Ohio maternity and family medical leave laws result in a variety of outcomes for parents having children.

Parental leave policies and requirements vary widely for state employees, military personnel, and parents working for private employers, and small businesses.

Most parents working in private industry face several weeks with an unpaid leave of absence.

Follow this four-part outline to learn your rights, and find financial help.

  1. Options to overcome lack of income replacement benefits
  2. Labor laws during pregnancy
  3. Length of unpaid job protections
  4. Eligibility for small business employees, part-timers, teachers, etc

Ohio Paid Family & Maternity Leave Benefits

Parents in Ohio rarely enjoy paid family or maternity leave benefits. The most common answer to “how much do I get” is zero. Most households must adjust their finances to make do with one less income.

Financial assistance comes most frequently via loans, followed by temporary disability, and then unemployment claims.

Financial Assistance

Request personal loan for maternity leave to act as financial assistance during your unpaid family or maternity absence. If approved, the private lender will deposit funds into your bank account. Use the money to stay current on regular bills while on you are not earning an income.

  • Do not borrow money unless you are certain that you will return to work within a short period. You must repay the loan with interest in monthly installments.
  • Read more about loan payment requirements during a leave of absence on the same page. Deferment and forbearance are other ways to afford the time away from the job.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability in Ohio is the most viable form of paid family and maternity leave benefits. The policies replace a portion of income when an insured person must stop working because of a covered accident, sickness, or pregnancy-related condition.

However, most people are unable to take advantage.

  • The state does not offer a program to private employers
  • Workers must purchase a private policy
  • New policies exclude pre-existing conditions for 12 months

Unemployment Compensation

Collecting unemployment in Ohio is not an option in for paid family or maternity leave benefits. Several components in the state law virtually eliminate this possibility.

  • Physically and mentally able to work
  • Available for suitable work
  • Make a good faith effort to return to work
  • Not on a leave of absence from work

The lone exception would be a pregnant woman laid off through no fault of her own. Being pregnant would not exclude her from collecting unemployment compensation – while she remains physically able to work.

Ohio Employment Laws for Pregnancy

Ohio employment laws for pregnancy protect the rights of expectant women in the workplace. They also extend rights during a pregnancy disability leave. Two federal regulations and a state-based law apply in these scenarios.

Pregnancy Discrimination

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is a workplace law that applies to expectant women in Ohio. The PDA protects rights while looking for a job, and when actively employed. A related statute protects the ability to express milk in the workplace.

Employers often modify work assignments to accommodate employee’s limitations. Women who are expecting should be treated in the same manner as every other worker.

Pregnancy Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the second federal law that applies to expectant women in Ohio. Under the ADA, a covered employer must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women meeting eligibility guidelines.

A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables the disabled person to perform essential job functions.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

The Ohio Fair Employment Practices Act (OFEPA) declares that treating an applicant or employee differently because she is pregnant (or experiencing related medical conditions, such as gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension) is sex discrimination.

The OFEDP requires employers to treat pregnant women the same as any other employee who is similar in the ability or inability to work. If an employer provides leave to other employees, the employer must provide the same entitlement to pregnant personnel under the same conditions.1

Ohio Family Medical Leave Laws

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to workers in Ohio as well as across the country. The FMLA provides an answer to a second common question, “how long does it last?” The answer is 12 weeks.

Will I get paid while absent from work? The answer is no unless your employer voluntarily offers income replacement as an employee benefit. The law stipulates unpaid time off.

Find the correct forms to complete. Discover how the FMLA works during maternity and paternity leave.

FMLA Paperwork

The Family Medical Leave Act paperwork is no different in Ohio. Remember, the FMLA is a nationwide regulation. Therefore, workers across the country use the same forms. Choose the certification paperwork that addresses the qualifying reason for the unpaid job-protected leave of absence.

  • Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition
  • Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition
  • Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities
  • Designation Notice
  • Qualifying Exigency for Military Family
  • Serious Injury or Illness of Current Service Member
  • Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran for Military Caregiver

The US Department of Labor hosts a variety of FMLA forms.

