FMLA Eligibility in Georgia: Maternity and Paternity Leave

Many new parents wonder how long is maternity leave in Georgia and how much money do you get? The answer is that it depends.

For instance, people working for small businesses often take unpaid time off with no legal job or health insurance protections.

Meanwhile, government workers always get twelve weeks of legal job rights and three to twelve weeks of full pay.

Others fall somewhere in the middle. They are FMLA eligible and can take off for twelve weeks – without pay. Still, others get up to 2/3 income replacement if they bought short-term disability before conception.

Learn more about your possible maternity leave experience.

Paid Parental Leave in Georgia

Many government workers in Georgia enjoy paid parental leave courtesy of taxpayers in the private sector. However, these same taxpayers typically take unpaid time off when they have a birth, adopt a youngster, or foster a child.

Therefore, parents working in the private sector have to think ahead and get creative to survive weeks without money coming in.

Government Assistance

Government financial assistance for maternity leave can help parents working in the private sector to survive 12 weeks of unpaid time off. You may find it challenging to find compensation but could unearth multiple ways to cut expenses.

  • Subsidies for health insurance coverage
  • Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance)
  • Women Infants & Children (WIC)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • IRS-supported tax savings

Pregnancy Disability

Short-term disability for pregnancy in Georgia sometimes provides income benefits for mothers working in the private industry. Government workers can also utilize the programs to extend their salary protection beyond 3 or 12 weeks.

These insurance policies replace a portion of earnings if mom misses work before delivery because of pregnancy complications. However, most women miss the window of opportunity to take advantage.

  • The state does not offer a program
  • Coverage must begin before conception
  • New policies exclude pre-existing conditions for 12 months
  • Many employers fail to offer a voluntary option

Applying for Unemployment

You can apply for unemployment while on maternity leave in Georgia. However, it is unlikely that the state will approve your claim initially because you violate the primary requirements.

  • Physically able to work: fails while recovering from labor and delivery
  • Available for suitable employment: flunks while caring for an infant

However, you could get unemployment after maternity leave if you lost your job for a good cause reason. GA unemployment code offers two statements that could help you qualify.[1]

  • 300-2-9-.02 (4-C): Personal illness or disability of a temporary nature of claimant or a dependent family member
  • 300-2-9-.05 (1-E): Whether the employee’s health was placed in jeopardy by conditions on the job

Kin Care Law

The Georgia Family Care Act SB 201 (Kin Care Law) provides limited parental pay benefits for people who work in the private industry. The rule requires employers that offer paid sick leave to allow employees to use this entitlement to care for immediate family members.

The Kin Care Law applies to employers with more than 25 employees. Eligible personnel has worked at least 30 hours per week. Immediate family members include a child, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, parent, or dependents, as shown in the worker’s most recent tax return.

Therefore, the Kin Care Law provides paid time off for some parents.

MomsDads

Pregnancy Disability

Self

Care of Wife

Recovery from Childbirth

Self

Care of Wife

Care of Sick Infant

Yes

Yes

Baby Bonding

Unknown

Unknown

Postpartum Issues

Self

Care of Wife

State Employees

Effective July 1, 2021, state government employees in Georgia enjoy paid parental leave benefits. House Bill (HB 146) provides 3 weeks of compensated time off for eligible workers when they have a birth, adopt a youngster, or foster a child.[2]

The following state government employees are eligible for this benefit.

  • Classified as full-time
  • 6 months of continuous employment
  • Works for the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of state government
  • Employed by a local board of education: teachers

Federal Employees

The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) makes parental pay available to specific civilian employees in the US Government. FEPLA provides 12 weeks of paid time off for FMLA-eligible personnel connected with the birth or placement (for adoption or foster care) of a child. [3]

Federal employees working in civilian roles in Georgia could qualify for this benefit and work for one of the many agencies located in the state.

  • Air Force
  • Army
  • Navy
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Health and Human Services
  • Many others

FMLA Eligibility in Georgia

The eligibility rules for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in Georgia mirror the standards set by the Department of Labor, which apply uniformly across the country. [4]

Parents can enjoy twelve weeks of unpaid FMLA legal job and health insurance protections if they meet three sets of criteria.

Covered Employers

Georgia parents must work for a covered employer to have twelve weeks of FMLA legal rights during maternity leave. Small business workers should consult their employee handbooks.

  • All public (government) agencies and departments
  • All public and private primary and secondary schools
  • Companies with 50+ employees working within a 75-mile radius

Eligible Employees

Georgia parents must fit the criteria for eligible employees to enjoy the twelve weeks of FMLA job protections during maternity leave. Newly hired and part-time workers often must fend for themselves.

  • 12 months of tenure with the company or agency
  • 1,250 hours worked over the preceding 12 months

Qualifying Reasons

Georgia residents who work for covered employers and meet the employee eligibility criteria typically enjoy twelve weeks of unpaid time off because FMLA rules encapsulate most parental leave scenarios.

MothersFathers

Birth of infant

Yes

Yes

Adoption of child

Yes

Yes

Placement of a foster child

Yes

Yes

Pregnancy disability

Yes

No

Care of a sick spouse

No

Yes

Paternity Leave in Georgia

Using the concepts covered above, we can break down the legal rights for fathers taking paternity leave in Georgia into two categories: paid time off and legal job protections.

Paid Time Off

Georgia fathers have fewer paid paternity leave options than mothers because they remain physically able to work at all times. But other options remain.

  • Short-term disability does not cover dads who remain able to work
  • Collecting unemployment after paternity leave is more difficult because section 300-2-9-.05 (1-E) does not apply to fathers
  • The Kin Care law works well for dads across the board
  • Fathers who are state employees get 3 weeks of paid time off
  • Dads who are federal workers receive 12 weeks of compensation

Legal Job Protections

Georgia fathers enjoy twelve weeks of legal job and health insurance protections during paternity leave when they are FMLA eligible. Otherwise, dads must fend for themselves or take less time off.

  • Fathers working for small businesses (under 50 employees) do not qualify
  • Dads who recently changed jobs (12 months) do not meet the criteria
  • Fathers who work part-time (less than 1,250 hours) miss the cutoff

Article Citations:

[1] CHAPTER 300-2-9

[2] GA House Bill 146

[3] Department of Commerce Offices of HR Management

[4] Department of Labor: FMLA FAQ