Are construction companies required to give maternity leave? It’s an unusual question, one that construction companies rarely have to consider. However, for the women that make up approximately nine percent of the industry, the answer is of vital importance. In this article, a Miami contractor attorney with Cotney Construction Law explores this question and how construction companies can better assist women and families in the industry. As always, for the answers to all of your construction-related legal questions, turn to the team of attorneys at Cotney Construction Law.
Paid vs. Unpaid Maternity Leave
As of the time of this writing, U.S. employees are not entitled to paid leave under federal law. This stands in stark contrast to other nations that offer months of paid maternity leave — the U.K. offers up to 39 weeks. This isn’t to say that new mothers aren’t entitled to unpaid leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), qualifying employees are provided “up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.”
In addition to other agencies and industries, FMLA applies to companies with 50 or more employees. To be clear, the above act applies to all employees, not just mothers. Family and medical leave are provided for:
- The birth and care of newborn children
- The placement and care of children for adoption or foster care
- The care of a family member with a serious health condition
- Employees who are unable to work as a result of a serious health condition
While a number of states have their own laws regarding maternity leave, Florida is not one of them, meaning that the FMLA takes precedence. Further protection is provided under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”
Bottom Line: Unless your company has less than 50 employees, you are required to provide qualifying employees, including new mothers, with 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave. Failure to abide by these laws or retaliating against such an employee is illegal and could result in steep fines and litigation.
Taking the Initiative
Of course, nothing’s stopping you from offering paid maternity leave to your employees. As we’ve covered previously, construction companies are doing everything in their power to attract and retain skilled workers. Paid maternity leave (and paternity leave) is just one of the many benefits that companies can offer to the next generation of workers. After all, everyone in your company stands to benefit from paid leave when they grow their family. For a legal ally who can answer all your questions and ensure that you are complying with all state and federal laws, partner with the Miami contractor attorneys from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.