FMLA Maternity Leave

The Family Medical Leave Act offers qualifying Ohio mothers 12 weeks of combined maternity leave. Women are eligible to take unpaid time from work under five common scenarios.

  1. Pregnancy disability before the due date
  2. Recovery from labor and delivery
  3. Postpartum complications
  4. Bond with a newborn infant, adoptive baby, or foster child
  5. Care of a seriously sick infant

Mothers experiencing a high-risk pregnancy are likely to exceed the 12 weeks of FMLA job protections. A second-semester bed rest could last 24 weeks.

FMLA Paternity Leave

The Family Medical Leave Act also offers qualifying Ohio fathers 12 weeks of combined paternity leave. Men are eligible to take unpaid time from work under three common scenarios.

  1. Care of spouse suffering pregnancy complications
  2. Bond with a newborn infant, adoptive baby, or foster child
  3. Care of a seriously sick infant

Ohio Military Family Leave Act

The Ohio Military Family Leave Act of 2010 applies to government and private employers with fifty or more employees. The law requires employers to grant up to ten days or eighty hours of job-protection to family members of uniformed service members injured while on active duty.2

Who Meets Ohio Family Leave Requirements

Not every state resident meets the Ohio maternity and family medical leave requirements. First, many different laws often apply to each situation. Second, each law has varying eligibility rules.

We often find the widest range of outcomes by contrasting small businesses, part-time workers, job hoppers, teachers, and state government employees.

Small Businesses

Ohio maternity and family leave rights for small business personnel depend on the employee-size criteria for each applicable regulation, or form of assistance. Count the number of personnel to determine if your small business employer is subject to each applicable law.

  • FMLA – 50 or more working within a 75-mile radius
  • ADA & PDA – 15 or more
  • OFEDP – 4 or more

Part-Timers and Job Hoppers

Part-time employees and job hoppers working in Ohio have the fewest maternity and family medical leave rights because of hours worked and longevity criteria. Although the ADA, PDA, and OFEDP do not have these conditions, FMLA does.

  • FMLA hours worked criteria exclude many part-time workers from unpaid job protections. An eligible employee must have logged 1,250 hours in the last 12 months. This eliminates most part-timers averaging 25 hours per week or less.
  • FMLA also has longevity criteria, which eliminates many job hoppers. An eligible person worked for the same employer for 12 consecutive months.


Ohio teachers enjoy special unpaid family and maternity leave privileges. However, these educators may have a false sense of security about income replacement while unable to work.

FMLA grants special rights to educators. These extra rules pertain to teachers, coaches, driving instructors, special education workers, and sign language interpreters.

The specialized language protects public and private elementary and secondary school workers. The rules also cover intermittent leave toward the end of the school term and giving birth during the summer recess.3

The State Teachers Retirement System offers a disability program for members with 5 years of service. However, this plan does not cover temporary medical conditions.

State Employees

Employees working for the Ohio state government can take advantage of several different paid family leave policies. These policies do not apply to workers in the private industry unless you disregard the taxes paid to fund these entitlements.

Paid Parental Leave Benefits

State employees in Ohio are eligible for paid parental leave equating to seventy percent of their base rate pay. The entitlement begins after satisfying a two-week waiting period and continues for four weeks.

The employee must be the biological parent of the newborn baby or the legal guardian of an adopted child. The policy applies to both mothers and fathers.4

Paid Sick Leave

State employees in Ohio can use accumulated sick days for the own illness, injury, or pregnancy. They can also use accumulated sick leave to care for a family member that is sick or injured.

State workers may also use accumulated sick days in the event of a family member’s death.5

Short-Term Disability

State employees in Ohio are also eligible for a short-term disability program. Benefits begin after 14 calendar days. This program covers workers with one year of continuous service who have worked 1,500 hours or more in the preceding 12 months.6


  1. Fair Employment Practices Act
  2. Employment Law HQ
  3. FMLA Teachers
  4. OH Revised Code 124.136
  5. Employment Law HQ
  6. Short-term disability