Pennsylvania Maternity, Paternity, & Paid Family Leave

How long is maternity leave in Pennsylvania? Is it paid? What about fathers taking paternity leave?

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides twelve weeks of unpaid legal job and health benefits protections for those who qualify. However, only about 56% of workers meet the criteria.

Meanwhile, many large employers provide paid parental leave voluntarily or when required by law. However, the Commonwealth of PA does not mandate this benefit for workers in the private sector.

In other words, each parent will have a unique experience. Learn where you might stand, and find alternatives to help you survive baby bonding time.  

Pennsylvania Paid Family Leave

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not have a law in 2023 requiring employers to provide paid family leave to workers. However, many parents still enjoy these benefits through various means.

Private Workers

Some Pennsylvania parents working for private companies enjoy paid family leave because they bought short-term disability, their employer offers the benefit voluntarily, or they commute to a neighboring state with a mandatory program.

Short-Term Disability

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

Short-term disability in PA is not mandatory as in several neighboring states. 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

Your 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 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)

Border Commuters

Many PA parents commute across state borders to work for private companies in other jurisdictions. Those employers must adhere to different laws, which may require paid family leave benefits now or in the future.

Paid LeaveUnpaid Leave
New York (Now)Ohio
New Jersey (Now)West Virginia
Delaware (2026) 
Maryland (2025) 

Voluntary Benefits

Other PA parents work for private companies offering paid family 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.

Commonwealth Employees

Mothers and fathers working for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enjoy paid parental leave benefits lasting six weeks at their regular, straight-time bi-weekly salary. Plus, they can take up to six months to bond with a newborn (and other reasons) without pay.

The Commonwealth of PA Paid Parental Leave Policy provides six weeks of full income replacement for eligible employees with qualifying events.

  • Birth of a biological infant
  • Adoption of a child
  • Foster care placement of a child

The Sick, Parental, and Family Care Absence Policy allows six months unpaid time off for eligible employees with a qualifying event.

  • The serious health condition of an employee
  • A serious health condition of a family member
  • For the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child

Federal Workers

Pennsylvania 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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), US Postal Service (USPS), Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and many others often qualify.

Maternity Leave in PA

Maternity leave experiences for mothers in Pennsylvania are vastly different in 2023. The federal FMLA does not apply to every female parent, their place of employment determines whether they get paid, and their choices before conception come into play. 

Maternity Leave Pay

Whether maternity leave is paid in Pennsylvania depends on where the mother works, employer policies, and their actions before conception.

  • Mothers working for a federal government agency or the Commonwealth get maternity leave pay at 100% for eight and six weeks, respectively.
  • Women purchasing short-term disability before conception receive up to 66% maternity leave pay when they are physically unable to work.
  • Mothers working at private companies offering paid maternity leave receive the benefits outlined in their employee handbook.
  • A large majority receive no maternity leave pay because their employer does not offer the benefit voluntarily, and the Commonwealth does not require it.

Temporary Unemployment

Mothers cannot get temporary unemployment for maternity leave in Pennsylvania because mothers fail the four tests 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

PA unemployment law would permit benefits after maternity leave if you lost your job for a cause of a necessitous and compelling nature: health or personal reasons. Two scenarios are plausible.

  1. Health: A high-risk pregnancy could fall into this category
  2. Personal: A seriously ill baby could fit this description

Maternity Leave Length

The answer to how long maternity leave is in Pennsylvania is different for every mother because federal laws and employer policies are inconsistent.

  • 12 Weeks: roughly 56% of new mothers are protected under FMLA; they work for a covered employer and meet employee eligibility requirements.
  • 26 Weeks: mothers working for the Commonwealth who can afford to take off this much time without pay while funding insurance premiums 100%.
  • Unknown Length: approximately 44% of new mothers are not subject to FMLA; they work for small businesses, logged part-time hours, or recently changed jobs.

Paternity Leave in PA

Paternity leave experiences for fathers in Pennsylvania are vastly different in 2023. The federal FMLA does not apply to every male parent, their place of employment determines whether they get paid, and their choices before conception are inconsequential.

Paternity Leave Pay 

The answer to whether paternity leave is paid in Pennsylvania depends on where the father works and employer policies, but not their choices before conception.

  • Fathers working for a federal government agency or the Commonwealth get paternity leave pay at 100% for eight and six weeks, respectively.
  • Short-term disability does not cover paternity leave because the insurance policy does not honor claims for the care of family members.
  • Fathers working at private companies offering paid paternity leave receive the benefits outlined in their employee handbook.
  • A large majority receive no paternity leave pay because their employer does not offer the benefit voluntarily, and the Commonwealth does not require it.

Paternity Leave Length

The answer to how long paternity leave is in Pennsylvania is different for every father because federal laws and employer policies are inconsistent.

  • 12 Weeks: roughly 56% of new fathers are protected under FMLA; they work for a covered employer and meet employee eligibility requirements.
  • 26 Weeks: dads who are working for the Commonwealth and can afford this much unpaid time off while funding insurance premiums 100%.
  • Unknown Length: approximately 44% of new fathers are not subject to FMLA; they work for small businesses, logged part-time hours, or recently changed jobs.