Navigating FMLA: Beyond Maternity Leave

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Navigating FMLA: Beyond Maternity Leave

Typically, when the term FMLA comes up, most people (that is, anyone NOT employed in the field of Human Resources) immediately think of maternity leave. While FMLA obviously does kick in for maternity leave, according to ERC’s research, when it comes to administering FMLA, pregnancy/maternity leave is really the least of HR’s worries. Instead, for most HR practitioners, the challenge lies in the administration of FMLA for serious health conditions and/or other circumstances outside of pregnancy and child birth.
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Determining What is Considered a Serious Medical Health Condition

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Determining What is Considered a Serious Medical Health Condition serious health condition fmla serious medical conditions

Many employers struggle with the question of whether an employee’s request for medical leave is covered under FMLA as a serious medical condition.

The term “serious” is intended to exclude minor ailments, like colds, earaches, flus, and headaches.

However, whether a health condition is serious depends on its origin or effects. For example, a cold is typically not a serious health condition, but it could become one if it leads to pneumonia. The health care provider will make the determination of whether a condition is serious; it is not at the discretion of the employer.

So what counts as a serious health condition—and how can you tell whether an employee qualifies for this type of leave?
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4 Guidelines for Managing Pregnancy & Maternity in the Workplace

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Before your organization doesn't hire, promote, or accommodate your next pregnant employee—beware—because pregnancy-related lawsuits are increasing and you could be putting yourself at risk.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pregnancy discrimination claims have been steadily rising over the past 15 years. In addition, the EEOC has said that one of its six national priorities is to address issues involving pregnancy-related limitations. In light of these trends, here are 4 essential guidelines employers must follow when managing pregnancy and maternity in the workplace.

Managing Pregnancy and Maternity in the Workplace

1. Don't let pregnancy affect employment decisions.

If you are considering not hiring, promoting, or providing certain job assignments to a pregnant employee or job candidate, or someone you think is trying to get pregnant, watch your steps closely.
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