There are various laws that protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination and that provide for pregnancy related leave from work. In fact, there are both federal and state laws that provide New Jersey employees the right to take pregnancy leave to give and recovery from giving birth. Each of these laws have different eligibility requirements that govern whether an employer must provide these rights to their employees.
The most commonly known pregnancy leave related law is the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The FMLA was first enacted and signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave for any 12-month period of time in order to give birth or care for a new born or adopted child. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, the employee must be employed by the employer for one year and must have worked 1,250 hours during the one-year period preceding the leave. If the employer is in the private-sector, they must have at least 50 employees for the FMLA to apply to them. All public sector employers, regardless of size, are obligated to provide eligible employees pregnancy leave under the FMLA. In order to exercise rights under the FMLA, a pregnant employee must provide their employer notice of their intent to take the leave at least 30 days in advance of their need for the leave.