Offering new parents leave has been shown to improve employee engagement and retention and helps companies avoid a gender misbalance in the workplace. However, access to leave varies by industry and most workers still don’t have access to paid maternity leave.
Whether a new parent is guaranteed time off varies state by state, depending on a company’s size and location. Companies with 50 or more employees must offer FMLA leave, though there are more extensive plans required in many states, some of which also cover smaller companies.
What is Maternity Leave?
Employees are eligible for maternity leave before and after the birth of a child. Depending on the state it may also be taken after a child is adopted or fostered. Often maternity leave is covered by parental leave laws, but in other cases these rights only apply to mothers, not fathers.
Federal Law on Maternal Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year, with reinstatement rights, in various circumstances. These include incapacity due to pregnancy, the birth of a child and caring for a newborn. However, employees are only eligible if they work for companies with 50 or more employees, and have completed at least 1,250 hours of work in the previous year.
Maternity Leave Laws by State
Many states go further than federal law when it comes to maternity leave. Some extend FMLA laws to smaller companies, while others guarantee paid leave. These policies differ according to eligibility, length of leave, and, if paid, how they are funded. In several states, pregnancy and childbirth qualify mothers for short-term disability benefits.
While not necessarily guaranteeing leave, other states require that pregnancy is treated as a temporary disability and so if a company provides leave for those with other temporary disabilities, they must do the same in for pregnant employees.
Now let’s break down leave laws for mothers wherever you are. Watch out: these are the rules for private sector employees—in many states public sector employees are offered more generous conditions.
|State||Unpaid Leave Beyond FMLA?||Who Is Eligible for Paid Leave?||How Long Does Paid Leave Last?||How Much Do Employees Receive?|
|California*||Companies with 5+ employees: Up to 4 months unpaid pregnancy-disability leave if employee is unable to work.
Companies with 20+ employees: 12 weeks unpaid leave for new parents
|New parents who earned $300+ in the previous year.
If unable to work due to pregnancy, employees can also claim Temporary Disability Insurance
|8 weeks||60-70% of wages up to $1,300 per week.
Funded by employee wage deductions
|Connecticut**||All pregnant employees entitled to 16 weeks unpaid in rolling 24 month period.
Companies with 3+ employees must also offer “reasonable” leave for disability due to pregnancy
|Hawaii||No||All working women||Duration spent physically disabled due to pregnancy/childbirth (usually 6-8 weeks. Up to 6 months)||58% of average wages. Employers are required to maintain private coverage or self-insure|
|Iowa||Companies with 4+ employees must offer 8 weeks unpaid leave, with no minimum tenure requirement||–||–||–|
|Kansas||Companies with 4+ employees must offer employees a “reasonable” period of leave when unable to work due to pregnancy||–||–||–|
|Kentucky||6 weeks of unpaid leave available to all employees who adopt a child under the age of 7||–||–||–|
|Louisiana||Companies with 25+ employees must provide 6 weeks of leave (+ 4 months for a pregnancy-related disability)||–||–||–|
|Maine||Companies with 15+ employees must offer 10 weeks unpaid leave||–||–||–|
|Maryland||Companies with 15-49 employees must offer 6 weeks unpaid parental leave||–||–||–|
|Massachusetts**||Companies with 6+ employees must offer 8 weeks unpaid leave for birth or adoption||–||–||–|
|Minnesota||Companies with 21+ employees must provide 12 weeks unpaid leave||–||–||–|
|Montana||All female employees are entitled to a “reasonable leave of absence for pregnancy”||–||–||–|
|New Hampshire||Employers must grant unpaid leave for temporary disability due to pregnancy||–||–||–|
|New Jersey||Companies with 30+ employees must offer 12 weeks unpaid leave||All employees||Typically 4 weeks prior to birth and 6 weeks after for temporary disability, plus 12 (or 8, if taken non-consecutively) further weeks for parental leave||85% of average wage (up to $881 per week). Temporarily Disability is funded by employee + employer contributions; Family Leave is funded by payroll deductions|
|New York||All private sector employers must offer 10 weeks unpaid leave||All private sector employees||Typically 6-8 weeks for disability due to pregnancy and a further 10 weeks of parental leave once for new parents||Temporary Disability: Up to 50% of salary (up to $170 per week). Funded by employee + employer contributions.
Parental Leave: Up to 60% of average salary (up to $840.70 per week). Funded by payroll deductions
|Ohio||Most companies must provide 12 weeks unpaid leave||–||–||–|
|Oregon||Companies with 25+ employees must offer 12 weeks unpaid leave for both pregnancy disability + parental leave||–||–||–|
|Rhode Island||Companies with 50+ employees must offer 13 weeks unpaid leave||All employees||Temporary Disability Insurance for the duration of disability due to pregnancy, followed by 4 additional weeks for new mothers||Up to $887 per week. Funded by employee wage deductions|
|Tennessee||Companies with 100+ employees must offer 4 months unpaid leave||–||–||–|
|Vermont||Companies with 10+ employees must offer 12 weeks unpaid leave.||–||–||–|
|Washington||All employers must offer paid leave but only those with 50+ employees must offer job protection||All employees (with minimum 820 hours worked)||12 weeks (or more in the case of complications)||Up to $1,000 per week. Funded by employee + employer contributions|
|Wisconsin||Slightly different eligibility requires to FMLA||–||–||–|
|Washington D.C.||Companies with 20+ employees must offer 16 weeks unpaid leave||Employees who have worked 1,000+ hours in the past year for companies with 20+ employees||8 weeks||Up to $1,000 per week. Funded by employer tax|
|Puerto Rico||When medically necessary, employee can qualify for 12 weeks unpaid leave (in addition to paid leave)||Yes||Generally 8 weeks: 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after birth||Up to $113 per week. Funded by Employee + employer contributions|
*This refers to state-wide California law. Cities within California may offer extended benefits
** Massachusetts, Connecticut and Oregon have passed laws guaranteeing paid maternity leave but benefits will not be available until 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.
Paycor is not a legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor. All communication from Paycor should be confirmed by your company’s legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor before making any decisions.
Paycor is Here to Help
Paycor gives HR leaders the technology and expertise they need to stay compliant as well as hire, train and engage employees. When employees return from maternity leave, it’s important that they are successfully reintegrated into your business. For best practices, watch our webinar on How To Help New Parents Re-Enter The Workplace And Thrive.