Women have a wealth of support when it comes to maternity leave and FMLA. Local, regional, state and federal departments are set up to protect women during pregnancy from employer discrimination and retaliation. It is often best to start closest to home and work up the chain to regional, state and federal departments.
State Department of Labor
A quick Internet search can easily reveal the website for your state Department of Labor. This department is your first line of communication for any questions about FMLA and state maternity laws. The state Department of Labor will also have information on short term disability and state laws regarding disability. Some states offer state-funded disability payments.
Federal Department of Labor
If the information you require is not available from the state Department of Labor, contact the federal Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. The phone number for the United States Department of Labor - Wage and Hour Division – is 866-487-9243.
Two other organizations that may be helpful for pregnant women seeking information about maternity leave and employee rights are the National Partnership for Women and Families and Families and Work Institute. Both are organizations operating outside the federal and state governments.
Private Short Term Disability
If your employer does not offer short term disability insurance, you can apply for coverage from a private company. Unfortunately, coverage must be obtained before you are pregnant, in most cases. Insurance companies set a coverage rate based on health history, current health, and other proprietary factors.
There are many online websites, including the American Pregnancy Association, offering information on maternity leave and short term disability. Read as much information as you can before pregnancy and during the first trimester of pregnancy to ensure you understand your rights as a pregnant woman in the workplace.