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Are maternity leave and family medical leave the same?

If you are pregnant and employed, there will soon come a time when you ponder the future. Do you want to quit your job? Do you want to take some time off after your child is born? There are many questions to answer, all of which must be addressed without delay.

Many people believe that maternity leave and the Family Medical Leave Act are one in the same; however, this is not true.

Maternity leave is something that is set by your employer. For example, some companies allow you to take off a particular period of time, unpaid. Others take this one step further, not only allowing employees to take time away but also paying them while they do so.

The Family Medical Leave Act was passed by the federal government in 1993. Unless your employer is exempt, such as if they have fewer than 50 employees, you have access to up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave per year. If a woman has a child, she may wish to take this leave after her maternity leave runs out.

Maternity leave is something you can negotiate with your employer. This does not hold true for FMLA. This is a federal law with clear-cut guidelines.

If you qualify for FMLA and realize that you want to take advantage of it, let your employer know as soon as possible. Even though you may not expect it, you could face some resistance. In this case, you must learn more about your rights as an employee. This will ensure that you get the time off that is required by law.

Source: She Knows, "Maternity leave vs. FMLA leave," accessed Nov. 09, 2015

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