Texas maternity and family medical leave of absence laws offers modest rights to parents.
The length of job protections lasts up to 12 weeks for a lucky few. The amount most people get is zero. Texas laws do not require paid family medical or maternity leave benefits.
Mothers, fathers, teachers, and small business employees all have a unique set of rights while on a leave of absence from work.
Follow this three-part outline to discover your rights.
- Options for income replacement benefits and assistance
- Qualifications for small businesses, teachers, and fathers
- Basics of nationwide family medical leave of absences laws
Texas Paid Family & Maternity Leave Laws
Texas does not have paid family and maternity leave laws. However, at least three options exist for parents to enjoy income replacement while not working. It does take some creative thinking.
However, the majority of site visitors will not qualify for paid maternity or family medical leave benefits. Most either arrive too late to purchase disability coverage, unemployment compensation rules exclude their situation, or Payday benefits are too small.
Borrowed funding may be the best alternative.
Maternity Leave Assistance
Request a maternity leave loan in order to obtain private monetary assistance. Secure a cushion of cash to fund the time bonding with your baby. Your infant is a newborn for a very short period.
Do not borrow money unless you are certain that you are returning to work, and will still have a job when the time comes. You will need to repay the loan in monthly installments with interest. This could be very difficult if you do not qualify for FMLA job protections – see below.
Paid Disability Leave
Short-term disability insurance in Texas offers paid maternity leave under very limited circumstances. The state does not mandate this important benefit. Therefore, people must take proactive steps to avoid lost income. In addition, certain policies offer greater value than others do.
Women must purchase a policy prior to conception in order to qualify. All private contracts exclude pre-existing pregnancies for at least 12 months.
- Individual plans help mom during a pregnancy disability due to medical complications.
- Worksite policies include mom’s recovery from normal childbirth.
- Fathers do not qualify as they do not experience a covered medical event.
Paid Sick Leave
Texas does not have a state-based law requiring paid sick leave. However, many private and government employers maintain written policies. This voluntary fringe benefit helps them attract and retain their workforce.
These written paid sick leave policies can help pregnant women experiencing morning sickness, or needing extra time for periodic doctor visits. The benefit is also useful when caring for a sick child at home.
Parents should verify the amount of time accrued in their sick bank.
Unemployment Maternity Leave
Filing for unemployment during maternity leave is the primary form of state government assistance in Texas. Section 207.045 of the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act states that a person who is available for work and quit his or her job due to a “good cause” is not disqualified for benefits. A good cause may include several circumstances.
- Medically verified illness a minor child
This is our interpretation of how the unemployment law applies.
- You must first voluntarily terminate employment
- Benefits may begin once mom recovers from her pregnancy-related disability
- The sick child recovers or the parents find suitable childcare freeing them to resume work
The Texas Payday law provides a detailed definition of wages that opens the door for maternity leave pay. The state-based regulation applies to private workers. It does not cover 1099 contractors or government employees.
The regulation states that any fringe benefit promised in writing by an employer is enforceable. Fringe benefit wage covered by the regulation include vacation, sick pay, parental leave, holiday, and severance pay.
Texas Maternity Leave Law Eligibility
Texas maternity leave laws offering unpaid job protection do not always apply to every resident. Each regulation has unique qualifying criteria. Eligibility often depends on the size of employer, and the reason the person must stop working.
Disclaimer – the content in this article does not constitute legal or professional advice.
Consult an employment law attorney licensed in Texas.
Many small businesses in Texas are not required to provide maternity leave benefits. No small business must offer income replacement. Many are exempt from job protection and health care continuation.
Small businesses parental leave requirements vary by employee size. Several federal regulations have employee size criteria.
- FMLA – 50 employees
- Americans Disability Act – 15 employees
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act – 15 employees
Small businesses with 3 or more benefit-eligible employees can offer voluntary short-term disability to cover mom’s recovery from labor and delivery. It is a simple solution for a big problem.
Fathers on Paternity Leave
Fathers do not enjoy any special paternity leave right beyond what the federal FMLA provides.
Eligible fathers working for qualified employers may take 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected paternity leave to care for his wife while she experiences complications of pregnancy or to bond with a newborn or adopted child.
Teacher Maternity Leave
Teachers in Texas do not enjoy any special maternity leave rights even though the employee demographics suggest a big need. Rules and access vary by school district.
Most school districts have more than 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius. This means that teachers enjoy FMLA job protection rights. FMLA also has specific language for public and private schools, educational agencies, and instructional employees. These special rules allow for intermittent absences – which you can read about here.
Most school districts do not provide parental leave pay. Teachers need to purchase short-term disability or utilize paid sick days accrued in her pool or bank.
Some districts may continue your regular pay, but subtract costs for a substitute teacher.
The nationwide FMLA offers parental leave for adoption and placement of a foster child for parents in Texas. Both mothers and fathers can take 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected absence to bond with their adoptive baby or foster child.
Texas Family Medical Leave Act Regulations
Texas family medical leave act regulations consist primarily of federal statutes. There is no state-based rule that extends the length of job-protected time away, to expand eligibility to include more people, or to force employers to pay workers while absent.
The nationwide FMLA, ADA, and PDA do apply to many state residents, while the employment discrimination act is state specific. The Texas Workforce Commission provides a comprehensive overview of each pertinent rule.
Nationwide Family Leave Laws
Three nationwide family medical leave laws apply to many parents in Texas. Each federal law has unique protections, requirements, and eligibility criteria. The Department of Labor enforces these rules.
Family Medical Leave Act
The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides twelve weeks of unpaid job-protected time off. Covered employers must continue to provide health benefits to the affected employee on the same basis as when he or she was working.
- Eligible employees worked 1,250 hours in the most recent twelve calendar months for the same employer.
- Covered employers have 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius of the affected person.
- Download FMLA forms here. Complete then paperwork and submit the form to your employer with sufficient notice.
- Spouses are eligible to care for a seriously ill husband or wife.
- Maternity leave is an eligible reason. Both mothers and fathers can stop working to bond with a newborn or adoptive baby.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prevents workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. The law protects women’s rights while seeking employment, and while actively working. She can express milk at the worksite after returning from bonding with her baby.
Under the PDA, employers cannot terminate a woman just because she is pregnant. They must make reasonable accommodations to her work schedule or assignment.
Employers with fifteen or more total workers must comply with the PDA.
American’s with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers to make reasonable accommodations for a woman experiencing complications of pregnancy. Only women actively working enjoy job protections under the ADA.
All employers that have 15 or more employees must comply. The law considers a person as disabled if he or she has:
- An impairment that significantly limits one or more activities of daily living
- A written record establishing the limitations
- Or a reasonable person would recognize the impairment – it is obvious
The Texas Employment Discrimination Act provides protections against discrimination based upon age, sex, color, national origin, religious beliefs, disability, or emergency evacuation.
Employers must make reasonable accommodations for the employee. A disabled employee is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers. The agency administers the unemployment compensation system.
The Workforce Commission also publishes useful information about applicable federal laws and regulations that govern employment discrimination and other labor laws.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Civil Rights Act of 1991
- Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- TX Payday Law
- Unemployment Benefits
- TX Employment Discrimination
- TX State Employees
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