The United States lags behind European countries when it comes to maternity leave. Federal law only requires 12 weeks of unpaid leave if the mother qualifies. To qualify under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you must:
- Work for a company that has 50 or more employees in a 75 miles radius
- Have worked for a minimum of 1250 hours in the past 12 months
- Worked for at least 12 months for this company (although consecutive work isn’t required)
If you meet all these criteria, then you qualify. But, the company isn’t required to pay you for any of that time off, and neither does the government–but in 2004 California changed that and they looked at the impact of the payment.
California followed 153,000 women who gave birth right before and right after they implemented the paid maternity leave. Women who got paid leave earned an average of $24,000 less over ten years than the women who had unpaid leave.
To keep reading, click here: Study: Women Who Took Paid Maternity Leave Earn Less