For Eligible Employees Who Are Pregnant and are Ordered to Bed Rest, When Do They Start Using FMLA Time?

A common misconception is that employees who are eligible for FMLA leave receive 12 weeks of post-birth leave guaranteed.  While that might be true in many, if not most, situations, the truth is that the FMLA covers time off for such things as prenatal care, bed-rest/incapacity related to the pregnancy, and time off for medical complications related to the pregnancy that rise to the level of a serious health condition.  Time taken off for these situations will decrease the 12-week entitlement to FMLA and employers should count it against the entitlement accordingly.  That is not to say that employers need to refuse to allow a new mother the full 12 weeks off post-birth; but whatever time is allowed to be taken over the 12-week entitlement would be under the company’s unpaid leave of absence policy and should not be classified as FMLA.


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