Maternity leave

Our company located in Washington State currently does not have a maternity leave policy as this is the first pregnancy in the companies existance. (We are currently drafting one) We are not subject to FMLA as we have 12 employees.

We verbally granted an employee six weeks unpaid leave for her pregnancy and it has now expanded to seven weeks. We hired a temp to cover her position. Through correspondence she has decided she wants to work three days on site and three days from home and said that she thought this had been agreed verbally before she left. We did not make any verbal agreements and all other employees work on site.

Do we have the right to tell her that we want her to work full time on site without causing a problem legally? If she is not willing we then would have to consider terminating her employment. We do not want to set a precedent as we have another possible maternity leave in the near future.


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  • Hi plynnl - You are correct that your company is not subject to FML, federal or state, however, here in Washington we have another agency to be concerned about - the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

    Employers with 8 or more employees must follow certain rules regarding pregnancy & childbirth. I'm attaching a link for your review. [url][/url] Please review and ensure that your company is consistent with its treatment of all employees, i.e. if you have let someone else go on an extended leave of absence then you have to give her the same consideration.

    If your company does not allow other employees to work from home ("...and all other employees work on site.") then you are allowed to let this employee know that her suggestion is not possible for your organization. I would let her know that you apologize for anything that may have been said that gave her the impression that it would be "okay" but it's simply not. I would put this into a letter & include a date that you expect her to return to work. x:-)

  • Thank you for the link and your information. I will check the link out and hopefully get this resolved.
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