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My wife is pregnant and also in the process of switching her work status from "benefited" to "non-benefited" (she's a nurse). We use my benefits only (for the most part), and the pay bump is about $13,000/year - so for us, it's worth it.

The issue we've run into now is that, if there are complications with her pregnancy that force her to be on bed rest for many weeks, are there any laws protecting her employment under that circumstance? I know by default she's protected by FMLA, but is that only after giving birth? Even if not, FMLA is only 12 weeks, so if she's placed on bed-rest (or some other extended complication), her time off from work would exceed the FMLA limit I think?

So that the situation is clear, here are the facts:

  • She's in the process of going per diem, which offers a pay bump with no benefits
  • She still has time to cancel the transition if necessary, and remain a benefited employee

We're trying to think through all potential hiccups associated with her continuing with the transition to per diem, but this is purely a legal question, and not really seeking fiscal advice on the situation.

Can her hospital fire her from her position if she has (a) no benefits and (b) a doctors order to bed-rest for say two months before giving birth (so assume two months due to complications before birth and 3 months off after birth)?

Bonus Points: If FMLA is the only thing protecting a mother in this situation, does the fact that she would have short-term disability even matter? While she would get paid for that disability leave, could her employer still opt to fire her if she has to take off an additional 2 months prior to using FMLA?

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