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Paid Maternity Leave by State 2023

Paid Maternity Leave by State 2023

The United States has a rough track record when it comes to how it treats new parents, ranking last of the 36 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Maternity leave in the United States is regulated by labor law but only requires twelve weeks of unpaid leave for mothers of newborn or newly adopted children, and only if they work for a company with fifty or more employees. For US workers at companies with fewer than 50 employees, there is no legal right to maternity leave - whether paid or unpaid. This idea results in only 12 percent of Americans receiving paid parental leave, with this number being even worse among low-income families and families of color, where the amount can be as low as 5 percent.

States With Paid Maternity Leave

Even though there is overwhelming evidence that paid maternity leave is beneficial for all involved, states stances vary greatly. Many states have no protections past The Family and Madical Leave Act (FLMA) which only offers protections and benefits to federal employees, state employees, and employees of private companies with 50 or more people in their employ that have 1,250 hours in the previous year.

Only eight states have publicly funded paid maternity leave: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Oregon.

Many other states have some kind of job protection past FLMA. You can find details of each states interpretation of leave below.


California’s new law for paid parental leave, the New Parent Leave Act, took effect in 2019. This rule allows for new parents who work for a company with at least 20 employees to take leave for up to 12 weeks. They do not provide job protection, but but it will cover any employee, either part or full time.


Employees in Connecticut will be able to request and take paid family leave through the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA). Through this legislature all pregnant and adoptive employees entitled to 12 weeks of paid leave within a calendar year, as well as an additional 2 weeks for health conditions that create an incapacitation during pregnancy. This Act took affect beginning in 2022.

Employees must have been employed for at least 12-months and worked a minimum of 1000 hours. The support will last for 12 weeks.


Massachusetts also granted paid family leave in 2019 with the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (MA PFML). Like in California, the MAPMFL provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees who work at companies where the employer pays into the unemployment insurance fund. This means that if you work in another state but commute to Massachusetts, you will be able to receive this paid family leave.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, new parents can take up to 12 weeks of partially paid parental leave, thanks to the New Jersey Family Leave Act. There is a total of 24 weeks of job protection available.


The most recent state to require paid maternity leave is Oregon. The bill was signed into law in August 2019 and is the first of its kind. Unlike other states, Oregon will provide 100 percent wage replacement for all employees (even those who may be in the country illegally) as long they earn at least $1000 in a calendar year.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Parental and Family Medical Leave Act guarantees employees up to 13 weeks of leave for a serious health condition, including pregnancy, in two calendar years.

New York

Paid family leave became mandatory in New York on January 1, 2018. This leave is being introduced on a phased approach - employees are now guaranteed up to 8 weeks of paid family leave, and this number will go up to 12 weeks by 2021.


Beginning in January 2020, employees in Washington start being able to apply for paid family and medical leave benefits. These benefits will allow for up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year.

States With Unpaid Maternity Leave

While some states have nothing in place for employees who are pregnant, other states offer, at the very least, job protection.


In Iowa, unpaid leave is a requirement for companies with 4 or more employees.


In Kentucky, 6 weeks of unpaid leave is provided to employees who give birth to or adopt a child.


Louisiana has protections in place so that 6 weeks of unpaid leave is available for employees of companies with 25+ employees, as well as 4+ months for disabilities related to pregnancy.


Maine requires companies with 15 or more employees to offer 10 weeks of unpaid leave within a period of 2 years.


In Maryland, companies with anywhere from 15-49 employees are required to offer 10 weeks of unpaid parental leave.


For residents on Minnesota, companies with at least 21 employees must provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave within 12 months of a birth or adoption. Eligible employees must have been working at least part-time with the company for a minimum of one year before the leave request.


Montana’s female employees of public employers have “reasonable leave of absence for pregnancy” or 6 weeks. Paternal and adoptive leave is also available for up to 15 days.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, companies who have 6 or more employees are required to provide unpaid leave and there is no time limit for said leave. Legislature also mentions that if a company provides leave for other illnesses, it has to do the same for pregnancy.

North Dakota

The only people who are eligible for North Dakota’s leave protections are employees of the state. They can have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period. South Dakota has the same policy in place that applies to state employees only.


Residents of Tennessee must be offered 4 months of unpaid leave for employees. Offering paid leave is up to the company’s discretion.


In Vermont, 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period is offered to employees of companies with 10 or more employees.

West Virginia

West Virginia companies with 12 or more employees must provide time off (among other benefits) to pregnant employees who have been with the company for over 12 weeks.


Six weeks for a birth or adoption must be provided by companies with 50+ employees. Two weeks may be added for caring for a family member.


Unpaid or paid leave is up to the employers discretion in the state of Wyoming.

District of Columbia

Up to eight weeks of unpaid leave is available for those give birth or adopt.

Puerto Rico

Employees of private companies can qualify for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave when medically necessary. Generally, maternity leave lasts 8 weeks, 4 weeks pre-birth and 4 weeks afterwards.

Paid Maternity Leave by State 2023

Paid Maternity Leave by State 2023