Maternity Leave Rights and Disability
When you have a new baby, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers all 50 states. FMLA guarantees that the majority of employees can take up to 12 weeks off work. There’s no fear of job loss, and it ensures that you will have a job when you return. Your employer must maintain your health benefits just as if you were still at work. FMLA is great, but the 12 weeks off is unpaid time.
A few states, including New York, offer additional benefits that supplement FMLA. New York has a paid temporary disability program, and is in fact one of the few states to offers a short-term disability program that allows employees paid time when they are not able to work because of pregnancy and childbirth. The state offers a disability insurance program to employers so they’re able to provide their employees with short-term disability insurance in cases like this. Under this program, employers must provide partial wage compensation for up to 26 weeks to qualifying employees.
Next year, up to 12 weeks of paid family leave will become New York law. In the state, employers will provide this coverage either by purchasing private insurance, state insurance or insuring themselves.
Employees are covered if they suffer an illness or injury or other disability (pregnancy and childbirth are considered temporary disabilities). You are entitled to coverage only for the time you’re unable to work, which under normal circumstances is typically four to six weeks after birth. However, you may be entitled to longer coverage if you have pregnancy or childbirth-related complications or illnesses. You’ll likely have to provide medical documentation from your doctor or hospital to support the claim for additional benefits. Twenty-six weeks is the maximum period of time for paid benefits.
You can collect up to 50 percent of your weekly wages up to a cap of $170 per week. Your employer can help you file form DB-450 to apply for coverage, and it must be filed within 30 days.
Many women are discriminated against and not provided the proper benefits for pregnancy and childbirth. If you feel that you are in this situation, have been denied benefits, or have had difficulty obtaining benefits, give us a call today to consult with one or our knowledgeable and experienced disability employment attorneys.