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How long is maternity leave in each state?

Last updated

5 October 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Shawnna Johnson

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Whether you have already welcomed multiple children or are just considering starting a family, you have likely thought about how maternity leave will impact your plans.

Maternity leave is a blanket term that can cover several different scenarios, depending on what state you live in, the size of your employer, and how long you have worked at your place of employment.

Understanding how maternity leave is handled across each state enables you to develop a better feel for how to approach your own family planning.

If you’re expecting a baby in 2023, knowing the length of maternity leave in your state will help you feel prepared and confident.

What is maternity leave?

Maternity leave is commonly defined as the period of time a mother takes off work before and after the birth of her child.

Many companies offer some variation of paid and unpaid family leave, which may allow an employee to collect a portion or all of their salary for a specific period before and/or after their baby’s birth.

While there’s no national mandate for maternity leave or paid family leave, the US does have the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The policy provides for up to 12 weeks of leave for the birth of a newborn or the adoption of a child.

However, FMLA only applies to employees who meet specific employment thresholds. Generally, it requires an employee to have been employed by their company for at least 12 months prior to the start of the requested maternity leave. They are also required to have worked for 1,250 hours.

FMLA is a classification—not a monetary benefit. This means employers are not required to pay their employees, only that the employee’s job may be held for that period.

Studies have shown that private companies offering paid family leave enjoy an increase in company morale and employee loyalty. In spite of this, very few states require companies to offer guaranteed paid family leave in addition to FMLA.

How long is maternity leave in your state?

While the US Government may require a company (that meets a certain threshold) to classify employees under unpaid FMLA, it’s up to each state to determine its own rules and regulations around paid family leave.

Additionally, some states require an employer to offer FMLA even though the company may not meet the eligibility threshold for federal FMLA.

Alabama

Alabama employers are only required to provide 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA. If private employers want to offer anything to their workers past basic FMLA, they can do so at their discretion.

Alaska

Alaska also offers the standard 12-week unpaid FMLA. FMLA covers all employees, including those who work for the government or private companies.

Arizona

Arizona employees expecting babies in 2023 can count on the standard 12-week unpaid FMLA.

Arkansas

12 weeks of unpaid FMLA is the standard option for most employees in Arkansas. Private employers may choose to offer paid maternity leave at their discretion.

California

California is one of the rare states that offers a version of paid family leave in conjunction with 12 weeks of FMLA.

While the employee pays into the program, they can receive up to eight weeks of partially paid time off at a rate of 60–70% of their wages if they are eligible.

Mothers experiencing complications prior to or after birth may qualify for additional paid time off.

Colorado

Colorado is another outlier, with eligible employees able to receive paid maternity leave benefits in conjunction with FMLA.

For those who qualify, maternity leave will be paid at a rate of 30–90% of the employee’s average weekly wage in Colorado. This plan is state-sponsored and paid into by the employee.

Connecticut

Connecticut offers eligible employees wage replacement during maternity leave.

Additionally, all pregnant employees and those who are adopting who meet eligibility criteria are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid CT Family and Medical Leave (CTFMLA) in a rolling 12-month period.

Delaware

Currently, Delaware only offers 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA. However, a new law was passed that will take effect in January 2026. This new law will mandate paid maternity leave. Under this law, eligible employees will receive up to 80% of their average weekly wages for 12 weeks.

Florida

Florida doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave. Most employers provide the standard 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA to eligible employees.

Georgia

When it comes to maternity leave, the state of Georgia keeps things simple. Maternity leave is 12 unpaid FMLA weeks for eligible employees.

Hawaii

Hawaii is a bit of an outlier in its handling of maternity leave laws. Employers must offer up to four weeks of unpaid FMLA each calendar year for the birth of a child among other reasons. However, employers who meet the FMLA threshold must still provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Idaho

As with much of the Midwestern states, Idaho doesn’t mandate employers to pay employees any sort of maternity leave. In general, pregnant workers can expect to receive 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA.

Illinois

Historically, Illinois only required employers to provide standard FMLA. However, that will be changing in the near future.

As of January 2024, Illinois workers will be eligible to collect state-mandated paid leave. There’s a catch, though. Employees will only be eligible to receive 40 hours of paid leave at their normal hourly rate within any 12-month period.

Indiana

Most Midwestern states don’t require paid family leave, and Indiana is no exception. This state only requires the basic 12-month unpaid FMLA for maternity leave.

Iowa

While Iowa doesn’t require companies to provide paid maternity leave, there is a stipulation in the state’s legislation that requires companies with four or more employees to offer up to eight weeks of unpaid leave. This applies to employees who haven’t been at the company for a full year—a marked change from standard FMLA requirements.

Kansas

FMLA is the only sort of mandated maternity leave in Kansas. Employees in this state can expect to receive 12 weeks of unpaid leave unless their company chooses to offer anything extra.

Kentucky

Kentucky generally falls in line with the rest of the country, offering 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA to eligible employees.

Louisiana

In addition to FMLA, Louisiana law holds that companies with 25 or more employees must provide six weeks of leave for pregnancy for non-FMLA-eligible employees and four weeks of leave for any employee with a pregnancy disability.

Maine

Eligible employees in Maine can take FMLA in the case of a pregnancy or adoption. There are also additional protections for pregnant workers who don’t fit the FMLA requirements. Companies with 15 or more employees must offer 10 weeks of unpaid leave in a two-year period.

