If I am 7 months pregnant and my company wants to change their maternity policy, are the able to do that?

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If I am 7 months pregnant and my company wants to change their maternity policy, are the able to do that?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, companies are not required to have or provide maternity leave; therefore, unless you have an actual employment contract giving you maternity leave, your company is free to change its policy, since a company providing maternity leave is voluntary in the first place.

That said, IF your employer is large enough to be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius, and you have worked there enough to qualify under FMLA (basically full time for a year--to see the exact requirements, go to the Dept. of Labor website), then you would be able to take up to 3 months/12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave as a matter of right, under the law.

Some states have laws providing maternity leave, too, which may be more generous than the federal FMLA; however, I do not believe that South Carolina does. Therefore, if you  do not qualify to take leave under FMLA--which your company would have to honor, if it and you are both covered--then your employer is free to change its maternity leave policy.


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