Maternity leave in the United States


Learn about the laws regarding Maternity Leave in the United States as well as Parental Leave. How much time do you have paid?

American English Podcast

American English Podcast

By Shana Thompson

To ONLY learn about Maternity Leave and Parental Leave in the United States, start listening at 12:20.

In the United States, as a nation, there is no such thing as (universal) paid parental leave. In fact, it’s one of only eight nations without paid parental leave in the world and the only industrialized nation without it.

Parental leave or family leave is the period of time parents take away from work shortly before and after the birth of a child. In some places you can also get parental leave after adopting a child or beginning foster care.

In English, an expecting mother may say, I’m going on maternity leave. If you’re the father, you might say I’m going on paternity leave.

Usually while on maternity leave or on paternity leave, an individual has job security. They can rest assured that they’ll be able to return to the workplace after their leave is over, in other words, when the designated time period they’re allotted is up.

The time period, of course, for temporary leave of absence, varies drastically from country to country.

The WHO, the World Health Organization, recommends that countries offer at least 16 weeks. Bulgaria, for example, has 58.6 weeks of maternity leave. 49.5 of those are with full pay. The US’s northern neighbor, Canada, gives new mothers 17 weeks off at 48.4 percent of their pay.

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