Paid Maternity Leaves: How Long Is Maternity Leave in Texas?

Whether you are a working mother or father, expecting or adopting a child should not cost you the job, opportunities, or promotion that you might have been waiting for. The United States constitution offers maternal and parental leaves along with job security in the event of a birth or adoption of a child.

If you live in Texas, you might want to know how long is maternity leave in Texas. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers comprehensive leave legislation statutes. But it does have several loopholes and exceptions that still need to be addressed. In addition, to protect the federal legislation, many states have passed a range of employee medical leaves laws on their own.

If you’re expecting or adopting a child it’s better to understand your constitutional rights given by FMLA as an employer or employee.

What does the Family Medical Leave Act define?

FMLA defines the limited protection given in 1993 by federal law. The protection of the constitutional rights of an employee or employer who needs to take off from work as medical leave for themselves or for his/her family.

Through FMLA, an employee can take up to 12 weeks (3 months) off time from work as leaves without employment termination risk. But before someone opt to claim his federal rights, it is to ensure understanding that these off-work time would be unpaid.

To avail of these FMLA unpaid leaves you must be suffering from any of the following reasons;

  • If you suffer from a fatal disease or a severe medical condition
  • If you are the only one to take care of a family member who might be suffering from a serious medical condition
  • Your child(ren) needs you
  • You need time to cater to important and urgent family matters
  • You need time to take care of a family member who is injured after serving in the military.

 There may be serious reasons when you want to take time off from work other than these. But some intricacies limit the eligibility of claiming the leaves from FMLA as a federal right. This means, that not every time or everyone qualifies to get unpaid leaves from FMLA no matter if you fall perfect on the above-mentioned requirements.

What does the Family Medical Leave Act define
source:leaveadvice.com

Who gets eligible for FMLA?

To get eligible to avail of the FMLA leaves, you have to meet certain eligibility criteria set for employees to avail of FMLA leaves. They involve;

  • You can avail the FMLA leaves only if you worked for the company for more than 12 months
  • You worked for your company for at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months which would be about 25 hours per week.
  • You have been working for the company for the last 12 months that is not excluded from the FMLA regulations

How long is maternity leave in Texas as family medical leave from FMLA?

If you are eligible to avail of the FMLA leaves and fall accurately on the eligibility requirements, then you can take off from your work for 12 weeks during the period of one year without the risk of termination of employment.

In addition to 12 weeks, an exception is initiated for employees that are subjected to taking care of injured family members who received injuries while performing their duties for military service. In these types of events, the unpaid leave of 12 weeks can be extended to 26 weeks depending on the circumstances and injuries of the family member. The injuries further must be connected with disabilities that hinder continuing back the services.

However, these exemptions would be applied to per-injury and per-family members. Additionally, you may not be able to apply for FMLA leaves for the same person and injuries next year, unless there may be a requirement of taking care of another family member with another injury case.

As for employers, they can ask employees to have paid leaves by using their sick and vacation leaves along with FMLA in the event of serious medical conditions. 

How do you configure a serious medical health condition?

According to FMLA, the following will be considered serious health conditions in order to avail FMLA leaves for 12 or 26 weeks;

  • Any injury that might require a night stay in the hospital, nursing home, or any medical care providing facility,
  • A disability that needs a professional medical health care provider to monitor and off from work for more than 3 days,
  • Inability to perform tasks due to pregnancy or child care,
  • Inability to perform office tasks due to fatal and chronic diseases or medical conditions including epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, etc.
  • Permanent incapacity or long-term condition that does not allow an individual to recover completely such as stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc.
  • A serious condition that requires continuous hospital visitations and medical treatment like chemotherapy, dialysis, or any physical therapy.

As said, FMLA is a federal law and applied to almost every citizen who may qualify for the given criteria of unpaid leaves. However, in Texas, maternity leaves may be subjected to following more strict conditions.

How long is maternity leave in Texas
source:shrm.org

Texas Maternity leaves laws 2022

According to the updated guidelines, two federal and one state laws constitute the aspects of the maternity leaves that will be applied to Texas mothers during their maternity period in 2022.

  • The unpaid time off from the federal act of FMLA provides 12 weeks off from work. These unpaid leaves will be granted to eligible employees who have worked for the company for more than 12 months
  • The second federal law of Pregnancy Discrimination Act – PDA, disallows the discrimination and unfair treatment to female employees because of their pregnancy, any medical condition, or childbirth.
  • The Texas Payday Law legislates the fringe benefits as per the company policies and the employer-employee agreements. This legislation covers the pay and benefits for sick days, vacations, holidays, severance, and parental leaves.

Government assistance programs for the maternity period

Financial Assistance programs from the government would be beneficial for you to survive when you apply for unpaid maternity leaves. These programs usually fall into two categories.

The first category defines the state program that replaces a portion of a working mom’s salary when she needs to spend time with her newborn or for childcare reasons. Although, these programs are not available for Texas employees working in the private industries.

