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Does parental leave shield me from layoffs?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Family & Medical Leave Act

Having a baby can be a wonderful experience, but not all employers try to keep it that way. Some employers try to prevent employees from exercising parental leave, or retaliate against them if they do take the time off.

In Colorado, parental leave laws offer crucial protections for expecting parents. However, many wonder if taking maternity leave shields them from potential layoffs, especially now that there have been multiple waves of high-profile layoffs.

Parental leave laws overview

Colorado’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, along with federal regulations like the Family Medical Leave Act protect employees during pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Starting in 2024, most Colorado employees also gained the right to paid leave for these reasons.

Job security during parental leave

The FAMLI Act ensures job protection for employees and guarantees their reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position upon their return to work. However, eligibility requires at least 6 months of employment with the same employer before commencing leave.

Exceptions to protection

While these laws provide significant safeguards, they do not render employees completely immune to layoffs. Employers can legally terminate pregnant employees if there is a legitimate business justification, such as substantial layoffs. However, such decisions must be non-retaliatory and grounded in genuine business needs, completely unrelated to the pregnancy, birth, childcare or the pregnancy leave.

While Colorado’s parental leave laws provide substantial protection, they do not entirely shield employees from layoffs. It is crucial for expecting parents to comprehend their rights and the limitations of these protections. Understanding your rights empowers you to navigate parental leave confidently and make informed decisions about your career and family.