after childbirth.

    If you are sure that your boss adores you so much that the company will rehire you, then go ahead and quit. But if there is even a small chance that they will not hire you back, then you should let them fire you. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  38. Maria Says:

    I just got hired and I am 7 month pregnant. Which means I will need to have a maternity leave during my 90 days probation period. How do I approach employer, since I did not disclose my pregnancy to them yet and will my job be at risk during maternity leave? Thank you.

  39. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Marie! Yes, in Georgia your job is at risk. There is no federal or Georgia law that requires the employer to return an employee to her job, when she takes 4 to 8 weeks off for childbirth after working less than 90 days.

    However, if the employer hired you while you were visibly pregnant, they are probably willing to work with you.

    You should address this matter ASAP by sitting down with the employer and telling them that you are pregnant, when your due date is, and that you plan to return to work. If you plan to work as long as possible, also tell the employer that. Ask what the company policy on maternity leave is, and take it from there.

    The employer may decide to terminate you and rehire you (or permit you to apply for open positions) when you are ready to return to work.

    If you have worked enough to qualify for unemployment benefits, you should not quit, even if the employer requests it. By doing so, you basically give up the right to collect unemployment after the baby is born. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  40. michelle Says:

    I am due with my 1st child March 22nd. My doctor just took me out of work for the rest of my pregnancy due to pre-eclampsia. My employer is telling me that I have to be back at work by April 1st or I could lose my job. Is this correct? Is my employer telling me I have to be back at work 9 days post-partum…that is if baby (#1) comes on time.

  41. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Michelle! Yes, this is correct. Under the FMLA, an employee is entiteld to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for all reasons combined, including pregnancy disability, prenatal appointments, childbirth disability and to care for the newborn. For most women with a normal pregnancy and delivery, this is sufficient time. Unfortunately in Georgia, if you have to take more than 12 weeks off, you can lose your job. Obviously, there is no way that you will medically be able to return to work 9 days after delivery, and your employer knows that. Your best bet is to go on FMLA and let the employer terminate you if necessary. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  42. Jason Says:

    My wife had complications with her twin pregnancy that caused her to be on bed rest for nearly 5 months. Her boss, a dentist, has a practice with less that 15 employees. He sent a letter stating that if she could not return to work July 5, that he would accept her resignation. Obviously she cant return wihtout endangering the children. The office manual states when you are not able to return after the three months that the employer does not owe you unemployment because you are forfieting your job voluntarily.

    We sent a letter stating that my wife wanted to keep her job and planned on returning to work once she was released by her doctor. Shouldnt my wife still be eligible for unemployment regardless of the manual? She was let go through no fault of her own and there were no issues with performance or merit. Once she is released by her doctor shouldnt she be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    Thanks,

    Jason

  43. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jason! Yes, you are absolutely right — your wife should qualify for unemployment benefits if her employer lets her go because her doctor will not release her to return to work by July 5.

    You did exactly the right thing by sending the letter that states she intends to return to work when she is physically able to. Your wife should not resign or sign anything saying she has resigned under any circumstances.

    The base news is that because the dentist has fewer than 15 employees, he can let her go. However, she will qualify for unemployment benefits once she is well enough to return to work.

    The employer cannot redefine the term “resignation” in teh handbook. An employee who is fired due to a lengthy absence has not resigned — he or she has been fired for non-attendance. Occasionally a new mother who is physically able to return to work will decide to stay home with her baby, but that is a very different situation.

    If your wife is denied unemployment benefits, she should appeal that decision and calmly state her case to the appealate judge. If possible you should keep a copy of the letter stating that she intends to return to work, and of the doctors release when she receives one.

    Your situation is not unique. Based on the comments we receive, doctors and dentists are woefully uninformed about HR issues. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  44. Tim Says:

    I have a question. My wife gave birth on August 9 and was recently told she will not have a job when she returns next week. Supposedly her employer told her that since the clinic is small (roughly 8 employees) he was able to give her job away and still be protected. Is this right??

  45. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Tim! Yes, this is correct. An employer who was also a good manager would have told your wife prior to childbirth that there was no guarantee she would have a job after her leave.

    The federal FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more workers within 75 miles. Georgia has no family leave law that covers smaller employers, and an employer with only 8 workers is also exempt from most federal anti-discrimination laws. Georgia is one of the few states that has no meaningful anti-discrimination law at the state level. Sadly, if a Georgia company is too small to be covered by federal law, discrimination based on race, sex or pregnancy is generally legal.

    Your wife should qualify for unemployment benefits since she was fired when she was physically unable to work. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  46. crystal Says:

    I am planning to go out on maternity leave on Oct 13. In December of 2010 I took two weeks of fmla for a death in my family. I returned to work on December 22. If I start maternity leave on Oct 13, in 10 weeKs it would be Dec 22. Would my rolling year begin again and allow me to take the other 2 weeks for a total of 12 weeks?

  47. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Crystal! No, probably not, but you need to check with your employer.

    As you know, FMLA allows an employee to take 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period.

    There are 4 different ways that the employer can tabulate the 12-month period under the regulations. However, under the most common method, the rolling calendar method, you would be entitled to only 10 weeks of maternity leave starting Oct. 13. That is because the amount of FMLA is usually calculated based on the amount of leave that you have on the first day of the current FMLA leave. On Oct. 13, you will have only 10 weeks of FMLA. You will not have any more FMLA until you return to work. If you have returned to work on Dec. 22, then you will have another 2 weeks of FMLA available before Oct. 13 2012. If you do not return to work on Dec. 22, the employer can terminate you and you would be required to pay back any insurance premiums or other benefits they had paid while you were on leave.

