How Long is Parental Leave in Ohio: Pay & Job Rights?

One of the most common questions that new parents have is how long they can take parental leave before returning to work. The answer to this question in Ohio depends on several factors and perspectives.

First, you might want to know how long income support lasts and if your employer provides this coveted maternity leave benefit.

Second, you might ask how long legal job protections last and if the state has relevant laws expanding or extending the federal FMLA.

Finally, the rules work differently for fathers taking paternity leave because men do not experience a pregnancy-related disability.

Paid Maternity Leave In Ohio

The length and amount of paid maternity leave in Ohio differ for every parent because employer policies vary, and the state does not have a law in 2023 requiring the benefits for all workers.

Find out how long you can afford to bond with your baby before returning to work.

Private Employers

Private companies in Ohio may offer their own paid maternity leave policies. These benefits vary by company and may be more or less generous than others.

Employees should check with their employer’s human resources department to determine if they are eligible and what the specific policy entails.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability is the primary vehicle for paid maternity leave for mothers working for private employers in Ohio. However, the mom must enroll before she conceives, as all policies exclude coverage for pre-existing pregnancy.

Short-term disability insurance in Ohio is voluntary in most cases. The Buckeye State does not require private employers to offer the coverage. You must sign up before conception to enjoy these benefits.

  1. Pregnancy disability before birth due to medical complications
  2. Recovery from labor and delivery after normal childbirth
  3. Postpartum health issues (not depression) that delay a return to work

Collecting Unemployment

Parents working for private employers cannot get unemployment during maternity leave in Ohio as they simultaneously fail the three most critical criteria.

  1. Physically able to work
  2. Available for new employment
  3. Actively seeking a new job

You might be able to collect unemployment after maternity leave if you lost your job for a just cause. You must show that an ordinary, intelligent person would have acted similarly.

Voluntary Benefits

Many private employers offer paid parental leave of varying lengths to attract and retain a competitive workforce. For instance, these large companies with offices in Ohio offer the benefit voluntarily, as well as many others not listed.

State Employees

Many parents working for the State Government of Ohio enjoy paid leave lasting four to six weeks or longer. However, the benefits for mothers are better than for fathers.

Birth Adoption

Both mothers and fathers working for the State Government of Ohio have paid parental leave lasting up to six weeks at 70% of their previous income. However, you must first satisfy a two-week waiting period where you can use accrued compensatory time.

Apply for paid parental leave for state government employees by completing the standard Request for Leave form (ADM 4258) after the birth or adoption of a minor child.

Pregnancy Disability

Mothers working for the State Government of Ohio enjoy paid maternity leave through the taxpayer-funded short-term disability program, which extends benefits under three circumstances.

  1. Pregnancy disability leave before childbirth
  2. Two weeks after delivering her baby
  3. Postpartum disorders continued past week six

Apply for short-term disability benefits by completing form ADM4310. Forward the completed document to your agency human resources representative.

Federal Workers

Ohio mothers and fathers working as civilian federal government employees enjoy paid parental leave benefits at 100% of income lasting up to twelve weeks.

Apply for federal paid parental leave benefits by completing two relevant documents and submitting the paperwork to your supervisor.

  1. Paid parental leave request form
  2. Agreement to complete twelve-week work obligation

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 Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Commerce (DOC), Defense (DOD), Education (ED), Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services (HHS), and many others may qualify.

Ohio Maternity Leave Job Rights

The length of parental leave job protections varies because the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) do not apply to every parent. Plus, the pertinent Ohio law active in 2023 applies to mothers, not fathers.

FMLA provides twelve weeks of unpaid time off to eligible employers working for covered employers. When returning to work, employers must reinstate employees to their previous position or an equivalent position with the same pay, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment.

Small Business

Small businesses with less than fifty employees are not covered by the FMLA, meaning parental leave might not last twelve weeks. However, related federal and Ohio laws extend legal job rights to women, not men.

  • Ohio Rule 4112-5-05 might extend maternity leave for a reasonable period to mothers working for small businesses with less than fifty employees that do not have a written policy.
  • The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) applies to small businesses with fifteen or more employees requiring leave or time off to recover from childbirth.
  • Fathers working for small businesses with less than fifty employees have no additional legal rights under rule 4112-5-05 and should consult their employee handbook.


Many teachers in Ohio enjoy twelve weeks of unpaid legal job protections because schools qualify as covered employers under FMLA regardless of the number of employees. However, not every educator is automatically eligible.

  • Substitute teachers may not be eligible employees under FMLA because they might fail the 1,250 hours worked in the last 12 months test.
  • Newly hired teachers are not eligible employees under FMLA if they have not worked with the school system for twelve consecutive months.

Paternity Leave in Ohio

Paternity leave is a type of parental leave that allows fathers to take time off from work after the birth or adoption of a child. In Ohio, paternity leave is governed by state and federal laws, which provide eligible employees with certain rights and protections.

Paid Paternity Leave

The compensation for paternity leave in Ohio depends on the employer’s policies and the employee’s employment status.

  • Fathers working for private companies might receive income support if their employer provides paid parental leave voluntarily, as some do.
  • Ohio dads employed by the State Government enjoy paid paternity leave lasting six weeks after satisfying the two-week waiting period.
  • Fathers working for the federal government receive twelve weeks of paid time off to care for a newborn or adopted child.

Short-term disability does not cover the care of family members. Therefore, dads cannot buy a policy to replace a portion of income during paternity leave.

Paternity Leave Duration

The length of paternity leave job protections in Ohio depends on whether the father works for an FMLA-covered employer and his eligibility under this federal law.

  • Fathers qualified for FMLA have twelve weeks of unpaid paternity leave and should submit the appropriate paperwork to their employer
  • Fathers working for small businesses with fewer than fifty employees should consult their employee handbook regarding their paternity leave policy