While most employees know they can ask for leave during a pregnancy, many are unsure about how the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affect in vitro fertilization. As it turns out, these laws provide accommodation for IVF treatments. Here’s what you need to know.
FMLA and IVF
Under FMLA laws, employers a required to provide their employees with leave for serious health conditions that make it impossible to do your job. That includes physical and mental conditions treated by either inpatient care services or continued treatment under a health care provider.
“Continued treatment” are the key words, which includes anything that might place an employee out of their workplace for three or more consecutive days. Any treatments following those three days are also covered under the FMLA.
So, do IVF treatments count? Yes and no. It depends on whether the treatments you’re pursuing place your out of the office for those three days in a row. Infertility qualifies as a serious health condition under the laws, which means you’ll need to seek treatment for that in addition to IVF.
Luckily, most medical professionals include both to better evaluate your chances of success. You’re allowed to take time to recover after these treatments, which can easily meet the three-day requirement.
ADA and IVF
Aside from FMLA laws, the EEOC has also stated that infertility can fall under the ADA. Since infertility results from an impairment, it can be covered as a disability under the act’s amendments made in 2008. It’s important to note that, if your IVF treatments are successful, the ADA also covers bodily changes surrounding pregnancy.
The act also includes bodily functions related to the reproductive system and individual organs, both of which fall under treatment options for infertility. Unlike the FMLA, the ADA has no time lengths to make disability determinations. So, the moment you begin treatment is the moment you can rely on the ADA.
Experts advise utilizing the ADA when employees face medical leave issues at work under the FMLA. You’ll have to deal with the undue hardships clause, but it might be easier to get the time off you need for doctor’s appointments and more.
PDA and IVF
There’s additional help for IVF patients in the Civil Rights Act, too. Title VII, the PDA amended section of that act, prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy and its surrounding medical conditions. These conditions, like infertility, must be treated the same as any other applicant for all employees.
If your efforts through the FMLA or ADA fall on a manager’s deaf ears but they allow other employees time off and leave for comparable medical treatments, then they must extend the same privileges to you. You might also be able to file a claim of sex discrimination.
Women choosing the route of IVF are just as protected as those already pregnant. You have the right to medical leave for these treatments and deserve to take the time off. Not just for your recovery, but for a chance to be happy and fulfil your desire to have a baby.