Back to Work After Baby: 12 Things to Know Before You Go

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K. Emily Bond on Nov 18, 2009 at 4:25PM

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Know Your Rights

a K. Emily Bond on Nov 18, 2009 at 4:23PM

Before you head back to work, make sure you know what you're returning to.

Believe it or not, maternity or paternity leave is not a guarantee in the U.S. While all 50 states and Puerto Rico fall under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- a federal law that entitles employees to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child -- your exact rights are determined by the state you live in and the company for whom you work.

In some states, if your company has fewer than 50 employees, you might not be entitled to benefits. The same applies to part-time employees. And here's another technicality: Let's say you're top brass. Your employer could argue that your absence caused them financial hardship, which could prevent you from getting your job back.

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