FMLA helps new parents find work-life balance

As an Arizona employee, if you and your employer qualify under FMLA, you may take a leave from work after the birth or adoption of a child or if you become foster parents. While organizations must comply with federal requirements, they have no obligation to offer additional benefits.

According to Growing Family Benefits, employees may accrue earned paid sick time and use it for maternity and paternity leave under certain conditions. They include the following:

  • Mental illness, such as postpartum depression
  • Physical illness of mom or newborn
  • Medical care for the new mom or baby
  • Father’s care for his spouse or premature newborn

However, the regulations cap the number of hours you can accrue based on the number of employees who work for the company.

Who can take parental leave under FMLA?

If your employer has more than 50 employees within 75 miles and you have at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before your requested leave date, you may qualify for FMLA parental leave. Eligible employees may use up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave consecutively or intermittently. If you qualify, FMLA entitles you to return to the same or equivalent position upon returning to work.

Separate from FMLA, a short-term disability policy can replace a portion of the mother’s income in specific situations if purchased before conception. Arizona doesn’t have laws that automatically cover employees in public nor private sectors.

What are the benefits of FMLA?

While the law doesn’t cover pay, it does guarantee job protection and assures that your health insurance remains intact during the leave. Organizations cannot legally terminate your employment or retaliate if you take leave. Understanding your options, if they take unlawful action, is critical for understanding what constitutes discrimination protecting your rights.