Maternity and Paternity Leave, By State
Depending on where you work, your maternity leave and pregnancy rights can vary. Some states offer more protections than federal law (FMLA) while others provide no paid leave nor even unpaid leave rights.
In an attempt to summarize this patchwork of state laws and compare them to each other, the National Partnership for Women and Families' provides a visual report card of different states' laws in terms of how favorable they are for new and expecting parents.
The states in dark red offer the most generous parental leave and pregnancy protections. A state colored in black provides no additional protections beyond those under federal laws: FMLA, the Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA) and the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)'s protections for breastfeeding mothers at work.
Most states do not offer any form of paid parental leave, but there are three states that do have policies covering maternity leave.
- California: We've summarized your rights as a pregnant employee looking for information on maternity leave in California. As the first state to implement paid family leave, they are a logical case study for the impact on businesses. One 2011 study conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research concluded that 89% of employers either saw a "positive" or "no noticeable effect" on productivity, 91% saw the same for profitability/performance and 99% saw these results in employee morale.
- New Jersey: Spare on design, the official state site does lay out the official law and process for applying for short-term disability benefits that cover maternity leave. We also tried our hand at summarizing what you need to know if you're a pregnant New Jersey employee.
- Rhode Island: The most recent state to join California and New Jersey on paid family leave, you can visit their official site for more info, or read our summary of the highlights here.
- New York: As of 2018, New York will become the fourth state to offer a paid familiy leave insurance scheme. New York parents will receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave off after the birth of a child. More information about New York's pending parental leave law and implementation plan can be found here.
Read more about federal laws pertaining to maternity and family leave and read our guides summarizing answers to frequently answered questions about maternity, paternity and pregnancy rights in the following states that offer greater than FMLA protections:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Legal Momentum is another nonprofit that put together an interactive map that summarize the laws that protect women against pregnancy discrimination, and their rights to breastfeeding accommodations and maternity/parental leave.
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