Utah's Antidiscrimination Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees for:
Under this law, reasonable accommodations might include the right to take leave from work (Utah Code 34A-5-102(1)(g)).
In addition, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers in Utah from discriminating against employees because of pregnancy, which also gives pregnant employees the right to take time off work in some cases.
For employees who work for larger employers, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives employees the right to take unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Although some states have their own family leave laws, Utah isn't one of them.
Here's what you need to know about how maternity and parental leave works in Utah.
There are two types of laws that might protect you if you need pregnancy leave:
The Utah legislature amended the Utah Antidiscrimination Act in 2016 to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. This law applies to private employers with at least 15 employees. (Utah Code 34A-5-102(1)(i)(i)(D).)
If you request a reasonable accommodation due to your pregnancy, your employer must provide it unless doing so would create an undue hardship for the employer. (An undue hardship is defined as a significant cost or burden, considering the employer's size and resources).
In some cases, the Antidiscrimination Act could allow pregnant employees the right to take time off work as an accommodation.
For an accommodation other than more frequent breaks to eat, drink, and use the restroom, Utah law allows your employer to require you to provide documentation from your health care provider stating:
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act might also protect your right to take time off due to pregnancy. While it doesn't require employers to give pregnant employees time off work, it does require employers to treat employees who can't work due to pregnancy just as it treats employees who are temporarily disabled for other reasons.
For example, if your company lets employees take time off for short-term disabilities—like recovering from surgery or a car accident—it must also allow you to take the same time off when you can't work due to pregnancy.
The FMLA gives eligible employees in Utah the right to take up to 12 weeks off work per year for pregnancy or parenting leave. The FMLA applies only to employers with at least 50 employees.
If you qualify, you can use the FMLA to take time off when you can't work because of your pregnancy and childbirth. You can also take FMLA leave for prenatal care, including routine check-ups and doctor visits.
(Learn more about your right to FMLA leave for pregnancy and disability, including eligibility requirements)
Utah doesn't have a parental leave law, but the FMLA gives employees in Utah the right to take time off to bond with a new child (biological, adopted, or foster). This leave is part of an employee's annual 12-week FMLA leave entitlement. So, if you use 2 weeks of FMLA leave during your pregnancy, you'll have 10 weeks left to use for parenting leave after your child is born.
If you're married to someone who works for the same company, your employer can limit your total amount of FMLA parental leave (maternity and paternity leave) to 12 weeks for both of you. 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. (29 U.S.C. § 825.120(a)(3).)
The FMLA doesn't require employees to take pregnancy leave all at once. For example, you don't need to take a whole day off under the FMLA for your OB-GYN appointments. The law allows you to use a couple of hours of your FMLA leave and then go back to work. The same rule applies to pregnancy-related ailments that might only last a few hours or days.
For parental leave, however, the rules are different. If you want to use your FMLA parenting leave a little at a time—for example, by returning to work half-time for a while or taking some of your leave right after the baby is born and some when your partner returns to work—you need to get your employer's permission.
You must finish your time off within one year of your new child's birth (or placement in your home), even if your employer agrees to let you use your parenting leave intermittently.
FMLA leave is unpaid, as is any leave you take as a reasonable accommodation. But you can ask—or your employer could require you—to use your accrued sick days, vacation, or paid time off (PTO) so that you can be paid during your time off.
Your employer might also offer other benefits like:
Talk to your HR representative or manager (and check your employee handbook) to find out what types of leave are available where you work.
Learn how to get short-term disability insurance for pregnancy if your employer doesn't provide it.
Updated July 24, 2023