There is a right to a temporary and unpaid period of absence from employment granted to expectant or new mothers during the months immediately before and after childbirth. These policies are generally aimed at supporting the mother’s full recovery from childbirth and facilitating a stronger mother-child bond. maternity benefit act pdf weeks of unpaid leave annually for mothers of newborn or newly adopted children.
This is one of the lowest levels of leave in the industrialized world. In comparison to other countries, the United States is one of the only countries that has not passed laws requiring business and corporations to offer paid maternity leave to their employees. Historically, maternity leave was not a pertinent legislative concern as mothers were largely prevented from labor force participation. 6 months of their child’s birth. Prior to the enactment of FMLA legislation in 1993, maternity leave coverage was governed by state law, collective bargaining agreements and employer policies. The first set of maternity leave related policies emerged in the late 1960s. Under this legislation, new mothers were granted leaves corresponding to the benefits that other employees received for temporary illness or disability.
This state-level trend of maternity leave legislation continued into the 1970s and 1980s where multiple other states passed more explicit recognitions of new mothers’ rights to a temporary leave of absence. Ultimately, 12 states and the District of Columbia had implemented measures requiring at least some private sector employers to offer maternity leave packages to its employees. Employees frequently held enough bargaining power to influence employer policies and negotiate for the inclusion of maternity leave protection. Despite some localized employees’ access to maternity leave, there was growing pressure for national maternity leave legislation in the early 1990s. Many new mothers continued to be excluded from such maternity leave provisions despite growing national demand. Women now enjoyed greater employment opportunities and changing gender norms that encouraged increased labor involvement.
This inadequate national coverage provoked intense protest and growing national consensus on the value of maternity leave. Ultimately, the increased salience and galvanized national support prompted the 1993 enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act mandating maternity leave. President Bill Clinton’s first term, guaranteed maternity leave to many new mothers across the nation. It mandated a minimum of 12 weeks unpaid leave to mothers for the purpose of attending to a newborn or newly adopted child. However, the act did not attain universal coverage as it included several limiting stipulations. In order to receive maternity leave, employees must work in a firm of 50 or more employees, maintain employment with the same business for 12 months and have accumulated at least 1,250 working hours over those 12 months.