Maternity/Pregnancy Leave

In Washington State we do not have a specified amount of time required to allow for maternity/pregnancy leave.  The law says that the length of leave is determined by the healthcare provider, as determined tobe medically necessary.  It also says that the amount of leave cannot be so litle that a pregnant woman must terminate employment, as this would have disparate impact.  According to Washington State's Human Rights Commission, maternity/pregnancy leave is typically 6-8 weeks.  Does anyone have any information about what amount of time has been considered reasonable?  Any court, eeo, or human rights decisions or even surveys of "best practices"? 


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  • Actually, Washington state has its own FML law that gives eligible employees up to 12 work weeks of leave per year for the birth or adoption of a child. Also, empoyers have to give a "reasonable leave of absense" for a temporary disability resulting from pregnancy or childbirth, even if they do not offer thee same leave for other disabilities. This leave is in addition to leave given under the FML law. These laws apply to employers with 8 or more employees. 
  • I guess that I should clarify that I am talking about employees who have not yet been employed for 12 months--which is the time required for both federal and Washington State family medical leave.  Do you have any information on what is considered a "reasonable leave of absence?"  The only thing I can find regarding what might be considered a "reasonable time", aside from personal opinions, is the wording "typically 6-8 weeks" on the Washington Human Rights Commission's website.
  • I am not in Washington State, but I can tell you from experience that most policies related to maternity/pregnancy leave that I have seen have been 6-8weeks.  Some have defined it as 6 weeks natural child birth and 8 weeks c-section, but most have had one length of time for both. 
  • I agree with IT HR -- 6 weeks for normal delivery and 8 after a c-section is pretty typical.  I've seen as little as 4 weeks for normal delivery, but generally it's 6 weeks.

    Try this link.  It charts out WA requirements in conjunction with FMLA requirements.

  • I appreciate all the info provided from everyone.  I do have all of the basics re:  FMLA, and Washington State's Family Care Act, Family Leave Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act.  What I am really looking for is any concrete information (court rulings, best practices, etc) regarding what is a "reasonable leave of absense" for a temporary disability resulting from pregnancy or childbirth--when an employee has been with the organization for less than 12 months.
  • We also follow the advise of the provider but advise employees that the standard for a normal delivery is 6 weeks; 8 weeks for a c-section.  Anything longer than these standards will require additional information from the provider substantiating the need for a longer period of absence.  Leave is paid under our short-term disability program - based on service - the same as any other condition of disability.  Where applicable, this runs concurrent with FMLA.
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