Maternity Leave

When you found out you were pregnant, you likely thought about a lot of things:

  • Is it a boy or a girl?
  • Will my baby be healthy?
  • How much time can I get off when my baby is born?

It's against the law for employers to fire or demote you because you decide to become a mother.

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) says companies with 50 or more workers must give you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of your new baby.
  • It also says that your job or an equal position will be waiting for you when you return.
  • The U.S. is behind other countries like Sweden, which gives more than a year of paid leave to new parents, both mothers and fathers!

Check maternity leave rules

  • About four out of 10 working women are covered by corporate disability programs.
  • These pay all or part of your pay after childbirth
  • If your company offers disability payments to workers who are absent because they are ill or hurt, it must offer the same payments to women who give birth.
  • You may have to work until at least four weeks before the birth to be able to take leave.

Not personal leave

  • Make sure you're not forced to take personal leave.
  • Taking personal leave could mean you lose days that could count toward long-term retirement or other benefits.

Tell your boss

You may not want to tell your boss you're pregnant before you tell others. But it's a good idea to tell your work at the end of the first three months. By doing this early, you might gain more choices when you work out a plan for being gone.

Stay in touch

  • Many mothers worry that changes at work will keep them from getting their same job back.
  • Keep in touch with your managers and co-workers so you don't feel out of the loop.

Check your paperwork

  • When you do go back to work, make sure your time off isn't counted against you.
  • Your company must pay for health insurance and coverage during your maternity leave.
  • But they may not have to pay for other benefits, like life insurance, while you're on leave.

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

Have Questions


Program support available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. CT