Maternity Leave in the United States: What to Expect | Blog | Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Maternity Leave in the United States: What to Expect

Becoming a mother is an exciting time. However, you also need some time to learn to adjust to it all, plus your body needs time to heal. These first few weeks are really important for new mothers and their babies. Because of this, you may be looking into maternity leave so you can take this time away from work, without worrying about your job. 

Here is what you should expect with your maternity leave. 

  • If you work for a company of more than fifty employees, you are required to have twelve years of unpaid leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993makes sure that all mothers are allowed to take twelve weeks of unpaid leave. 
  • If you work for a company that has less than fifty employees, there aren’t any laws when it comes to maternity leave. Every company has to decide what their policy will be for maternity leave. They are not required to have paid or unpaid maternity leave for their employees. 
  • Maternity leave can start before the baby comes if there are complications. Some mothers have complications that require hospitalization and even bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. If this happens, your maternity leave can start immediately. 
  • Employers can choose to have paid time off for maternity leave. Many companies are proud to offer paid maternity leave for their employees, even though they don’t have to do so. 
  • If they don’t offer paid maternity leave, new moms are allowed to use their vacation and sick time so that their maternity leave is paid. Some women do what they can to make sure that they continue to have an income when they are out. They try to save all of their vacation and sick time to use when they are off. Employers need to allow them to do this. 
  • Some employers allow their employees to use short-term disability to ensure that they get paid during their time off. You can file for short-term disability if you need the extra funds to cover your leave. 
  • During your maternity leave, your employer is required to keep your health insurance and other benefits going. You will still be required to pay your part, but you don’t have to worry about losing your insurance during your time off of work. 
  • When your maternity leave is over, your employer has to keep your job open for you. When it is time to return to work, you should be able to pick up right where you left off. Your employer is required to keep your job for you. They may hire someone temporarily to do your job but it will be yours again when you are ready. 
  • You can use your maternity leave part-time in order to ease back into work. For those who want to ease back into the workforce, they can come back part-time for the last few weeks and stretch out their maternity leave. 

Though many mothers take maternity leave for granted, employers aren’t required to pay you during this time. However, if you work with a company that has fifty or more employees, you have the right to twelve weeks of maternity leave. You can save up all of your vacation and sick time to help cover your expenses during this time. You may even want to look into short-term disability. 

Your employer has to continue with your health insurance and other benefits during this time. You are going to have to continue to pay for these benefits but you don’t have to worry about losing your coverage while you are off. When it is time to return, you can go right back to your old job. Your employer is required to keep it open for you.

If you feel like you aren’t getting the rights that you deserve, you need to contact us today. We will be glad to talk to you to ensure that you are being taken care of. If not, we will fight for you!