Third Trimester

Q&A: How Much Maternity Leave?

How can I figure out how much maternity leave I’m entitled to?

First, find out what your employer offers. Review your employee handbook and any medical or maternity leave policies posted on your corporate intranet, or check with a rep from HR. You may be eligible for short-term disability coverage and/or paid or unpaid leave as a benefit.

If you work for a company that has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius and you’ve been there at least a year,you are eligible for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It allows you 12 weeks off in a 12-month period. (It might have to be taken concurrent with any leave your company grants.) You can take it all at once or in shorter increments. For example, you could take 8 weeks off right after your baby is born, and then take one day a week off for the next 20 weeks. Your employer must continue to provide health coverage and must allow you to return to your same job or one equivalent. Check the National Conference of State Legislatures to see if your state has its own (potentially more generous) regulations on leave.

By Paula Kashtan