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Exploring your rights under the Parental Leave Act - II

Last month, our blog started discussing how even though a soon-to-be parent is understandably consumed by millions of baby-related thoughts in the months leading up to their new arrival, they also have many questions concerning both their employment and the leave to which they are entitled after the birth.

To that end, we started discussing the Parental Leave Act, which states that qualifying Minnesota employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. In today's post, we'll continue this discussion.

More about the Parental Leave Act

One of the more frequent questions employees have regarding their rights under the Parental Leave Act is whether it counts against the leave granted by the federal Family Medical Leave Act, which also mandates that employers must provide employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child.

The simple answer is that an employee is granted 12 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child total despite otherwise qualifying for both the Parental Leave Act and the FMLA. In other words, parental leave does count against FMLA leave.

Another important question that expecting parents have concerning their employment is whether their employer must continue providing benefits during the 12 weeks they are away.

Under Minnesota law, employers are indeed required to continue benefits during pregnancy or parental leave. However, employees may be also be required to contribute toward these benefits as they normally would.

On a related -- and extremely important note -- state law also dictates that employers cannot take any sort of retaliatory measures as a result of taking pregnancy or parental leave.

This means employers must do the following:

  • Allow employees to return to their same position, or one with equivalent pay, hours and duties after pregnancy or parental leave.
  • Allow employees to retain the same level of seniority and the same benefits after pregnancy or parental leave.    

If you believe that you've been victimized by any type of workplace discrimination, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about how you can seek justice

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