How long is maternity leave in the US?

  1. I am a nursing student in Canada and my class was discussing the recent extended maternity leave from six months to one year. We are now paid for a full year of leave. We are interested in comparing maternity leave benefits from other countries. How long is the maternity leave in the US?
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   grianstad
    In New Jersey, you're entitled to 6 weeks worth of paid maternity leave (but it's under state disability insurance which only gives you about 60% of your pay). If you have vacation or sick time saved up. then you can get paid from your employer. Federal law mandates that employers that have more than 50 employees allow up to 12 weeks of leave, but it's not paid leave. It just guarantees that you can have your old job back or one of equal status. It's pathetic, especially when compared to other countries; but it's Big Business that really runs this country and unfortunately, the almighty dollar is the bottom line!
  4. by   JennieBSN
    Aaah! I am so jealous of Canadian nurses!! My canadian friend told me about your awesome maternity leave...you have it GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. We get 6 weeks paid, and anything over and above that either has to come out of your personal vacation time, short term disability benefits, or you just have to take it UNPAID.
  5. by   sunnybrook83
    Having taken maternity leave numerous times,I can tell you:
    a. if over 50 employees in co., can take 12 wks per year, no pay guarantee, you will still have a job, but not necessarily the one you left, and you may have to pay your insurance coverages while you are off.
    b. You may have to use all of your accrued paid time off to receive a check while you're off (short term disability will help stretch your PTO out).
    Once again there are pros and cons to socialized medicine!
    (Wait till they here about the stipends some countries give to their breastfeeding mothers!)
  6. by   Q.
    Man, a full year of maternity leave?? Wow!

    At my job you get 6 weeks paid if you are part-time, and 12 weeks paid if you are full time. Those weeks are also included if you need to be off work for say, pre term labor, etc.

    A co-worker of mine had PTL and had to be off work for about 9 weeks, subsequently after having her baby only had 3 weeks of real maternity leave. The rest had to come from vacation time.

    Kinda sucked.
  7. by   LandDRN
    I just had my second child in September here in Florida. We get 12weeks nonpaid maternity leave provided we are full time, company has more than 50 employees and have been employed more than a year as manadated by the Family Medical Leave Act. I purchased short term disability which gave me 60% of my income for only 6weeks ( vag delivery) and the rest we had to cut back on any unneccessary spending and didn't take vacation for a yr to save up paid time off. I still came up 2 weeks short but it was the best 12 cash strapped weeks I've ever spent. Evidently parenthood isn't as much of a priority legally here in the states and we haven't figured out why our kids aren't turning out so well and getting worse each yr( in a general sense of course. there are lots of good kids out there.)
  8. by   LandDRN
    A co-worker of mine had PTL and had to be off work for about 9 weeks, subsequently after having her baby only had 3 weeks of real maternity leave. The rest had to come from vacation time.

    Kinda sucked.[/quote]

    One of our NICU nurses was hospitalized with PIH and PTL and she was told if she wasn't back to work by the 12 weeks her job would be posted. She had the baby at 33 weeks and he is doing well but what an added stress to worry over!!
  9. by   RedSox33RN
    Three of my 4 kids were born when I worked (all the time for the same company). Since we had just under 50 employees, I got NO paid time for maternity leave. Zilch. I used up the rest of my vacation time, did as much work as I could do at home so I could get SOME sort of pay, and was only out for 6 weeks for each.

    By the time my 3rd was born, I could afford to be out longer, though still did work at home. I did go back part-time for a couple of months, then back to full-time.
  10. by   flasandy42
    <<<Man, a full year of maternity leave?? Wow!>>>


    It's the same in Sweden and either the mother or father can take it....or 6 months for one and six months for the other. :spin:
  11. by   tlcprn2u
    Quote from flasandy42
    <<<Man, a full year of maternity leave?? Wow!>>>


    It's the same in Sweden and either the mother or father can take it....or 6 months for one and six months for the other. :spin:
    In Argentina(one of the so-called developing countries), over 20 years ago when I left, we had 3 months fully paid maternity leave!!(not out of PTO).
    Sad to see that in the country that leads the industrialized world(USA) we had to settle for 3 months of UNPAID time and only after some very assertive lobbying from union members throughout the country, led by the largest union in healthcare: SEIU. If it had not been for them, we would have had nada, zip, zero!!
  12. by   mandana
    Here are my thoughts on maternity leave in the US




    I worked for a small company when I had my children - by combining vacation time, PTO, sick days and comp time I was able to take 8 weeks off with each child - but only 2 weeks of that was paid.

    Amanda
  13. by   SuperFlyRN
    My husband's secretary just came back off maternity leave. His company allows them 12 weeks total. She was on strict bedrest since 24 weeks and delivered at 36 weeks-consequently she returned to work leaving her 2 week old infant at home. She *had* to come back-b/c her last two weeks were unpaid-he says she is just a mess at work but financially she cannot stay home. Luckily my husband is very sensitive and understanding considering he had previous experience with his basketcase of a wife! She pumps at every opportunity, leaves early prn etc. But he said, we are sooo very lucky here.
  14. by   PeachPie
    It must be great to have all that maternity/paternity time off in Europe, but what are the taxes like?

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