Maternity leave is when a mother stops working because she is about to have, has had, or has adopted a baby. The most common term is maternity leave, but sometimes this leave is called family leave, family medical leave, or pregnancy leave. It has even been called parental leave or paternity leave to include adoptive mothers, fathers, or domestic partners.
If you are pregnant or thinking about adopting a child, it is important to know how much time you can take off to take care of your growing family.
How long is maternity leave?
Unfortunately, the United States does not have a standard maternity leave length. The FMLA prescribes 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents, But in reality, most people’s maternity leave ends up being shorter.
A study done by The Society for Human Resources Management found that 60% of employers give 12 weeks of maternity leave while 33% give more than 12 weeks. 58% of companies pay a salary or wage during some or all of maternity leave, but not all maternity leaves are paid.
When it comes to how long women stay off of work after pregnancy, most women stay on maternity leave for ten weeks. About half of new moms take at least five weeks off, and 25% take nine weeks or longer to spend time with their new family addition.
Whether you decide to take off ten weeks for your family or go shorter with your plans, it’s important to consider the financial requirements of this decision. If your company only offers unpaid maternity leave, then developing an emergency fund, savings cushion, and budget for unexpected expenses will be necessary to prepare for the new baby.