Alabama (AL) Maternity Leave Law
Just thought I would hop on here and let you know what I recently learned about maternity law in Alabama. After looking at the Alabama Department of Labor’s web site, here’s what I was able to find out.
Basically, there are no laws in Alabama guaranteeing job protection or benefits for new parents. Pregnant women and new parents are, however, protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and also by the Family Medical Leave Act.
Both of these laws are federal laws. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal for employers to fire, refuse to hire, or deny a woman a promotion because she’s pregnant. Basically, she must be treated just like anyone else in the company! This goes for sick leave and disability too. If a company offers these things to other employees, then it also must offer them for pregnancy-related issues.
The Family Medical Leave Act allows private or public sector employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to, among other things, take care of a newborn baby or newly adopted child. One thing though—if you plan to take advantage of this act you have to work for an employer with more than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius.
But you should know that taking some time off after your pregnancy under this act doesn’t guarantee that your job will be held. A provision under the FMLA states that it is completely legal for key employees to be terminated during leave. You are considered a key employee if you are in the top 10 percent of highest paid employees. This provision was designed to ease economic hardships for companies who were missing key employees.
However, when you go on your leave your employer has to let you know that you are considered a key employee. And if they decide not to hold your job they must also notify you and give you the option of returning to work before your leave is up. So you do have options.