What You Need to Know About Pregnancy Leave in Georgia
Depending on their employer, new mothers in Georgia may be eligible for paid or unpaid maternity leave. Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy leave in Georgia.
Georgia and federal law provide pregnancy leave options for many Georgia employees. Some employers must provide paid leave, some must provide unpaid leave, and others are free to set their leave policies.
What is pregnancy leave in Georgia?
In Georgia, pregnancy leave is when an employee takes time off work to give birth, care for a new child, or recover from pregnancy complications.
Do Georgia employers have to offer paid maternity leave?
Not all Georgia employers offer paid maternity leave. However, Georgia’s HB 146 allows all Georgia teachers and state employees to take three weeks of paid parental leave. In addition, under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), large employers and government agencies must offer 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected maternity or paternity leave.
Which Georgia employees are eligible for paid pregnancy leave under HB 146?
HB 146, which became law on July 1st, 2021, provides three weeks of paid leave for all full-time state employees and teachers who:
- Give birth to a child
- Have a partner who gives birth to a child
- Foster a child
- Adopt a child
Which Georgia employees are eligible for FMLA pregnancy leave?
Employees can take FMLA leave if they work for at least 12 months for a covered employer. In the 12 months before taking FMLA leave, eligible employees must work at least 1,250 hours for that employer.
What is a “covered employer” under FMLA?
The FMLA requires covered Georgia employers to offer eligible employees unpaid pregnancy leave. FMLA-covered employers are:
- Private-sector employers with at least 50 employees within 75 miles of a worksite
- Public agencies (State, local, or federal) of any size
- Public or private elementary and secondary schools of any size
For what reasons can a Georgia employee take FMLA Leave?
Under FMLA, a Georgia employee can take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for:
- The birth of a child
- Receiving a foster or adopted child
- Caring for a family member with a serious health conditionAn employee’s own serious health condition
- Any qualifying reason related to an active military family member
Can Georgia employees receive pay during FMLA pregnancy leave?
Yes, Georgia employees can use paid sick hours or vacation time to receive money during FMLA leave. Unfortunately, employees without sick hours or vacation time may not receive pay during FMLA leave.
Can all eligible employees take paid or unpaid maternity leave in Georgia?
Yes, federal and state pregnancy leave laws apply to all employees. Under HB 146 and FMLA, Georgia fathers are eligible for paternity leave, which allows them to take time off to care for and bond with a newborn, foster child, or adopted child.
In Georgia, do private businesses offer pregnancy leave?
Neither Georgia nor federal law requires small private companies to offer pregnancy leave. However, some private businesses provide paid or unpaid maternity leave. It is important to consult with your employer to determine if they provide pregnancy leave.
Can new Georgia mothers apply for unemployment?
While you can apply for unemployment while on maternity leave, Georgia is unlikely to approve a claim. Georgia may reject a maternity leave unemployment claim because most applicants still have a job and cannot work because of pregnancy and childbirth.
However, some Georgia mothers can receive unemployment if they lose their job.
What other resources does Georgia provide for new mothers?
Pregnancy can be financially straining for Georgia mothers. Georgia offers several resources to help individuals make it through 12 weeks of unpaid leave:
- Subsidies for health insurance coverage
- Food stamps (SNAP)
- Women Infants & Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- IRS-supported tax savings