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Required pay for employee on maternity leave?

September 7, 2012

Question:

Dear Jennifer,

One of my employees is pregnant, I’m not sure if she is coming back but she is demanding to be paid for 3 months, am I obligated to pay her?

Thanks,

Dr. K

Answer:

Well, that depends. Do you have an office policy that says you will pay employees for 3 months while they are on maternity? If not, there are no laws that specify you are required to pay employees while they are on maternity. However, that does not mean you may not have an obligation to an employee on maternity, like the staff member you describe who has not even given you the courtesy of letting you know whether she intends on coming back to work. In fact, there is a chance that you will be required to provide the employee with 3 months of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (should your practice qualify as covered) and that the employee will qualify for disability benefits in accordance with the NYS Workers Compensation Law (“WCL”).

 

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