Can a company force you to work during your maternity leave?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a company force you to work during your maternity leave?

My wife is currently pregnant and scheduled to go on maternity leave after the baby is born. The

company is forcing her to sign papers stating that she will work Saturdays during her leave.

Asked on March 11, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If she is using FMLA leave (assuming she is eligible for it), then she cannot be forced to work while on maternity leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees up to 12 weeks of maternity leave without having to work on leave, and to force an employee to work while on that leave is to violate the law--i.e. it is illegal. If she is forced to work while on FMLA leave, she could contact the state or federal department of labor about filing a complaint.
But if she is not eligible or not using FMLA leave, but rather her company is voluntarily allowing her to take maternity leave (in your state, there is no state maternity leave law, so unless you are using FMLA, you have no right to such leave; it would be voluntary for the employer to grant leave) they can set requirements or obligations on it, such as that she will work on Saturday. Anything given voluntarily by an employer (i.e. something the law does not require them to do), the employer may put limitations or restrictions on.
You and yor wife can find the eligibility requirements for FMLA leave on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website, under "Family and Medical Leave Act." 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption