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  • Writer's pictureBBC Content Team

Human Resources: Maternity and Paternity Leave

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

In basic terms, maternity leave is “the period of time when a mother stops working because she is about to have — or has just had (or adopted) — a baby” (Fairygodboss). Paternity leave is when both the mother and their partner both go on leave, also known as family leave.

As for pay, one might be fully paid, partially paid, or not paid at all, this all depends on the policy where one works that may or not be put in place. Furthermore, only 58% of companies pay their employees when they go on maternity leave and this does not mean that this 58% pays their usual as well. The other women that do not get paid at all use the Family and Medical Leave Act. This not only ensures that their job is waiting for them when they get back but also makes sure they are not demoted nor suffer in loss in salary during this time. Although, there many things that the Family and Medical Leave Act does not do. This includes the criteria in which one must meet for the act to apply to them. This criteria includes if “you work at a company with more than 50 employees within 75 miles of your workplace and you have worked there for a minimum of 1,250 hours during the prior year. If you have a spouse working at the same company, and he or she also tries to qualify for leave under FMLA, things are more complex.” (Fairygodboss). Furthermore, different states may have different rules in regard to this act.

During this leave, it can range from 12 weeks or some companies allow even longer. This all depends on the company policy. Some may treat it like a paid holiday while others may not. Furthermore, although all people going on maternity leave should be treated the same in the company, this can be different depending on the contract and whether one is unionized or not.

Overall, before one goes on maternity leave it is important to know how much they are getting paid or if they are at all, their company policy, and their benefits depending on their contract. This is always important to know so one can plan ahead while they're taking this time off.

Works Cited

Fairygodboss. “Maternity Leave 101: Basic Things You Should Know.” Fairygodboss, Fairygodboss, 18 Aug. 2015,

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