What Is Unpaid Maternity Leave?

Maternity leave refers to the period of time that a new mother takes off from work following the birth of her baby.

Maternity leave is usually created from a variety of benefits that include sick leave, vacation, holiday time, personal days, short-term disability and unpaid family leave time.

What do I do if I have unpaid maternity leave?

7 strategies to survive unpaid maternity leave

  • Look into short-term disability insurance.
  • Start saving money.
  • Negotiate for some small amount of paid maternity leave.
  • Consider using paid time off/vacation days.
  • Reach out.
  • Crowdfund it.
  • Take on temporary part-time work or ask for additional hours at work.
  • 20 old-school ways to keep your kid busy without screen time.

Unfortunately, the only federal law guaranteeing maternity leave in the U.S. is unpaid — and it only applies to some employees. The law that most women rely on is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which will protect your job for up to 12 weeks after childbirth or adoption.

Can you get food stamps while on unpaid maternity leave?

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance) are federal government programs that parents can tap into while away from the job. An extended unpaid maternity leave actually may improve your qualifications for these income-based entitlements.

Can you get paid while on maternity leave?

While some companies offer paid maternity leave, the majority do not. Some large or family-friendly companies employees six paid weeks of maternity leave, but many do not.