Found out that there's a bun in the oven? Congratulations! We know this is a very exciting time. We also know that there is a lot of information to digest and even more things to consider now that there will be a new member of the family. So once all of the celebratory events are planned and the names are picked out, it's time to get real. Now, depending on where home base is, pregnant women may encounter a few different scenarios concerning health care, maternity leave, and workers rights.
To stay on top of it all, we have created a list of state to state differences and 20 things for pregnant women to know about how their 9 months and beyond will be greeted in the face of doctors, hospitals, employers and pretty much everything else one should consider when planning for a baby. Excited to find out more? Nervous about the new arrival? Considering a move? This guide can help. Having a baby is kind of a big deal, and let's be honest, most of us need all the help we can get–especially when it comes to knowing what resources are available and which rights we have. Look no further than this quick 20 list guide for a state to state summary.
The Family Medical Leave Act is a law that's enforced all around the United States that guaranteed "certain" employees medical leave for 12 weeks out of the year, with no risk of losing their jobs. For more about what qualifies "certain" employees to benefit from this law, keep reading.
Generally speaking, an employee must be employed for 12 months, they also must have worked for at least 1,250 hours prior to taking their leave, and the company where the employee is employed must have at least 50 other employees, according to the Department of Labor, in order to receive these benefits, however, some states have even more benefits than these.
As we mentioned, under FMLA, an employee employed at a company with over 50 employees who have worked there for 12 months and who has logged at least 1,250 hours can take off for family medical leave for a period of 12 weeks. But, that leave is unpaid. As of January 2019, only 5 states offer paid family medical leave in the United States. Those states are New York, New Jersey, California, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire. So if you are a lucky momma to be living in one of these states who qualifies, look forward to your 12 weeks of paid time off, you deserve it.
All around the United States women have the right to sue for pregnancy-related discrimination in the workplace. The only thing is, that discrimination is hard to prove and many women are unaware that they even have this right. Let's break it down for you state to state.
If your employer has more than 15 employees they have to abide by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, this law basically says that it's illegal to discriminate against pregnant women and treat them differently from any other employee on the basis of their ability to work. And if an employer does something unlawful, momma to be has the right to take their employer to court for some funds in baby's college education account.
Ok so let's consider what happens after you give birth, a few years down the line you are back to work and your little one is in school, if you live in a state like California, you will get a lot more time to spend with your little one and be able to keep your job. California offers more hours than any other state, coming in at a whopping 40 hours annually, for parents to take off work for their children's school-related events and activities. If you budget your hours wisely you won't be scratching your head trying to figure out how to make dance practice and the spelling bee, you can just do it.
Employees who have worked for only 6 months in Hawaii are eligible for paid maternity leave, as opposed to much longer logged hours for other states that require 12 months, *cough cough* New Jersey, so if you are thinking about having a baby but haven't been employed that long, Hawaii may be a bit appealing.
After only 6 months you can enjoy the benefits of motherhood without the stress of unpaid maternity leave. Which studies show, is actually a major stressor for a lot of new moms, regardless of their income, living situation, or marital status. Claps for that. Thanks, Hawaii.
Women who undergo what is classified as a complicated pregnancy are able to claim disability from their employers. While none of us wish for a complicated pregnancy, if for example you are carrying multiples and have mandatory bed rest and have already surpassed the typical 12 weeks you are allotted for maternity leave, don't fret, the Americans with Disabilities Act has got your back, if your doctor can make a case for you, you will get to have extra time to heal and recuperate not to mention give extra weeks of snuggles and bonding time with your new little one.
So far we've discussed companies with 15 employees, 50 employees, and the number of weeks or hours one must log to take off for maternity leave. But in Tennessee, one of the more appealing states on this list, if a company has only 8 employees women must be allowed 16 weeks maternity leave. Yes, you read that right – 16 weeks! That means more time to heal, more time to bond, more time to look for a proper care facility for your little one and more time to just, learn how to be a mom. Because, let's face it, being a mom is hard work, and there is absolutely a learning curve, even for the best of us.
In Washington State, as long as you've worked 680 hours prior to requesting maternity leave, no matter if you work in a public or private sector, no matter the number of employees at your firm, employees are guaranteed to be granted maternity leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislature. Talk about a pretty sweet deal.
So if you and your family are hoping to call the North Western United States home, you may wish to consider Washington State for its family leave plan, it will provide a great, slightly less stressful start to the beginning of your motherhood journey.
Less than half of all of the United States have made statewide amendments to the FMLA laws that are regulated countrywide. Which may leave you questioning, what's up with that? Many states have made adjustments to the FMLA laws that often benefit families even more than the standard laws.
Benefits include longer maternity leave policies, shorter time spent at a company before being offered maternity leave, paid compensation during maternity leave and fewer hours logged prior to requesting leave. So far, 24 states have made adjustments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These are mostly coastal United States, states.
