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Colorado Intermittent Maternity Leave

Posted by Tamara

In Colorado, new mothers often want to take family leave to bond with a newborn child, but instead of returning to work full time, want to continue using FMLA leave to work part-time. Colorado employers aren’t legally obligated to agree to this situation. In fact, Colorado has no family leave laws at the state level, so this type of leave comes under federal jurisdiction, specifically the jurisdiction of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA allows eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for a number of reasons. These reasons include time for a new parent to care for a newborn, a newly adopted baby or a child newly fostered into the home.

An employee can also take FMLA when she has a serious health condition, or to care for a spouse, parent or child (under 18) with a serious health condition. FMLA for a serious health condition can be taken intermittently.

However, when FMLA is taken to care for a new child, the regulations permit the employer to require that the leave be taken continuously, rather than intermittently. This is the employer’s option. There is nothing within this law that requires employers to grant intermittent family leave to bond with a baby.

For example, Kate adopted an infant in April. She wants to take 12 weeks of FMLA leave to bond with her baby. FMLA guarantees that when she returns to work, she will return either to the same job or to a job with comparable salary, working conditions and benefits.

Kate decides, however, that rather than taking all 12 weeks continuously, she would like to use 8 weeks at home, and the remaining 4 weeks to return to work part time. Her employer is under no legal obligation to agree to this arrangement.

Employers can legally grant intermittent family leave if they wish. They are not under legal obligation to do so, but may if the two parties can agree on a mutually satisfying schedule.



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