New Mom Was Laid Off From Her Job One Hour After Being Back From Her Unpaid Maternity Leave

She didn't receive any warning to start looking for a new job while on leave.

tired new mom laid off from her job Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

A new mom admitted that she was caught off guard after returning from her maternity leave only to find out that she was no longer employed. 

She was laid off from her job an hour after being back from an unpaid maternity leave.

Sofia, @thesofiaexperience on TikTok, explained that she's worked in advertising for about 10 years and has never been fired or laid off in her entire professional career. 


Because of this, she was more than shocked when she returned from her 12-week unpaid maternity leave only to be let go at the drop of a hat.

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Unfortunately, Sofia isn't alone in the stark reality of inadequate maternity leave for mothers in this country. According to Healthline, 40% of women don't qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which grants 12 weeks of protected job leave, unpaid, at the federal level. 

Only 12% of women in the private sector have access to any sort of paid maternity leave. On top of that, 25% of women are forced to return to work just two weeks after giving birth to support their families.

The United States is the only first-world country that doesn't offer a national paid maternity leave that exceeds the usual 12 weeks, which has been proven to be too short for mothers recovering from birth. 

Not only was Sofia gone for three months without any pay, but the bigger issue for her was the lack of empathy and transparency that her boss displayed.


"This issue is my employer not being able to tell me while I'm on medical leave that I should maybe look for a job during those three months," she said. "Granted, I was told I was safe from all of the layoffs." 

stressed new mom working on computer fizkes / Shutterstock

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She explained that if she wasn't in a good financial position, she'd be struggling from the sudden layoff.

"If I wasn't in the financial position that I was in, I would be completely screwed," Sofia admitted before using her platform to raise awareness of just how lacking U.S. maternity leave policies are.

She pointed out that while there are FMLA protections that make sure new mothers or pregnant women aren't fired or laid off with no notice, since she worked for a small company, they didn't qualify for some of the FMLA coverage. 

Because of that, she was left vulnerable, and there was also no set protocol for taking her maternity leave in the first place — she simply had to tell her boss that she would be using the 12 weeks of unpaid leave and cross her fingers that there wouldn't be an issue

Of course, this is just another issue that mothers face in this country. It's incredibly saddening that Sofia was subjected to such levels of uncertainty and vulnerability upon returning from her maternity leave — and she's far from the only one.


"We have worked with countless women through our helpline who have been forced out onto unpaid leave or terminated for needing accommodations," Sarah Brafman, gender and women's rights advocate, told Vox. "They have lost their income. They have lost their health insurance. They were the primary breadwinner of their family and were forced into eviction, forced to go on to public benefits."

Mothers already face an obscene amount of obstacles, from societal expectations to workplace challenges. Navigating maternity leave with an added fear of potentially losing their jobs once they return, or being forced to go back to work earlier than recommended because they can't afford to stay home any longer, are things that add more pressure to already overwhelmed and exhausted new mothers.

There's an urgent need for societal changes that address all of the injustice and discrimination that pregnant women and mothers face in this country. While Sofia admitted that she can still financially survive without a job, there are plenty of other women out there who don't have that luxury and deserve the same level of protection and support.


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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.