Maryland

The state requires companies with 15–49 employees to offer six weeks of unpaid parental leave. Starting in 2025, pregnant employees who live in Maryland may be entitled to paid maternity leave for up to 12 weeks at up to 80% of their income.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has its own version of parental leave, which requires employers to provide eight weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. This law extends to employers with six or more employees.

Michigan

Michigan employers are only required to offer 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA to eligible employees.

Minnesota

Even though Minnesota doesn’t require companies to give paid leave, the state does have some additional stipulations to protect pregnant workers.

Under Minnesota law, companies with 21 or more employees must provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave within 12 months of a birth or adoption.

Mississippi

Mississippi, along with most other Southern states, only requires employers to provide basic FMLA to employees. Companies can opt to provide more.

Missouri

Other than FMLA, Missouri doesn’t mandate any form of paid family leave unless instituted by a private employer.

Montana

Montana doesn’t require any mandated paid leave. However, the state does allow employees of public employers to take a “reasonable leave of absence for pregnancy” for up to six weeks.

Nebraska

Nebraska doesn’t require mandated paid family leave. Most employees in the state will only be able to receive the standard FMLA for up to 12 weeks.

Nevada

Nevada does not require employers to pay family leave. Eligible employees can receive 12 weeks of unpaid family leave, provided they have been with their company for the 12 months preceding their request to take leave.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire requires FMLA and offers several interesting protections for pregnant employees.

One of these is a rule that states if an employer allows paid leave for other illnesses, it must allow the same for pregnancy. This is designed to ensure fairness across the board, whether an employee is expecting a baby or dealing with a chronic illness.

New Jersey

New Jersey requires employers to offer paid maternity leave, including up to two-thirds of an employee’s regular wages, for 12 weeks during and after pregnancy for complications and recovery. They also need to offer an additional 12 weeks of parental leave for parent–baby bonding.

New Mexico

New Mexico doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Employers are only required to provide basic FMLA.

New York

New York is one of the few states to mandate paid leave for pregnant employees. The state requires all private-sector employers to offer 10 weeks of unpaid leave. Many employers opt to pay for 12 weeks of leave.

Federal employees can also take paid maternity leave in New York.

North Carolina

North Carolina only requires basic FMLA—12 weeks of unpaid leave for eligible employees.

North Dakota

State employees can make use of North Dakota’s State Family Leave Law (SEFLL), which entitles them to unpaid leave. However, FMLA is the more generous option available.

The state’s House of Representatives rejected a bill that would have created a paid family leave program early in 2023.

Ohio

There’s no paid maternity leave mandated in Ohio unless provided by a private employer. The state mandates 12 weeks of FMLA for eligible employees.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma is one of the many states to mandate basic FMLA. However, many private employers opt to provide paid leave.

Oregon

Oregon mandates that companies with 25 or more employees must offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any one-year period for both pregnancy and pregnancy disability.

Pennsylvania

The standard length of maternity leave in Pennsylvania is the 12 weeks mandated by FMLA.

Certain private employers might offer more generous options to their employees. Many companies opt to offer paid leave, especially to employees who have been with the company for a certain amount of time.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island requires employers to offer paid family leave in certain situations. Employees on maternity leave can receive up to 60% of their wages for up to four weeks.

Additionally, companies with 50 or more employees must offer 13 weeks of unpaid leave in any two calendar years to eligible employees.

South Carolina

South Carolina doesn’t require mandated paid leave other than the basic FMLA of 12 weeks for eligible employees.

South Dakota

FMLA applies to employees in South Dakota. This includes 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for eligible employees.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, offering paid leave is up to the employer. However, companies in this state must provide up to four months of unpaid leave to care for and bond with a new child.

Texas

Texas might be the largest state, but it doesn’t loom large when it comes to maternity leave benefits. Texas requires no additional mandated maternity leave beyond the standard 12 weeks of FMLA.

Utah

Utah doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave. Rather, the state requires a minimum of 12 unpaid weeks for eligible workers under FMLA.

Vermont

Vermont provides the standard 12-week FMLA for eligible employees. Additionally, the state mandates that companies with 10 or more employees must offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period.

Virginia

Virginia doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Employees in this state can count on 12 weeks of FMLA provided they have been with their employer for at least 12 months and worked for at least 1,250 hours.

Washington

Washington mandates paid family leave for eligible employees. Additionally, the state requires that employees on maternity leave receive up to 90% of their wages (up to $1,000 per week) for the 12-week period.

West Virginia

Although West Virginia doesn’t require paid family leave, the state expects companies with 12 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation, including time off, for pregnant employees who need it. Employees need to have worked for the company for at least 12 weeks before their leave.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin mandates 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA for eligible employees.

Wyoming

Wyoming mandates 12 weeks of FMLA for eligible employees. Additional time or paid leave is up to the employer’s discretion.

FAQs

Does maternity leave have to start on the day the baby is born?

Maternity leave traditionally starts when the pregnant mother decides to step away from work. This could be when the baby is born or a few days to several weeks before the birth.

What if my baby comes before my maternity leave begins?

If your baby is born before your scheduled maternity leave starts, you will need to alert your employer as soon as possible. Your company’s HR department can likely make arrangements to adjust the dates of your maternity leave so it aligns with your baby’s birth.

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