The second category points out federal welfare programs that are created to help mothers and even fathers to pay their bills carefree when they are off from work. Also, being unable to earn, promotes income-based support from federal institutions.

How long is maternity leave in Texas?

In Texas, whether you are a permanent employee or working in a private or government sector, Texas state does not allow a mother to have paid maternity leaves. But that doesn’t mean not everyone gets them other than a mother. Therefore, to answer how much or how long maternity leaves are allowed in Texas varies from person to person and situation. 

Regardless of paid or unpaid, mothers can take off from work to have bed rest or to take care of the newborn. However, when it comes to exceptions, every law has them.

Short-term disability

In Texas, short-term medical disability is one form to have paid maternity leave benefits that many mothers can avail of themselves. Female workers having the coverage before conception can apply for paid leaves where they can be granted 66% of their monthly income as payments during leaves. The percentage of their income depends on their preferences when they apply for the programs.

On the other hand, not everyone qualifies for such claims

  • Texas, however, does not have its state-mandated short-term disability
  • Pregnancy would be a pre-existing condition that is catered to in all new policies
  • Women have to purchase a private policy in order to have benefits during unpaid leaves from the company
  • Plans that are managed by the employers can cover normal childbirth expenses.
How do you configure a serious medical health condition
source:bbc.com

Unemployment

It is rare to collect unemployment during maternity leaves for mothers in Texas. The criteria for universal employees now exclude most parents while;

  • On FMLA (on eligibility) if the parent still has a job
  • Mothers who are not fit to perform due to pregnancy, disability, or recovering from deliveries or labor conditions.
  • Parents become unable to show up on duty while taking care of an infant or a sick newborn.

But this is not something that is permanent. As soon as parents become eligible to resume work, they can get their employment back when they are available to perform work and see job opportunities.

Texas Unemployment Act Section 207.045 says that if a person voluntarily quits work against a good cause reason would not be disqualified from the benefits of employment. These reasons may include:

  • Medically verified disease of a family member (especially minor)
  • Employees injury, pregnancy, or disability.

Paid Family leaves

As said, there are no paid leaves for Texas employees working in the private or public sector. There are hardly any local governments in the United States that offer this kind of entitlement to their employees. Where the one to mention here is Lone Star State.

And then again, the Payday law in Texas can benefit you if you have a written agreement with your employer that they will pay you if you get into such situations. Therefore, it is essential to read and comprehend the handbook of your employee prior to applying for maternity leaves.

Till when you can entail maternity leaves?

In order to answer the exact period for how long is maternity leave in Texas is applicable depends on the situation and varies from person to person. As every situation is unique –Texas law segregates the level of leaves into two parts.

1 – The duration of the health insurance and job protection in the event of unpaid leaves can range from 0 and goes up to twelve weeks.

  • O for the employees who don’t have a written policy under Payday law and don’t qualify for FMLA.
  • 12 for those who are eligible for FMLA and health insurance protection.

2 – The duration of the short-term disability claim can be stretched from 0 to 6 weeks and more depending on the events to occur and the limits that are defined in the written agreement.

  • 0: Female employees who didn’t get coverage before conceiving
  • 6: Woman with normal childbirth
  • 8: Mothers who need C-section surgical operations for deliveries
  • 4-26: Mothers who experience severe medical conditions during their pregnancies
  • 6-26: Mothers, where postpartum medical issues hinder from returning to work.
Till when you can entail maternity leaves
source:atkersonlaw.com

FMLA Texas Rules 2022

The Federal Law Family Act 2022 is affecting Texas parents primarily in 2022. According to the Texas Payday Law, there are no supplemental regulations that add the number of people covered or extend the leave duration in order to grant a paid leave from work.

Rather almost half of the individuals in the Lone-Star state have the privilege to acquire the legal rights of enjoying paid leaves. These remunerations include;

  • Maintained health insurance under the same conditions when a person is employed
  • Taking the paid off time from work without retaliation, interference, and resistance
  • Restoration on the same position after twelve weeks of leave.

Eligibility qualification

To have the opportunity of enjoying the parental leaves under FMLA, Texans have to qualify to certain eligibility criteria. First, you must work for an employer that is not excluded by FMLA (covered employers) and has worked for more than one year (eligible employee).

Covered Employer

  • An employer with a working force of 50 or more with a minimum of 20 working weeks
  • A public agency where there’s no limit of working employees
  • Private or public secondary/elementary school without any limit of employees they employ.

Eligible Employees

  • Worked under an employer for more than one year
  • Logged for more than 1,250 hours of work in the working period
  • Working in a location within 75 miles radius where the employer has at least 50 employees.

Required forms to apply for FMLA

The forms that you need to apply for FMLA are unique for Texans. Because it is federal legislation that is regulated for the employees across states. The United States Department of Labor hosts a variety of FMLA forms with applicable FMLA document details which can be downloaded, filled, and submitted to your employers in qualifying scenarios.

  • WH-380-F: Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition
  • WH-380-E: Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition.

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