How Much Maternity Leave Should You Take?

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As you approach your due date, you may be thinking about how much time you will take off from work when your baby is born; it’s not an easy decision. Here are 5 things you should consider:

Family and Medical Leave Act

Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is the U.S maternity and parental leave policy. It requires companies with 50 employees or more to allow for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. However, this only applies to employees who have been there for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours. 

Company Maternity Leave Policy

Check with your company's human resources representatives to find out what the maternity leave policy is. Ask if your company is covered under FMLA, whether or not leave is paid or unpaid, and if you must or can use your sick time, vacation, and paid time off.

Short Term Disability

Some companies and states offer short term disability benefits. This allows you to receive up to ⅔ of your pay while on leave. You will need to ask you human resources department if they offer this as well, although you can get this type of disability insurance from some private insurance providers.

Vacation, Sick Time, and Paid Time Off

Some companies require you to use these hours during your maternity leave. Others do not require you to, but will allow it if it’s what you want. Make sure you know beforehand. If it is optional, take into consideration that you may need these hours when your baby inevitably gets sick or has a doctor's appointment.


Unfortunately, your maternity leave will most likely be unpaid. Consult your budget to figure out how long you can reasonably take off. Don’t forget to factor in new expenses like formula, diapers, etc. 

If you plan your maternity leave in advance and start saving as soon as possible, you can make the most of it. You shouldn’t have to worry too much about money when you’re bonding with your baby.


By: Alecia Stanton

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