    It may help to think of it this way: You do not “earn” additional FMLA while you are on leave. The amount of FMLA that you have on the first day of leave, is the amount you have until you return to work.

    Some employers use a different method of calculating FMLA that might allow you to take 12 weeks, but you need to check with your employer. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  48. April Says:

    Hi,

    I was hired by a company and will be starting in two weeks. My future boss has informed me that HR said the STD policy considers my pregnancy (13 weeks) a pre-existing condition and will not cover the 6 week leave in May. I am considered a high-risk pregnancy. Is this legal with the PDA? I am truly excited about the future career opportunity, but disappointed in the HR exclusion.

  49. Caitlin Says:

    Hi April! Yes, this is legal in Georgia and most other states. If an insurance policy is involved,the HR department is not even making this decision (and it is unprofessional of your future supervisor to blame it on them.)About 99% of STD insurance policies will not cover a pregnancy unless the patient purchases insurance before they are pregnant.
    The PDA requires that they cover pregnancy on the same basis as other medical conditions. Just as a man could not have a heart attack, and then buy STD insurance to cover his absence from work, once you are already pregnant it is too late to buy STD insurance for that pregnancy.
    Even if an insurance policy is not involved, it is unrealistic to expect the employer to pay a new employee for a disability that began before the employee was hired. Many, many employers have the policy of not paying wokers STD at any time during the first 12 months of employment.
    If the employer is promising to give you 6 weeks of unpaid leave and then return you to your job, that is more than they are legally required to do in Georgia.
    We assume that you currently have healthcare coverage — otherwise, the insurance company would not be required to cover the medical expenses for your current pregnancy. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  50. Sherri Says:

    I work for a tax CPA firm. My firm paid me 6 weeks paid maternity leave in March and April of this year. They made me sign a memo stating that in exchange for the paid leave that I would come back and work another tax season. I returned to work on April 15th and have worked thru two more major tax deadlines (Sep & Oct). I want to quit. Can they force me to repay the maternity pay? And if so, how do I pay it back considering they have already taxed me on it thru payroll withholdings? The pay was NOT part of a ST disability plan.

  51. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Sherri! The employer was not required to pay you for maternity leave. Apparently you agreed in writing to repay them if you did not work until April 15 next year. Because you agreed to this in writing, you can repay the employer or they can withhold the amount from your final paycheck. You would owe the employer pretax dollars. If this results in your tax withholdings being larger than your tax liability for 2012, then you would be due a tax refund. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  52. momof4 Says:

    I started my maternity leave on sept.9 2011 due to complications n moderate bedrest…i had my baby on jan.19 2012…my fmla hrs was deducted and i ended up using all the hours by dec.20..im right now taking a personal leave n taking a full point for it…could i still stay out for the 12weeks starting on my due date…?or do i need a doctor approval?

  53. Caitlin Says:

    Hi momof4! Congrats on the new baby! The answer to your question will depend upon company policy. Once your 12 weeks of FMLA expired, the employer could have let you go — even though you were physically unable to return to work.
    A generous employer would put you on medical leave after you exhausted all FMLA. However, that medical leave would extend only until about 6 weeks after delivery, when you are physically able to return to work.
    In many cases, the employer will expect you to return to work as soon as you are physically able, not 12 weeks after the birth.
    In fact, if you try to extend your leave to 12 weeks, the employer may let you go. (As we have already noted, they have the legal right to let you go, anyway, since you have exhausted FMLA.)
    Our recommendation: if this job is important to you, consult the HR department to see what their expectations are. But remember from the employers point of view, you have already been absent almost 6 months, and they are being much more generous than legally required. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  54. Amy Says:

    I am 5 months pregnant and just found out my company does not have paid maternity leave.I am assured my job will be waiting for me when I get back since my company has FMLA but what good is that if I have to go find another job a week after having my little girl just to make ends meet? I was relying on that money to help out. Now I feel helpless and scared. How can I bring home my baby and not be able to pay for my bills? Are there any other options? Government assistance? Anything?

  55. hrlady Says:

    Hi Amy,

    FMLA entitles a qualified worker to receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child. Your employer is not required to pay you for that time off. You can probably use any sick days or vacation time (if any) offered by your employer in order to be paid during the 12 week unpaid guaranteed time off.

    Georgia is a state that does not offer state short term disability insurance. Also, in order to qualify for unemployment benefits you would need to be available for work and you would need to be separated from your job. Therefore, short term disability and/or unemployment do not apply to your situation.

    You can contact the Georgia Temporary Assistance Office at 800-869-1150 to see if you would qualify for any benefits under that program.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com and good luck with your new baby!

  56. Carrie Says:

    I am 4 months pregnant and I get maternity leave unpaid but my employer does not qualify for the FMLA nor do the offer health insurance. Is there any place I can go to for assistance? I am worried that I will not be able to pay my bills and will have to return to work earlier then I would care too. I am at a loss.

  57. hrlady Says:

    Hi Carrie,

    You should contact your county assistance office for possible medical and financial help. There are usually income guidelines to follow, however they will be able to direct you to the services available to you.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

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