Princess Kate and the FMLA

Yesterday reports surfaced that Princess Kate is pregnant and had been hospitalized with acute morning sickness.  Congratulations to the Prince and Princess!  But what if Kate wasn’t a princess and was an employee of your company.  Would her acute morning sickness qualify her for leave under the FMLA?

The answer is yes.  The FMLA expressly provides that the mother is entitled to “leave for incapacity due to pregnancy” and cites severe morning sickness as an example.

So what are our takeaways?  If you are a FMLA covered employer (50 employees in a 75 mile radius), the pregnant employee has worked for you for at least 12 months and has worked 1250 hours in the 12 month period preceding the request for leave, she is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for incapacity due to pregnancy, for prenatal care, for the birth of the child, for bonding time with the child and for her or the child’s serious health condition following the birth.  In Tennessee the employee would be entitled to 16 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy, child birth, bonding and related conditions if she is a full time employee and the employer had at least 100 full time employees “on a permanent basis”.  This leave runs concurrently with the FMLA so the total leave is 16 weeks, not 28.  Laws in your state might provide for additional leave time as well.

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