Maternity Leave: What You Need to Know if You Get Pregnant

Any job seekers who happen to be pregnant need to completely understand maternity leave in order to successfully navigate the hiring process. Once you are clear on a mother’s rights in your locale, you will no longer need to worry about the challenges of employment during a time when your mind is focused on making sure your diaper bags are stocked for your new child.

By understanding maternity leave, you need not be afraid of pregnancy! Photo Credit”Afraid Of Pregnancy” by Michal Marcol.

Federal Maternity Leave Legislation in the USA

During the Clinton administration, the United States Congress passed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 [FMLA]. The legislation guaranteed a maximum of 12 weeks unpaid leave to new mothers, whether the child is naturally born or adopted. While the leave does not have to be paid time off, this act does allow pregnant women to have children without worrying that they will lose their jobs.

That said, there are restrictions in the law. FMLA only applies to firms with more than 50 employees, and the employee must have worked at the same business for at least a year. During that year, the employee also has to have worked at least 1,250 hours.

State Legislation to Fill the Gap

Individual states have stepped in to fill the gap. At least 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed state laws that make maternity leave more comprehensive. These states have passed laws such as lowering the minimum number of employees a company must have to be included in maternity leave coverage. A few have gone as low as 10 employees, instead of the minimum 50.

Three states and DC even regard maternity as a temporary disability, making new mothers eligible for paid leave through the state’s disability programs. You’ll have to check whether or not your own state has supplemented the federal guarantees, but chances are you have more options than you realize.

Job Seeking While Pregnant

Many women are forced to look for work while they are pregnant, and the pregnant woman can easily feel like she’s walking around with a “do not hire” sign on her forehead. Being up front and honest that you are expecting, however, does give a positive impression to potential employers of your integrity. If you are well qualified for a position, chances are an employer will work with you to make the maternity leave easy for the firm.

Maternity leave gives mom time to bond with her newborn. Photo Credit”Newborn Baby Sleeping” by papaija2008

One positive action would be to come into a job interview with a plan for work flow during your maternity leave. Perhaps there’s the option to put in a few hours per day from home while the baby is napping. Any creative ideas are sure to show the hiring manager or business owner that you are a responsible employee who thinks about the success of the company even while balancing your home life.

In conclusion, preparation is key to job seeking while pregnant. By knowing your options and giving the potential employer assurance you’re a team player, chances are you’ll be successfully employed before you know it!

What You Need to Know if You Get Pregnant

What are your pregnant job search stories?

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Sarah Boisvert

Sarah Boisvert is a writer who covers a wide range of topics with focus on business, marketing, social media, travel and technology. She can be reached at or through LinkedIn.


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