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I’m confused about FMLA leave. I am currently on approved FMLA and STD to recover from child birth. The time off is allotted at 6 weeks for recovery with return date changes if medically necessary. I expressed my desire when starting the process of taking leave to use the medically necessary time first and then to continue unpaid leave to care/bond with the child to a total of 12 weeks. My employer is telling me I need a medical reason to continue FMLA. the Dept of Labor lists bonding with child as an entitlement to have FMLA. Is my employer wrong?

Asked on October 21, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your employer is wrong: bonding with a child after childbirth is a valid reason for FMLA leave, and an employee of a covered company (at least 50 employees located within a 75-mile radius) may take a total of 12 weeks for both childbirth's medical complications or issues (if any), and/or for medically necessary recover, and/or for bonding. You could take the full 12 weeks for bonding even if you were physically fit to return to work 5 minutes after birth.

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