Maternity Leave in Texas: How Long It Lasts | Is It Paid?

Texas maternity leave laws are sparse compared to other states.

Others have mandatory paid family leave and supplementary regulations that expand FMLA legal rights to more people or extend the time off from work.

The answer to how long parental leave lasts and whether you get paid depends on your circumstances and choices before becoming pregnant.

Learn how several laws interact with short-term disability insurance to determine how your time off from work will affect your job and budget.

The parents faring best take bold action when planning a pregnancy.

Paid Leave in Texas

Whether maternity leave is paid in Texas depends on where you work and the steps you took before conception. The state does not mandate the benefit, but some employers offer it directly or indirectly.

How To Get Paid

How do you get paid while on maternity leave in Texas when the state does not mandate the benefit? Some new parents are lucky, others proactive, but most miss out.  

Personal Loans

Personal loans are a substitute for parents not getting paid while on maternity leave. Baby bonding time is crucial; the extra cash can help you maximize these precious moments.

Request a maternity leave loan online. If approved, the lender will deposit cash into your checking account, which you can use to cover everyday bills while out of work.

Borrowing money is the fallback option because you must repay the lender. Therefore, ensure your job will remain open for several weeks while you are away.

Short-Term Disability

Short-term disability is the indirect way to get paid during maternity leave in Texas. However, the programs work best when offered by employers, and you must buy a policy before conception.

Before Conception

You can get a short-term disability purchase approved while pregnant, but the policy will not generate maternity leave pay until twelve months after the effective date.

Therefore, you must start the policy before conception unless you want interim coverage for accidents and illnesses. You may want to have another child.

Employer Disability

Short-term disability insurance in Texas is not mandatory. The state does not have a program or require employers to provide a voluntary option.

Women who buy a policy at work before conception can file a claim and expect to receive more significant benefits for several common scenarios.

  1. Pregnancy leave before the birth
  2. Recovery from labor and delivery
  3. Postpartum medical complications
  4. Accidents and other illnesses
Individual Disability

Individual short-term disability insurance in Texas is a fallback option when employers in the private industry do not offer a voluntary program.

Women buying an individual policy outside their employer before conception can apply for lesser benefits that still have value.

  1. Pregnancy leave before the birth
  2. Recovery from labor and delivery
  3. Postpartum medical complications
  4. Accidents and other illnesses

Collecting Unemployment

You cannot collect unemployment in Texas if your employer does not offer paid maternity leave. Universal criteria disqualify most new parents working in the private sector.

  • During FMLA (if eligible), you still have a job
  • Mom is not physically able to work
    • During pregnancy disability
    • While recovering from labor and delivery
  • Parents are unavailable for duty
    • While baby bonding
    • When caring for a sick infant

However, some parents might be able to file for unemployment afterward if they lose their jobs in the interim. Section 207.045 of the Texas Unemployment Act states that a person who voluntarily quits work for a “good cause reason” is not disqualified for benefits.

  • Medically verified illness of a minor child
  • Employee’s injury, disability, or pregnancy

Change Employers

Changing jobs is the direct way to get paid during maternity leave. In Texas, many employers voluntarily offer this coveted benefit to attract and retain employees. For instance, this small sampling of large employers continues paying workers while baby bonding.

Who Gets Paid

Next, we examine who gets paid maternity leave in Texas. Some employers offer the benefit directly or indirectly with a voluntary short-term disability program.

Private Industry Employees

Some women working for employers in the private industry get paid maternity leave in Texas, while many do not.

  • Many large employers in the private industry offer the benefit directly because they want to attract and retain a competitive workforce.
  • Private companies offering voluntary short-term disability allow women to buy a policy before conception.

State Government Workers

Women working in the Texas State Government get paid maternity leave if they buy short-term disability during open enrollment. The state offers a voluntary program to its employees.

The Texas Income Protection Plan (TIPP) provides modest benefits during and after pregnancy. You must buy TIPP before conception.

  • Must exhaust all paid sick leave first
    • Extended
    • Donated
    • Pooled
  • Satisfy a 30-day waiting period first
    • Vaginal delivery: lasts 42 days
    • C-section birth: lasts 56 days

Public School Teachers

It appears that some teachers in Texas may get paid maternity leave if their school district offers voluntary short-term disability and they enroll in the program before conception.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) does not appear to offer a voluntary program. However, we surveyed the most prominent districts and found they all featured an optional plan through different insurance companies.

Federal Government Employees

Most federal government employees working in Texas enjoy paid parental leave benefits directly. Eligible civilians receive 100% of their income for 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).

Texas parents working for federal entities such as the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, Administration for Children and Families, Centers for Disease Control, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may qualify.

TX Maternity Leave Duration

The answer to how long maternity leave is in Texas depends on whether FMLA guidelines apply, the written policies in your employee handbook, and your disability experience.

The correct response could be zero, twelve weeks, or anything between or above.

FMLA Texas

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) determines how long unpaid job protections last during maternity leave in Texas. The correct answer could be zero or twelve weeks, depending on whether the national law applies to your situation.

FMLA Zero Weeks

FMLA maternity leave legal rights do not apply to 44% of Texas parents who get zero weeks under the law because they fail one of two qualifying criteria. Of course, employers can set policies however they want when not subject to the regulation.

Work for a covered employer

  • A private-sector employer with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks
  • Public agency, regardless of the number of people it employs
  • Public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of people it employs

Eligible employee

  • Worked for the employer for at least 12 months
  • Logged at least 1,250 hours of service in the last 12 months
  • Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius

FMLA 12 Weeks

FMLA maternity leave legal rights pertain to 56% of Texas parents who get twelve weeks of unpaid time off because they meet both criteria: they work for a covered employer and are eligible employees.

How do you get paid while on FMLA? This article already answered the question. Prospective mothers must purchase short-term disability before conception or change jobs.

Texas Payday Law

The Texas Payday Law determines how long paid maternity leave lasts when employers offer this benefit voluntarily to attract and retain a competitive workforce.

The Texas Payday Law enforces fringe benefit payments promised in a written employer policy handbook, including vacation, sick, holiday, severance, and parental leave pay.

Disability Experience

Mom’s disability experience determines how long maternity leave pay lasts in Texas. The disparity of correct responses in this realm underscores the need to buy a short-term policy before conception.

  • Zero weeks: women without a policy in force before conception
  • Six weeks: mothers recovering from a vaginal birth
  • Eight weeks: moms recovering from a C-section delivery
  • Up to 26 weeks: women experiencing medical complications
    • Pregnancy disability before her due date
    • Postpartum problems (not depression)

Paternity Leave

The answer to how long paternity leave is in Texas is much more straightforward. FMLA eligibility and federal employment are the primary variables affecting new fathers.

  • Short-term disability does not cover the care of family members; therefore, buying a policy before a mom conceives has no value for dads during paternity leave.
  • Unpaid paternity leave lasts twelve weeks for new fathers protected by FMLA: they work for a covered employer and are eligible employees.
  • Paid paternity leave lasts eight weeks for new dads working for a federal government agency, provided they have twelve months of continuous service and have logged 1,250 hours in the last twelve months.