Maternity and Parental Leave Laws in Kansas

The Kansas Act Against Discrimination allows employees to take unpaid pregnancy leave and the FMLA provides pregnancy and parenting leave.

By , J.D.

If you work in Kansas, Kansas law gives you the right to take unpaid pregnancy leave and the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives you the right to take unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting. Also, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) also prohibits your employer from discriminating against you because of your pregnancy, which may give you the right to take time off work in some cases.

Taking Time Off During Pregnancy in Kansas

There are two types of laws that might protect you if you need pregnancy leave: laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination and laws that require pregnancy leave.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

The Kansas Act Against Discrimination (KAAD) prohibits employers with four or more employees from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex (among other things). The administrative regulations interpreting this law require covered employers to allow employees to take a "reasonable" period of leave while they are temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, or recovery from these conditions. Employees must be reinstated when their leave is through.

Family and Medical Leave Under the FMLA

The FMLA gives employees who work for companies with at least 50 employees the right to take up to 12 weeks off work in a one-year period for pregnancy and childbirth. The FMLA applies only to employers with at least 50 employees. Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, and at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding their leave. (Learn more about the FMLA, including eligibility requirements, in our article on FMLA leave for pregnancy and disability.)

Pregnancy Discrimination

The PDA does not require employers to give pregnant employees time off work. However, it does require employers to treat employees who are unable to work due to pregnancy just as it treats other employees who are temporarily disabled for other types of illnesses and injuries.

Parenting Leave in Kansas

The FMLA gives employees the right to take time off to bond with a new child, as part of their 12-week FMLA leave. Although some states have their own parental leave laws, Kansas does not. The FMLA allows employees to take their pregnancy leave intermittently, if it's medically necessary. For example, if you have a prenatal check-up, you don't have to take a whole day off; you can use a couple of hours of your leave, then go back to work.

If you want to use your parenting leave under the FMLA a little at a time, your employer must agree to it; you aren't automatically entitled to use your parenting leave intermittently. If your employer agrees to let you use your parenting leave intermittently, you must finish your time off within one year after the baby is born.

If you are married to someone who works for the same company, your employer can limit your total amount of FMLA leave for parenting to 12 weeks for both of you. (Note that this rule does not apply to unmarried couples.) However, whatever portion of your own 12 weeks of FMLA leave you don't use for parenting will still be available to you for other reasons, including your own serious health condition.

Getting Paid During Your Time Off

FMLA leave and leave under the Kansas Act Against Discrimination is unpaid. However, you may ask—or your employer may require you—to use your accrued paid leave (like sick days, vacation, or PTO) to get paid during your time off.

Your employer may also offer maternity and paternity leave benefits, parental benefits, or short-term disability insurance. Talk to your HR representative or manager (and check your employee handbook) to find out what types of leave are available to you.

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