Missouri does not have a state law that specifically requires employers to offer pregnancy leave. Guidelines issued under the Missouri Human Rights Act require employers to provide the same leave benefits to women affected by pregnancy that are provided to employees with temporary disabilities. The leave offered may be with or without pay, or not provided at all, as long as all employees are treated the same in their requests for temporary disability leave. According to the guidelines, employers that terminate employees with a temporary disability because of an inadequate leave policy may be in violation of the Human Rights Act, if such a policy has a disproportionate impact on employees of one sex and is not justified by business necessity.
Some states have family and medical leave laws that require employers to provide unpaid leave for an employee's own illness, including pregnancy, or to care for a newborn. Missouri does not have such a law that covers private employers. However, if an employer does offer leave to care for a newborn, the state Human Rights Law would most likely be interpreted to require that the leave be offered to both male and female employees. In addition, employers with 50 or more employees may have leave obligations under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
State employees. Missouri does have a law that grants family and medical leave to public employees. Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, to provide care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition, or for the treatment of the employee's own health condition (1 CSR 20-5.020).