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How many days of maternity leave do workers get in the US?

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  • Many workers in the US get maternity leave.
  • Not all people are eligible so find out the requirements! 
  • 12 weeks of maternity leave is customary but this can vary.

Do you know how many days of maternity leave you are entitled to? In the United States, laws protect workers in the event of pregnancy or adoption so that they have the necessary time to recover and adapt to the arrival of a new child.

Maternity leave in the United States is regulated by labor laws and, although it was initially intended for pregnant women, today it can also apply to adoptive parents and caregivers of relatives who require special attention. Find out about maternity and family medical leave in the US.

What is maternity leave in the US?

Woman with baby as motherhood concept

Maternity leave, or the family and medical leave law, was first enacted in the United States in 1993. It mandates at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the event of pregnancy or the adoption of a child.

Due to the fact that maternity leave has an economic impact, most parents take only ten working days off. However, the World Health Organization recommends at least 16 weeks of maternity and paternity leave, although this is not popular among US employers.

How many days of maternity leave do workers get in the US?


By law, workers in companies with at least 50 employees may enjoy twelve-weeks of maternity leave, as long as they are eligible. With this law, workers will have the certainty that their position will be secure, although the employer is not required to pay them during this absence.

With maternity leave, pregnant women, as well as those who are in the process of adopting a child, are able to take 12 weeks off to recover from childbirth or take time to adjust to the transition of adopting a child, although they may not be paid during this time.

What are the benefits?

Pregnant woman in consultation as an idea of ​​motherhood

The Family and Medical Leave Act, adopted in 1993, does not require companies to maintain all benefits during the 12 weeks a worker will be absent, but it is required by law to maintain medical benefits.

The law stipulates that everyone who requests maternity leave must remain on the company’s health insurance plan and for this there are two alternatives: One of them is that the worker continues to make monetary contributions or, alternatively, that the company covers the payments to maintain health insurance.



One aspect that has generated criticism among US workers is the list of requirements to be eligible for maternity leave. The first of these is that you work for a company that offers benefits and you must have accumulated at least 1,250 hours of work in the year prior to requesting the leave.

Additionally, the law requires you to work in a company where at least 50 employees work within a 75-mile radius. In general, maternity leave is granted to workers who have worked for a minimum of one year for the same company. It is important to request information from the state Department of Labor as well as at the company where the maternity leave days will be requested, since the guidelines may vary in terms of benefits, conditions, and requirements.

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