Rhode Island, the state known as the ocean state extends its policies to adoption, illness, parent or spousal illness and also tacks on an extra week form the federal law. Under Rhode Islands state legislation: public employers of 30 or more employees and private employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer 13 weeks of state maternity leave in any two calendar years for the birth or adoption of a child or the serious illness of a child, spouse or parent. Not bad as far as time off goes. So if you want a little ocean on your side consider looking to Rhode Island for a nice family start.
Several states offer paid and unpaid maternity leave policies. States like California and New Jersey offer policies that depending on where you work you can either take a leave of absence that will keep your pockets full, or a leave of absence that will just make you and your wallet happy you could return to work.
For New Jersey, getting paid leave means that as an employee you would have had to have made at least 1000 times the minimum wage for 52 weeks before requesting leave. Other states have different contingencies but of the 5 who offered paid leave, only New York does not have any contingencies on how one can collect paid leave, for all others, it really varies state by state what how you can benefit from the paid leave or not.
In all 50 states medical care is offered to pregnant women, as long as they do not make too much money, though there is a slight loop hole to event that. Medicaid offers coverage to "medically needy women" who may make a bit more but are pregnant and have insufficient medical insurance. Medical insurance is not the easiest topic to tackle in the United States these days, and considering how costly it is becoming to really take care of anyone, it's great to know that some medical insurance programs, no matter which state you live in, can have your pregnant back, and front.
5 states offer paternity leave laws, some with fewer weeks than mom, others with half pay, and others with no pay at all. But at least Dad is able to take off to help out at home. Right? New York State, California, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C. now have laws in place requiring employers to provide paid leave to employees. Washington state passed a law, but it doesn’t go into effect until 2020. Fathers living in the rest of America only get paid leave if their employers offer it. So just like when Mom's need to do their research about paid leave, research those company policies, Dads-to-be.
According to a study conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming came up really short compared to other states for their benefits for pregnant women.
These states offered no benefits to pregnant women outside of the standardized federal regulations, and even then they didn't seem too keen on that. The study ranked all 50 states on a letter grading scale, just like in school, from A to F, and all the above mentioned states scored an F.
Alabama offers no job protection for private sector employees and is considered one of the worst states to get pregnant in according to the National Partnership For Women and Families. They offer absolutely no benefits to new parents. Talk about a tough break. Not even state employees get benefits outside of FMLA. Meaning that even if you work for the state, you won't be given any extra favors or handed any extra tokens.
Do not past go, do not collect paid maternity leave. In the case of Alabama, don't even be surprised if your job is not there when you get back. If you feel that medical leave is absolutely necessary for you and your family, you may want to consider going to a different state if you are a working mom.
If full term pregnancy isn't really the route you want to take, only 3 states are okay with late term terminations. Virginia, Arizona, and Massachusetts are the only states that allow termination beyond the federal proposed 20 weeks, according to The Atlantic. Babies really are not for everyone so if you have had a change of heart and no longer feel like growing your family is the best move for you and your family right now, there are options that you can take that may better arrange your family.
And in states like Virginia, Arizona, and Massachusetts, women are even given the chance to think about what they really want to do before having to make a permanent decision.
On average, according to a study published by the Pew Foundation, no matter what state you live in, American women are back to work just 10 days after giving birth. Which, if you have ever had a baby you can admit that that is absolutely nuts. But for those of us who have the gift of having a job that will allow us to take a leave of absence.
The thing is, even though you can take maternity leave does not mean that your job will allow you to, depending on what state you live in. With all of the amendments that have happened to the FMLA laws from state to state one can hope that women will be able to take the time required to care for themselves and their families.
No matter what state you live in, there are resources available to all expectant mothers that were put in place by the Department of Health and Human Services. Hotlines are available to call where women can find these services and there are plenty of places that can provide services for expectant mothers.
According to AmericanPregnancy.org, each state offers a free hotline where mothers can call to find the resources they need to help them with their pregnancy. This includes food benefit programs, medical benefit programs, and programs to help with your little one once he or she is born. In New York State, for example, there are several services exclusively devoted to the health and well being of pregnant women.
According to Healthcareglobal.com the top 5 hospitals for obstetrics in the United States are in Texas, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Florida, and Georgia, ironically enough since a few of these states were ranked the worst places to have a baby by the National Partnership for Women and Families. Either way, they were ranked because of wait time, cleanliness, efficiency, and medical personnel.
We've all heard the stories of the women who have bad hospital stays and cannot wait to finally make it home. If you are worried about becoming that new mom, consider one of the aforementioned states to have your little one.
According to The Pew Charitable Trust, Alaska has the highest out of hospital births, notably performed by midwives. Some states like Alabama don't even license midwives to perform at home births. Home births have been increasingly growing in popularity in the United States, mostly because of the rise in statistics of unnecessary cesareans, bad reviews for midwives, or pushy nurses.
Home births often involve Doula's who are like spiritual birth guides, if this sounds like a route you and your family may wish to go, you may want to consider checking out Alaska for it home birthing perks. Chances are, you will not be disappointed.
Sources: National Conference of State Legislature, Business Management Daily, American Pregnancy.org, Fatherly, National Partnership For Women and Families, The Atlantic, United States Department of Health and Human Services,