Illinois Paternity & Maternity Leave | FMLA & ILPLA

How long does maternity leave last in Illinois? How much money do mothers get while out on bed rest, recovering from childbirth, or bonding with their newborn baby at home?

What about fathers taking paternity leave?

The answer to these questions is different for every person.

Parents working in government agencies often enjoy better income benefits than most taxpayers in private industry who support them.

Meanwhile, the length of unpaid job and health insurance protections is unclear. Parents who qualify for FMLA get twelve weeks, while all mothers have exclusive rights under the Illinois Pregnancy Leave Act (ILPLA).

Paid Maternity Leave Illinois

Maternity leave is often paid in Illinois for many parents working for government agencies. Meanwhile, the many taxpayers working for smaller private businesses are less fortunate as the state does not have a law requiring these benefits.

Company Employees

Most Illinois parents working for private companies do not have paid maternity leave as the state does not require these benefits. However, some employers offer them voluntarily, and short-term disability is a possible substitute.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability insurance is the primary way Illinois mothers working for private companies can enjoy paid maternity leave benefits. However, you must enroll before conception.

Short-term disability in Illinois is not required. Women who purchase coverage before conception at work might enjoy partial income replacement for these qualifying medical events.

  • Pregnancy complications before birth
  • Recovery from labor and delivery (childbirth)
  • Postpartum medical complications that delay return to work
  • Non-maternity-related accidents and illnesses

Getting short-term disability approved while pregnant will prove virtually impossible. All insurance companies exclude pre-existing conditions for at least one year, except in rare circumstances.

Government Assistance

Government assistance is sometimes the only way for the many parents working for private companies to survive their unpaid family leave. While you will not find ways to replace income, you could reduce expenses.

Federal government assistance during maternity leave helps families meeting low-income criteria slash various costs. You might fit the requirements for many programs if the mom or dad stops working for a significant period.

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Childcare Assistance Programs 
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Voluntary Benefits

Others work for private companies offering paid parental leave voluntarily to attract and retain a competitive workforce. Below is a sampling of large entities with these coveted benefits.

Check your employee handbook to verify what your company offers. Do not assume anything.

Collecting Unemployment

You cannot get unemployment on maternity leave in Illinois because mothers fail most of the four requirements during this brief period.

  1. Still employed while absent from work
  2. Physically unable to work when disabled
  3. Unavailable for employment while baby bonding
  4. Not seeking a new job

Other government assistance programs reducing expenses is a better avenue than attempting to collect unemployment benefits to compensate for the lack of paid leave for workers in the private industry.

Government Employees

Many new parents working for government agencies in Illinois enjoy paid maternity leave supported by taxpayers without similar benefits.

Federal Government

Illinois residents working as civilian federal government employees enjoy paid parental leave benefits at 100% of income lasting up to eight weeks.

The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act covers workers with twelve months of service, logging at least 1,250 hours in connection with a child’s birth or placement (for adoption or foster care).

Parents working for federal entities such as the Social Security Administration (SSA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), US Postal Service (USPS), Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and many others often qualify.

State Government

Most Illinois State Government employees are eligible for ten weeks (50 days) of paid parental leave benefits for the birth of a baby or adoption of a child.

Apply for Illinois state employee paid leave benefits by providing the appropriate personnel office with several proof documents.

  • Pregnancy thirty days before the due date
  • Birth
  • Parent-child relationship
  • The legal status of an adoption

Chicago Government

FMLA-eligible employees of the Chicago Municipal Government enjoy paid parental leave benefits. The city will replace 100% of earnings for up to twelve weeks for a new child’s birth, adoption, foster placement, or surrogacy.

Apply for Chicago paid parental leave benefits by completing all FMLA paperwork as your first step, as you must be eligible under this federal law to qualify for the compensation.

Public Universities

Public universities are quasi-government entities, and many offer paid parental leave benefits to eligible employees, as indicated by this listing.

IL Maternity Leave Length

Many mothers want to know how long Illinois maternity leave legal job protections last. However, there is no single correct answer because two laws come into play with different qualifying criteria and rules.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA significantly determines how long maternity leave lasts in Illinois by providing a concrete answer (twelve weeks) that applies to approximately 56% of parents.

You must work for a covered employer and be an eligible employee to qualify for the twelve weeks of unpaid time off to bond with your newborn.

Small Businesses

Parents working for small businesses in Illinois must consult their employee handbook to determine how long maternity leave lasts because they may not work for an FMLA-covered employer.

Small businesses with fewer than fifty employees working within a 75-mile radius do not have to comply with the FMLA twelve-week requirement. However, ILPLA (see below) might apply.

School Teachers

Maternity leave lasts twelve weeks for most school teachers in Illinois because public and private primary and secondary schools are “covered employers” under FMLA regardless of the number of employees.

However, substitute teachers and those newly hired might fail the FMLA employee eligibility tests.

  1. 12 months of continuous service at the school
  2. 1,250 hours worked over the preceding 12 months

Pregnancy Leave Act (ILPLA)

The Illinois Pregnancy Leave Act (ILPLA) sometimes affects how long maternity leave lasts. ILPLA applies to all mothers without providing a concrete timeframe for the duration of this reasonable accommodation.

ILPLA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to women, including these two relevant examples of unspecified length.

  1. Providing time off to recover from conditions related to childbirth
  2. Granting a leave necessitated by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition

Employers with one or more employees must comply with ILPA, meaning every small business must provide reasonable maternity leave accommodations of an unspecified length. 

Paternity Leave in Illinois

Paternity leave in Illinois is a great benefit for some new dads and a mediocre one for many others. Fathers can count on many, but not all, of the same programs and laws.

As you will see, new dads have fewer supports for bonding with their newborns, caring for their children, or taking them to doctor appointments.

How Long

Many fathers want to know how long paternity leave lasts in Illinois. However, men have fewer legal protections because only the federal FMLA applies. The ILPLA addresses mothers exclusively.

  • Paternity leave job protections are 12 weeks long for FMLA-qualifying fathers (about 56%). They work for a covered employer and meet the employee-eligibility requirement.
  • Consult your employee handbook to determine how long paternity leave lasts if you work for a small business not covered by FMLA (less than fifty employees in a 75-mile radius)

Is It Paid

Likewise, many Illinois fathers want to know if paternity leave is paid. Men have less financial support this time because short-term disability is not an option.

Short-term disability does not cover the care of family members. Therefore, fathers cannot utilize this insurance policy to create paternity leave pay if their employer does not offer the benefit directly.

Many government agencies have paid paternity leave benefits. In contrast, dads employed in the private sector have fewer options unless they work for one of the large employers cited in that section of our article.