Texas has a handful of state employment laws regarding maternity leave. While there is no specific regulation titled by parental or family leave law, there are a series of statues that sometimes may apply to families needing to stop working due to the birth of a child.
This page provides a brief outline and summary of possible Texas laws that may relate to maternity leave employment issues.
- Paid maternity leave options
- Short term disability
- Unemployment benefits
- Job Protections
- TX employment discrimination act
- Federal regulations
TX Paid Maternity Leave Laws
Believe it or not Texas has paid maternity leave regulations. The specific name is not used but there are three possible ways for parents to enjoy income replacement while unable to work in TX.
Short Term Disability
Short term disability insurance is perhaps the most valuable paid leave option. It is available to almost anyone in Texas who wants to purchase a policy. The coverage provides income replacement for the individual who is unable to work. During maternity leave the mother is the affected party. Paid leave benefits are payable for complications of pregnancy, normal childbirth, and postpartum disorders.
Paid leave is also available for men who are injured or suffer an illness that prevents him from working. Of course women may need to take leave for the same reasons.
Texas Payday Law
The Texas Payday law provides a detailed definition of wages that opens the door for maternity leave applications. The regulation states that any fringe benefit promised in writing by an employer must be enforced. Fringe benefit wage covered by the regulation include: vacation, sick pay, parental leave, holiday, and severance pay.
Texas unemployment benefits present a second opportunity for paid leave. The federal government is providing incentives to states to allow the use of unemployment benefits for “good cause”.
Texas has taken advantage of these incentives and allows workers to tap into unemployment benefits if you quit working on the advice of a physician, to provide care for a minor child with a verifiable medical condition, or to care for a terminally ill spouse where no alternative is available. An infant born prematurely, with a birth defect, or other malady may qualify under this definition.
Job Protection Regulations in Texas
Texas state laws regarding maternity leave are comprised mostly of federal regulations. A big challenge for any family during a maternity leave is the concern about how long they can take leave and expect to keep their job.
What happens to health insurance during a parental leave is also a big concern. Three federal laws address these concerns, and two Texas regulations provide extra help.
Federal Job Protections
There are three federal laws about maternity leave that apply in Texas as in any other state.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides twelve weeks of job protected leave. The leave can be used to care for a sick family member and bond with a baby. There are specific eligibility criteria for covered employers, and hours work eligibility standards for employees. Covered employers must continue to provide health benefits to the affected employee on the same basis as when she was working.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires covered employers to make reasonable accommodations for a woman experiencing complications of pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
Texas Employment Discrimination
The Texas Employment Discrimination Act provides protections against discrimination based upon: age, sex, color, national origin, religious beliefs, disability, or emergency evacuation.
Employers must make reasonable accommodations for a disabled employee. A disabled employee is defined as an employee who has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of having a disability, or is regarded as having a disability.
State workers in Texas are entitled to up to 12 weeks of parental leave for the foster care placement of a child, adoption, and birth of a newborn even if they have not met the FMLA criteria for number of hours worked. Employees may be able to utilize the state’s sick leave pool during this time.