It's hard to believe that the U.S. — the wealthiest nation in the world in terms of GDP — offers zero weeks of paid maternity leave under federal law. And the private sector doesn't pick up the slack, either; while numbers shift depending on the study, roughly 40-60 percent of employers offer no paid maternity leave whatsoever. This makes the already difficult balance of family and career even harder when women are confronted with the economic realities of what's at stake if they have a child.
But what about FMLA and state laws and short-term disability? While those regulations can help, they depend on eligibility. Find out just how much you know about maternity leave policies with the following questionnaire:
As you quiz yourself (or your friends, coworkers or family), keep in mind the links take you to the answer to the question (as well as further resources).
1. This law provides you job-protected time off of work for up to 12 weeks if you work for a company of at least 50 employees and you've worked at least 12 months at an average of 24 hours per week.
2. The U.S. does not offer a standard [two words to fill in the blank] length.
3. Offering up to 10 weeks of partially paid parental leave under a law that was expanded in 2019, this East Coast state has some of the best family benefits in the U.S.
4. This North American country's labor code mandates unpaid maternity leave of up to 17 weeks for all new mothers.
5. A type of insurance that covers you after you've exhausted sick leave and you're unable to work for a short period of time (and includes pregnancy); the total length ranges from 9-52 weeks and the amount paid out depending on your company, state laws and coverage.
6. Some employees elect to request a personal [three words to fill in the blank] for maternity reasons, but mandated [same phrase] include instances like military leave, jury duty, ADA and FMLA.
7. This Midwestern state offers mothers as well as fathers up to six weeks of unpaid leave if they: work for a company of at least 50 people, and worked for at least 1,000 hours in the year prior to taking leave.
8. As the second largest state by population size, it's disappointing that this state doesn't have any maternity leave or paternity leave laws.
9. This West Coast state offers up to six weeks of partially paid parental leave (at about 55% of your wages up to a maximum amount).
10. While small in physical size, this state is one of a handful in the U.S. that offers partially paid maternity leave, under Temporary Caregiver Insurance or Temporary Disability Insurance.
11. This East Coast state offers Family Leave Insurance that provides up to six weeks of partially paid parental leave and recently passed a law that will expand unpaid family leave to companies with at least 30 employees (rather than FMLA's requirement of 50).
12. Three different laws provide paid parental leave rights for qualifying individuals living in this state often thought of as a vacation destination by the rest of the U.S.
13. This Northeastern state offers up to 10 weeks of unpaid leave for eligible employees in any two year period for parental leave reasons.
14. This East Coast state offers eligible employees up to six weeks of unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child.
15. Until the law changes in 2021 (which allow for up to 12 weeks of paid leave), this East Coast state offers eight weeks of unpaid job-protected leave.
16. Companies with 21 or more employees must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to eligible employees (gender neutral) in this Midwestern state.
17. In this state, you may be entitled to up to 20 weeks of unpaid leave if you were employed for 180 days prior to your leave and the company you worked for had at least 25 employees within the state.
18. After 2020 when the law takes goes into effect, eligible employees will have the right to 12 paid weeks of parental leave in this Northwestern state.
19. This term refers to the male equivalent of maternity leave.
More parental resources:
Browse our maternity and paternity leave database to find what's offered by companies across the U.S. and in dozens of different industries.
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