The Houston Employment Law Blog - Find Houston Employment Lawyers

Most Mothers Don't Take More Than 12 Weeks of Maternity Leave

Only 10 to 20 percent of new mothers who give birth remain at home with their babies until they reach the age of one year, reports In fact, most mothers will return to work at their job within just one to twelve weeks after giving birth.

Perhaps this is because the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only protects covered employees with job security for up to 12 weeks. FindLaw states that this federal law will let employees take time away from work to handle family or medical needs, but that this leave doesn’t have to necessarily be paid leave.

In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must work at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave and must work for a covered employer. A covered employer is defined as a government agency or private business that employs fifty or more employees in twenty or more weeks in the current or prior calendar year.

Even employers that are not covered by FMLA will still often allow for new mothers to take unpaid leave for a certain period of time. Some companies will even allow mothers to take more than 12 weeks of leave, so be sure to look into the family medical leave policy of your employer when planning time off for maternity leave.

We reported in an earlier blog post that the United States is one of just a few countries in the world that doesn't have any law requiring paid maternity leave at the federal level. Many parents cannot afford to take even 12 weeks of unpaid leave, so they'll go back to work shortly after the birth of a child. This can, of course, affect how a baby is raised and can even have an impact on the health of a newborn child.

Related Resources: