When your child is born, your entire life changes. This includes your relationship with your job. Most parents are aware of the workplace rights they are extended during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first few months of their babies’ lives, but they are not necessarily aware of the exact legal terms of these rights. Because of this, some parents can face hardships or be denied their rights in the workplace.
Consider the following points if you are pregnant or planning to start a family in New Jersey within the next few years. For further clarification of your workplace rights as a parent, speak with an experienced employment attorney.
1. You are Protected from Pregnancy Discrimination
This means that you can not be terminated for being pregnant, denied a promotion or passed over for employment, or otherwise treated unfairly in your workplace because of your pregnancy. In an interview, it is illegal for an employer to ask if you have children or plan to have children.
2. You are Entitled to Time Off
But your employer does not have to pay you for this time off. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, you are entitled to take up to 12 weeks off from work during a 12-month period for childbirth and bonding with your new baby.
3. Fathers are Entitled to Time Off as Well
It is a myth that only women can take time off from work for childbirth and bonding with a new baby. If you are a male, you are also entitled to take leave from work to spend time with your partner and child.
4. You are Entitled to Reasonable Accommodations
These accommodations can include using a step stool if you normally have to stand for prolonged periods during your shift, taking time to use a breast pump and store breast milk, or taking time from work to attend doctor’s appointments related to a pregnancy or new baby. A reasonable accommodation is an alteration that a company makes to an employee’s schedule or work environment to allow him or her to continue working despite his or her health condition.
5. Your Company’s Policy Regarding Resignation After a Leave
You might find that you do not want to return to work after your parental leave expires. If this is the case, talk to your Human Resources department or consult your employee handbook to find out how to resign in conjunction with a leave according to your company’s policy. Depending on your company’s benefits policies, you could be required to pay back some of the financial coverage you received during your leave.
Employment Attorneys in New Jersey
Bringing a child into the world changes everything in a parent’s life, including his or her work schedule. As a parent, you have the right to continue with your career after your child is born. If these rights are violated, you have the right to take legal action against your employer. Contact our team of experienced New Jersey attorneys at The Sattiraju & Tharney, LLPto discuss your case and determine if you have grounds to take action to assert your workplace rights as an employee and a parent.