Maternity Leave Wrights

Updated on August 18, 2010
R.V. asks from Hawthorne, CA
12 answers

I’m in a very desperate situation. I came back to work from maternity leave to find out t hat my position had been eliminated. Me not knowing these before, I had arranged my baby-sitting to be five minutes away from my original position, so that I could go and breastfeed my premature baby during my lunch hours and breaks. The new position I was offered as a replacement from my previews one, it’s very demanding and requires a lot of driving around the city. This wouldn’t allow me to go see my baby during my lunchtime. I accepted the job position, requesting that only for the first two months being 6 hours a day. Since I wouldn’t be able to see the baby during the day…I wanted to make my workday shorted and work around the process of breastfeeding. Two days latter my supervisor told me that they couldn’t give the position since I couldn’t do full time and that the way how I use my lunch time, it was up to me if I wanted to breastfeed or do anything else. I don’t have a job any more. Do anybody knows if there are certain law restrictions allowing mothers to work part time for a couple of months? Please help!!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Houston on

Depending on the size of your company, you may or may not qualify for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) protection--which would ensure that you have a "similar" job when you return. California has some more socially progressive laws, but I am not aware of any state that provides any sort of protection after returning...breastfeeding or not. California does have some protections for reasonable accomodations to pump during the workday--and pumping can be done in MANY places.

Your first stop should be at Human Resources. If they are no help, head to the workforce commission. Still have questions, get a lawyer. If it does end up in court, for whatever reason, I would be more sympathetic to a person that I know went through the proper channels.

You DO have a job offer, you chose not to take what was offered. You had a full time job when you left on mat leave, yes? They offered a full time job upon return, yes? As I see it, your only way around it is if you have a medical reason to return part time.

I might sound a little harsh, but I am not meaning to be unsympathetic. However, I know it can be done. I travelled all over North America and Europe and managed to breastfeed for 18 months--not a drop of formula. It is your job to fulfill the requirements of the jobs, not your employer's to make exceptions. The work still has to be done.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You mentioned that your baby was premature...did you have to take leave under medical emergency circumstances and under doctor's orders? If so, under CA law, you "may" have a case against your employer.

The following info is from:
Is it legal to terminate someone who is on pregnancy disability?

It is difficult to answer this question based on the limited amount of information provided. Pregnancy Disability Leave implicates other leaves requirements such as Family Medical Leave and California Family Rights Act as well as various federal and state laws regarding disability discrimination.

In the broad sense, California is an at-will state and unless the employee is contractual or must otherwise be terminated only for cause, she may be terminated at any time. That said, there are many exceptions to that rule. First, you may not terminate an employee on any type of disability because of their disability. Additionally, an employee who takes Pregnancy Disability Leave must be reinstated to the same or similar position when she returns to work unless one of the two following exceptions applies:

(A) That the employee would not otherwise have been employed in her same position at the time reinstatement is requested for legitimate business reasons unrelated to the employee taking a pregnancy disability leave or transfer (such as a layoff pursuant to a plant closure).

(B) That each means of preserving the job or duties for the employee (such as leaving it unfilled or filling it with a temporary employee) would substantially undermine the employer's ability to operate the business safely and efficiently.

Note that it is very difficult to prove that preserving the employee’s position would substantially undermine the employer’s ability to operate the business safely and efficiently. As a result, unless the employee would be terminated due to lay offs or other clearly legitimate reasons, it is best to error on the side of caution.


For another site with an actual synopsis of the California Maternity Leave laws see:

I strongly recommend that you contact an employment attorney in your area for further consultation.

I also recommend you contact your local La Leche League for interpretation of your state's breastfeeding statutes/laws. Many states have breastfeeding protection laws as well, including California. From the information I found online, your employer must/is required to make arrangements and allowances so you can breastfeed and/or pump for your child. A representative from LLI will know in more detail what that would mean for you specifically. To find a coordinator go to .

