Federal and State Maternity Benefits
While there are no federal laws that outline a specified maternity leave for expectant mothers in the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act applies to all 50 states.
Many U.S. companies are working towards having more family-friendly policies.
There are also 21 individual states that have laws that offer some form of maternity leave exception. The United States is one of only five countries that does not provide a federally mandated maternity leave or require employers to provide some sort of maternity leave provision.
Since its inception in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has allowed more than 40 million workers to experience the many benefits it offers. However, current legislators want to reformat the FMLA guidelines to include more workers, more types of businesses, and to make maternity leave more affordable for everyone.
Under FMLA, a covered employer must allow an eligible employee a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period of time. FMLA eligibility would apply in the following situations:
- Birth and care of a newborn child of the employee
- In cases of a foster child or an adoption by the employee
- To take care of an ill member of the immediate family (spouse, child, or parent)
- Personal medical leave if an employee is disabled and cannot work