Maternity leave used to be something that was either frowned upon by the male sexes or it was just something you never heard of anyone doing,  its a shame that the younger generation didn’t get enough Mom time, but nowadays things have changed and for the better for once.  Maternity leave or family leave as it’s more commonly called these days (since it’s for moms and dads) is when a mother or father takes off from work for a certain period of time.  This can be time off for a biological child, foster child, adopted child, etc.

Most of the companies in the USA don’t offer paid maternity leave unless you work at a really fantastic company and they are willing to pay for your time off.  Instead, if you get a maternity leave you are probably going to use a variety of options including STD which is short term disability leave, sick leave, vacation days and even personal days in order to leave work to be with your family for an extended amount of time.

In 1993, the legal system created an act called the FMLA, more information about the FMLA can be found here:;c=ecfr;cc=ecfr;rgn=div5;idno=29;q1=825.308;sid=c912eed1ac18853d4e3ee6a366484bd9;view=text;node=29%3A3.

As Wikipedia puts it “The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a United States federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Qualified medical and family reasons include: personal or family illness, family military leave, pregnancy, adoption, or the foster care placement of a child. The FMLA is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.”

This is a huge implement to both moms and dads alike because it’s essentially a job protected medical leave that allows you to leave your job for up to 6-12 weeks at a time or staggered, and made to feel protected and stable while doing so – you will not get fired for this type of leave and if something does happen where you are wrongly fired, let go or harassed in this situation, it might be time to talk to an Employment lawyer in New Jersey.  The FMLA is an important benefit that is available to most employees in theUS and if you feel that your employer is not willing to give you this benefit or you were fired after taking advantage of the FMLA you should consult with an employment attorney.

Each state in the US has its own benefits. California has one of the better plans, but Washington, and New Jersey also followed California and decided to offer this type of a plan as well.  Make sure that is as soon as you know you are pregnant and you will be leaving that you start looking into your states law, regulations, rules and exceptions for this.

In order to find out if you are eligible for paid leave, you would need to contact your companies HR.  Under the law of FMLA many of the employers out there these days are required to allow you to have at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave – for both men and women.  And at the end of this type of unpaid leave, you would then have a job to come back to.  Not only that but your benefits, salary, title, working conditions and even your seniority would all be the same as well, if not better.  A lot of people can really appreciate this because they automatically assume if they leave their job, that the boss will find someone else or worse – they will get punished for leaving from an unsympathetic boss and will get demoted, paid less, not have the same projects, hours or clients, etc.  In the case of FMLA this will never happen, it doesn’t matter if it’s paid or unpaid.

For more information on the FMLA and family leave policies, contact:

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
200 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20210

Phone: (866) 487-9243


National Partnership for Women & Families
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 650
Washington, D.C. 20009

Phone: (202) 986-2600
Fax: (202) 986-2539


Families and Work Institute
267 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016

Telephone: (212) 465-2044
Fax: (212) 465-8637