Mother's Day Quiz! (2021 version)

Test your knowledge about FMLA, pregnancy, and more!

How much do you know about moms in the workplace . . . in 2021? Take our quiz and find out! As long as you are a mom, have a mom, love a mom, or know a mom, you are welcome here. As always, the answer will appear at the end of each question, so you can cheat all you want and we'll never know.

(But be careful -- if Mom catches you cheating, you may get a time out.)

If you make it all the way through, there will be a special Mother's Day gift selected especially for you!

Ready? Here we go:

No. 1: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said that it is unlawful for an employer to require a pregnant employee to be vaccinated for COVID-19.



ANSWER: False, believe it or not. The EEOC guidance on mandatory vaccinations says that employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees who can't or don't want to be vaccinated because of (1) a disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or (2) a sincerely held religious objection.

But employers who are requiring COVID vaccinations should also consider accommodating women who do not want to be vaccinated because of pregnancy or related conditions, in addition to the two "officially approved" reasons.

No. 2: Melanie, who has worked for you full time for more than a year, tells you that her grandma is very sick with COVID. Melanie brings a medical certification saying that she is "needed to care for" her grandma. She tells you that her parents died when she was five years old and that her grandma raised her and "was a mother to me." Being the nice HR person that you are, you of course want Melanie to get the time off. But is she technically eligible for FMLA leave?

A. Of course not! Everybody knows that employees can't take FMLA leave to care for their grandparents!

B. No, because COVID is not a "serious health condition" within the meaning of the FMLA.

C. Probably so. It sounds as if Grandma acted "in loco parentis" to Melanie when Melanie was a child. If so, then Grandma would be a "parent" to Melanie for FMLA purposes and Melanie could take the job-protected leave.

ANSWER: C. A "parent" for FMLA purposes includes not only biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, and step-parents, but also persons who served in the role of "parent" when the employee was young. This can include a grandparent, sibling, or aunt or uncle, as well as a person who has no biological relationship to the employee. Here's the proof.

No. 3: Veronica reports that a child in her son's third-grade class has been diagnosed with COVID, which means that Veronica's son has been exposed. She asks to take half a day off so that she can get him tested. She may need up to an additional day while they wait for the test results. She also warns you that, if he tests positive, she will need to stay home with him until he is able to return to school. She asks to take FMLA leave to cover her time off. Assuming she is otherwise eligible, can she?

A. Sure. If COVID is not a "serious health condition," then what is?

B. It's complicated. The COVID testing would not be covered by the FMLA, nor would the time spent waiting for the test result. But if her son actually has COVID, then the time off to be with him while he is sick would almost certainly be covered.

C. No. The testing and waiting time wouldn't be covered under the FMLA, and even if the son has COVID, there is no FMLA unless he is incapacitated for more than three calendar days.

ANSWER: B. Of course, I would still let Veronica have all of the time off that she has asked for, but the testing and waiting time would not be covered by the FMLA. If her son does have COVID, then that would almost certainly be a "serious health condition" that qualifies Veronica for FMLA leave (the child is likely to be "incapacitated" for more than three calendar days, and likely to be undergoing a "continuing course of treatment" with a health care provider).

No. 4: Bettye is returning to work from maternity leave. Because she is nursing, she will need to express milk during the work day. You understand that you are required by law to provide her with breaks and a place to "do her business." Which of the following would be the best choice for her "lactation space"?

A. Her cubicle, with a heavy wool blanket hung over the entrance while she is expressing milk.

B. The ladies' room, where she can lock herself into a stall.

C. The janitor's broom closet, which is 5' x 5' and filthy.

D. A vacant office or conference room, provided that there is a lock on the door or you can install one.

ANSWER: D. (Assuming you do put a lock on the door.) Under the law, the location for "lactation breaks" must be private (which rules out the cubicle/blanket "solution") and clean (which rules out the broom closet). Under no circumstances can it be a restroom -- no matter how private and clean that restroom may be. In addition to having a lock on the door, the lactation area should also have a place for the employee to set up her pump, meaning a table, desk, or other piece of furniture (or counter) with a flat surface.

No. 5: The Biden Administration has proposed or endorsed some initiatives that could make things easier for mothers in the workplace. What are they?

A. The American Families Plan, which among other things, would provide paid leave for certain qualifying reasons.

B. The American Moms Are Great! Plan, which would require employers to give hiring preference to mothers over fathers and childless people. 

C. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and related conditions.

D. The American Moms and Apple Pie Plan, which would require employers to serve apple pie a la mode on Mother's Day to all mothers and expectant mothers in the workplace.

E. A and C.

F. All of the above.

ANSWER: E. Although I kind of like that "D" idea. Oh, Mr. President?


4-5 correct: You are Mommie Dearest! But in a good way!

2-3 correct: You are Mrs. Banks. A little distracted and spacy, but you still love Jane and Michael.

0-1 correct: Eek! Mrs. Bates!


Just kidding! You all did great! And here is that Mother's Day gift I promised you:

*sob!* Norman Bates would approve. Happy Mother's Day, everybody!

Image Credits: Still images from flickr, Creative Commons license. Owl card by Patrick Emerson, purple card by Laura Shelton.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
Continue Reading



Back to Page