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FMLA 101 – Mississippi Maternity Leave

Posted by Tamara

An employee with a serious health condition, or who needs to care for a family member with a serious health condition is, in most cases, eligible for federal FMLA leave.

FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for one of three reasons.

  1. The employee’s own serious health condition.
  2. The employee to care for a spouse, parent or child (under 18) with a serious health condition.
  3. To care for a newborn child, a newly adopted child or a newly placed foster child. (Leave is allowed within the child’s first year of birth or placement.)

FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

Several conditions may be classified as “serious health conditions” under FMLA. Some examples include:

  • Mental illness such as bipolar disorder and depression
  • Drug addiction and alcoholism
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer, stroke and heart attack
  • Any health condition that requires hospitalization, surgery, or continuing medical treatment, may also be considered a serious health condition.

Some states have established their own maternity or family leave laws, but Mississippi has not. Therefore, Mississippi employers must follow the FMLA guidelines.

FMLA allows an employee to take this leave once every 12 month period, and the employer must give the worker a job upon his or her return from leave. Usually, the job is the same, but can also be a similar position with comparable job duties, benefits and wages. A worker on FMLA cannot be terminated while on leave, nor can the absence be counted as non-attendance for disciplinary reasons.

For example, Jose works as a manager in a retail store and takes FMLA leave to care for his mother after she has a stroke. Unfortunately, during his absence, the store burned down. Jose still has a job. When he returns from leave, he is assigned to a new store and given the same hours, benefits and duties as his old position.


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