The Law Dictionary

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New York State Maternity Leave Laws

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New York State has been at the center of many important progressive issues. Thus, when a woman has a baby, it should have some of the best maternity leave laws in the country, right? Here are the New York State maternity leave laws.

“New York State Does Not Have An Official Maternity Leave Law”

First of all, there are at least two main types of maternity benefits: family leave for caring for the baby and maternal disability as the mother prepares or recuperates from the birth. New York State does not officially have a maternity leave law. Thus, in order to qualify for any benefits, you would need to look for a similar program, like temporary disability. The good news is that New York State does have a temporary disability fund.

A woman should contact her doctor to get a formal statement of her being incapacitated due to her pregnancy. Doctor’s orders could apply before or after the birth. The family should follow the guidelines of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (NYSOTDA).

The NYSOTDA allows for temporary “family assistance” with a “medically-verifiable pregnancy.” The delivery date is not important. When the expecting mother reaches the 4th month of pregnancy, she qualifies for temporary family assistance in New York State.

“Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)”

The United States government has passed the “Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993” granting both parents (biological and adopting) the same unpaid twelve (12) weeks of maternity leave or family leave. This time away from work involves caring for the baby after the birth.

Maternal disability could begin before or after the birth of the baby. The length of maternal disability that the mother qualifies for will depend on the method and difficulty of the delivery (with more time for more difficult deliveries). The mother is allowed anywhere from six (6) to eight (8) weeks of recuperation.

Employer payment of maternity leave depends upon salary, length of time employed and other factors. Each company can decide if it will offer maternity benefits. New York Workers Compensation caps your maternity leave benefits after birth or adoption at $170 per check. This may be valid for up to 26 weeks depending upon the circumstances.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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