Can I get FMLA Leave for Miscarriage? ANSWER: Maybe
I am often asked whether or not a miscarriage warrants maternity leave. The answer is a bit complicated. When you give birth to a living baby, maternity leave is really just an extension of the Family and Medical Leave Act, aka FMLA and the reason for taking FMLA is due to the birth of your child. Not all companies are covered by this federal act and you have to meet certain criteria in order for you to be eligible. This is a great fact sheet on FMLA.
If you find that you are eligible for FMLA and you recently experienced a miscarriage, you might be able to use your FMLA leave for miscarriage, which secures your employment, while you recover. I always encourage women to take as much time off as they need in order to recover both emotionally and physically from their miscarriage. All that is needed is for you to talk with your care provider about the need for time off following your miscarriage and you may be granted “maternity” leave for miscarriage.
You might still be bleeding, cramping, or experiencing pain which can help you gain FMLA leave for miscarriage. If talking with your care provider doesn’t help, you can also work with a therapist to gain eligibility for FMLA. The therapist would work alongside your care provider to complete the forms needed in order to take the time off to recover emotionally. You don’t have to have a broken leg or other physical impairment to get time off from work. Emotional and mental reasons can qualify you as well (so long as you are eligible for FMLA).
Often following a miscarriage, we are so emotionally distraught that we cannot concentrate on tasks, every day duties are difficult to accomplish, let alone getting ready for work and actually working. I remember my first day back to work following my miscarriage. I cried the entire way to work. Then, when I got there, I cried every time I went into the bathroom because the last time I was there, I was pregnant. I cried in certain places because the last time I was there, I was pregnant.
We have certain triggers yet we don’t know what will trigger us following the miscarriage. We need to take time to heal a bit before returning to work. FMLA for your partner might be a bit tricky unless your partner can articulate that they are taking care of you while you recover.
It can be disheartening to learn that your might not be covered for FMLA leave following a stillbirth as well. Much of this depends on your care provider and how they articulate this event. It is important to work closely with your care provider during a pregnancy loss and if you find your care provider isn’t sensitive to your needs, you should find another care provider.