Unfortunately, Texas is one of many states lacking state level maternity leave laws or policies. At best, you may be covered by federal laws (that guarantee unpaid leave to eligible employees), at worst, you may not have any leave if your employer doesn't offer a plan and doesn't meet the requirements issued by the government for FMLA.
Find out more about the specifics below.
Please note: we are not attorneys and the below summary of frequently asked questions and answers are meant to be a helpful summary, but is not a substitute for consulting a lawyer if you believe you need to.
Does Texas have maternity leave?
No. The state itself does not have any maternity, parental or paternity leave rights.
What about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
Under the federal government's FMLA, new parents are allowed 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in the year following the birth or adoption of a new child.
To qualify for FMLA:
- You must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the prior year.
- Your employer must employ at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your work-site.
Do I receive pay during maternity leave?
Your employer may voluntarily provide paid leave benefits and wage coverage, but they're not obligated to do so by any law.
If you're not pregnant but anticipate becoming pregnant in the future, an option is to take out a personal short-term disability insurance policy that covers any lost wages during the time you are unable to work. You'll want to check the fine print to ensure that the policy covers pregnancy and post-partum recovery.
Read more about ways to prepare for unpaid maternity leave.
What about Texas state employees?
State employees are eligible for the Texas Income Protection Plan (TIPP). If you're an eligible employee, you have to pay into the insurance plan to receive the benefits. Provided your pregnancy starts after you're enrolled, you're eligible for short-term disability which provides 66% of your insured monthly salary up to $10,000. The maximum payment is $6,600 per month. You can receive payments for up to a maximum of five months.
What about temporary disability leave (TDL)?
This unpaid leave benefit is for full-time educators employed by a school district, according to the Texas Education Code. Pregnancy is covered by this leave. While the maximum length of TDL is 180 calendar days, the amount of time granted is determined by medical need documented through medical certification. According to the Texas Association of School Boards, "most districts require TDL to run concurrent with other district paid leave and Family Medical Leave (FML)."
What if I believe my rights have been violated?
The State of Texas doesn't provide resources for claims; you would have to contact the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor to file an FMLA claim. You can file a claim at a local WHD office. The steps are outlined on the DOL's website's "how to file a claim" page.