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

You didn't say how long you were off for the birth of you baby. If you work for a company that employs at least 50 people then they are required to allow you up to 12 weeks FLMA leave for your health condition, to care for a spouse, child, or parent w/ a medical condition, or for the birth/adoption of a child. They have to give you your position or a comparable is up to you to accept or decline but if they offer then they have fulfilled their requirement. If you only took 6 the typical 6 weeks then technically you still have 6 weeks to use. The time can be taken as needed...a day here, an hour or two there, etc. Assuming you still have some time left, check w/ HR and tell them you want to utilitze the rest of your FLMA an hour or two a day to care for/bond w/ your premature baby. If you already took 12 weeks during the last 12 months then this does not apply. One hope would be if they did accept your terms and then change their minds (talk to HR)...but it sounded like you told them your request and they didn't agree to it. Another would be how they treated other new moms in the same or very similiar situation. If they were allow to part-time it to facilitate breastfeeding then they set a presidence and technically have to for you as well.

Luci's mom is right though. They offered you a job, you basically declined (I know you accepted but you did not accept the job as it was offered). Could you perform the job by starting earlier and taking a long lunch, then finishing up with a full time day?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Before my first child was born, my job had a rather complex description where I was expected to maintain 40 office hours per week plus attend additional evening functions "as needed." When I found out I was pregnant, I researched alternatives and made very detailed proposals as to how I could complete the functions of my job part-time in the office, part-time at home, and still attend additional functions as needed.....

Despite my best efforts and a very reasonable proposal, the powers that be were unwilling to accomodate my requests. So I quit. I had to prioritize, and I came to the conlusion that I could not remain in such a draining work environment that left me nothing for my family at the end of the day. Sounds like that is the kind of decision you need to make. Unfortunately, the law is not as helpful as a new mother might hope. Best wishes.

*** You may have some room to negotiate if you are only requesting part-time accomodations for a temporary period due to your daughter's premature birth. It would be counted as a "reasonable accomodation" due to a family member's "temporary disability." That or they may extend your leave (possibly without pay) but keep a position for you when your daughter is better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

You should check with a lawyer, but since they offered you a similar job, and it was your choice to not work it, they may be covered legally, although I know it still sucks.



answers from Chicago on

You got a lot of good advice already but some thing to also consider is pumping. Lots of woman pump during work hours & I don't know the actual laws but I believe employers must allow for "pumping time". And unless your premature baby has medical conditions that only allow for breastmilk, you probably don't have a case against your employer.



answers from Tulsa on

Call your state labor board. They have the answers you need.



answers from Los Angeles on

Apart from all the great advices from other mamas, I strongly suggest that if you can try pumping. I also have a 3 months baby girl and just returned back to work. The company has to allow pumping time and they have made room for the female employees if they need pumping. Breastfeeding can still continue while you are at home or weekends. And, expressed milk can make sure baby get all the good stuff from breastmilk.



answers from Austin on

The problem here is that you weren't going back the same as when you left. If you were going to be working the same as before your maternity, and you qualified for FMLA, then your position is job protected. But you are wanting to go back with less time... would they have hired you in the first place if your availability was what it is now? Legally, they have to make allowances to allow you to care for your child (especially if you are breastfeeding...) IF it doesn't pose undue hardship to the company. If your shorter hours mean that they have to hire another employee to pick up the slack, that is undue hardship. This is a crappy situation... When I returned to work after my maternity leave, I had to give up my managerial position and take a pay cut in order to keep my job because I wanted shorter hours as well.


answers from Dallas on

Thank you to President Clinton for FMLA and so much more. This gives moms and dads more rights to take off in this situation. However, all it requires is that you be offered a similar position. If they gave you this job that doesn't work for you, they may have been trying to get you to quit. I'm sorry you are getting the shaft like that. Even though it's legal, it sure isn't right! You could benefit from talking to an attorney. See if you can get a free consultation. At least you would know where you stand.



answers from Albuquerque on

File for unemployment right away. It doesn't sound like a very family friendly environment anyway. I would try to find something more family friendly, just make sure you're taking money home after day care costs and all. Good luck!



answers from Boise on

As far as I know they have to have a position for you when you return. They do not have to allow you to go to part time (that is usually something that you arrange before coming back, if your company is willing). They may also not have to keep you if you are unable to fill the position that this there (full-time). Did they accept your acceptance with the 6 hour day? That might actually be what to go after. They agreed to your terms and then changed their minds 2 days later? You may want to get some legal advice.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions