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Length of Pregnancy Leave

Can my boss limit the length of my pregnancy leave?


Not unreasonably.
Most people think of pregnancy leave in terms of the Family and Medical Leave Act.  This federal law, which applies only to employers of 50 or more employees, allows 12 weeks per year of leave, including for pregnancy.  Connecticut has its own FMLA which provides 16 weeks of leave in a 24 month period, and applies to employers of 75 or more.

But the best law in Connecticut which protects women’s pregnancy leave rights is the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA).  This law has a special section devoted directly to this issue.  It makes it illegal for an employer “to refuse to grant to that employee a reasonable leave of absence for disability resulting from her pregnancy.”  So, there is no specific time limit.  If a woman reasonably needs 17 weeks because of complications, she gets it.

The law also makes it illegal for an employer “to fail or refuse to reinstate the employee to her original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits upon her signifying her intent to return unless, in the case of a private employer, the employer’s circumstances have so changed as to make it impossible or unreasonable to do so.”

This law applies to employers of at least 3 employees so it covers almost everyone.  So, don’t let your employer tell you that you only get 12 weeks or that their maternity policy limits your leave.  You get as long as you reasonably need.