CHW Patient Portal Access      -      Our New Medical Spa is Now Open!   Modern Medical Spa  -  509-392-5007
Skip to main content

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Title: Understanding FMLA and Maternity Leave in Washington State: A Guide for Expectant Mothers

Congratulations on your impending arrival! While pregnancy is a time of great excitement, it can also introduce a multitude of questions - one being how to balance your work responsibilities with the need for time off during and after your pregnancy. That's where the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Washington State's Family and Medical Leave (PFML) come into play. 


What is the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that the employer maintains the employee's health benefits during the leave. While FMLA does not guarantee paid time off, it ensures that you can take the necessary time to care for your newborn without the fear of losing your job or health insurance.


What is PFML?

In 2020, Washington State introduced its own version of family and medical leave, known as Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML). PFML is one of the most generous programs of its kind in the United States. It offers eligible workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, or to care for one's own or a family member's serious health condition, with a maximum of 18 weeks in certain circumstances.


Timing for Leave

When it comes to FMLA, you can start your leave 12 weeks before your expected due date, but remember, this time is unpaid. You might consider using this time only if you have medical issues or complications that require you to step away from work before the baby's arrival.

The PFML allows you to take leave from either the day your baby is born or the day after, up to a year after the birth. However, remember that you need to apply to use PFML, and it's recommended to do so as soon as possible after your baby's birth or the start of your leave, whichever is later.


How Does This Affect You?

You might wonder how these two laws interact. The answer is that they run concurrently, meaning that if you qualify for both, any leave you take will count against your entitlement under both FMLA and PFML. Therefore, even though FMLA doesn't provide paid leave, using it in conjunction with PFML allows you to receive some income while also protecting your job.


How to Prepare?

Planning your maternity leave can be as important as preparing your baby's nursery. So, here are some tips:

1. Understand Your Eligibility: Check with your employer's HR department or your supervisor to understand if you are eligible for FMLA or PFML. Both have specific eligibility requirements.

2. Communicate Early and Often: As soon as you feel comfortable, notify your employer about your pregnancy and discuss your plans for leave. 

3. Create a Transition Plan: Prepare a handover plan for your duties to minimize disruptions at work and ensure a smoother return.

4. Apply for PFML: You need to apply to use PFML. It's recommended to apply as soon as possible after your baby's birth or the start of your leave, whichever is later. 

5. Understand Your Rights: Know your rights regarding job protection, continuation of benefits, and the use of paid and unpaid leave. 

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can be overwhelming. By understanding and leveraging the FMLA and PFML, you can ensure you have the time to heal, bond with your baby, and adapt to your new role as a parent while maintaining your professional life. 

Please remember, this is a general guide, and the specifics of your situation may necessitate a different approach. Always consult with your employer and potentially a legal professional to ensure you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled.

*In the state of Washington for the FMLA forms see this link:




*You can turn in your FMLA forms around 36 weeks - 12 weeks postpartum*

You can E-Mail the forms to, Klara message it, or turn it in to the Front Desk. 


Complete Healthcare for Women - Obstetrics and Gynecology


Richard Lorenzo, D.O.

Kortney Jones ARNP

Dr. Lorenzo Richard Lorenzo, DO Dr. Lorenzo is also a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He provides gynecological and obstetric services, including prenatal care, pregnancy care, infertility, and gynecology. Dr. Lorenzo is proficient in advanced surgical techniques, including minimally-invasive procedures, as well as surgery for abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, and hysterectomy. He has specialized training in high-risk obstetrics and minimally invasive surgical techniques, including minimally invasive hysterectomy.

You Might Also Enjoy...


Prevention is Key: Managing Vaginitis in Women's Health

Vaginitis is a common medical condition that can cause significant discomfort and distress. Seeking medical attention is crucial if you suspect you have vaginitis, as it can usually be treated with medication and lifestyle changes.