Maternity, Medical Leave Benefits and Your Small Business

Do you know what your legal obligations are to provide maternity leave to your employees? There are laws that dictate what maternity leave benefits you should be providing to your employees. However, they don’t apply to all business owners.

For example, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), certain companies are required to provide unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. This includes 12 workweeks of leave for the birth and care of a child in its first year.

However, FMLA only applies to companies with more than 50 employees — a fact that excludes many small businesses and their employees. If your business is not covered by FMLA or state laws, what steps can you take to ensure that employees get the appropriate level of maternity leave?

The SBA recently published a guide to help small business deal with workers who are expecting.  Studies have shown that providing both maternity and medical leave is proven to make a positive impact on the lives workers without placing an undue burden on employers. Abuse of these policies is also much lower than expected, and 90 percent of workers return to their jobs after taking FMLA leave.