Maternity and Paternity Leave for Small Business


Pregnant woman with a baby icon over her stomach. AUI logo in bottom right.


Are Maternity and Paternity Leave covered under the Family Medical Leave Act?

While the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows some eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, only about 60% of all those employed workers are eligible during a 12-month period.  Under the law, employees can utilize FMLA to care for a newborn, adopted or foster child, or to care for a family member, or to attend to the employee’s own serious medical health condition.

Why Aren’t More Parents Covered Under FMLA? 

The answer is simple. Small businesses with less than 50 employees are not required to follow federal labor laws requiring workers to have unpaid maternity and paternity leave.

In addition to smaller companies evading the FMLA requirements, even workers at larger companies that do qualify for FMLA compliance have a minimum of 1250 hours that an employee must have worked to qualify for FMLA leave.

FMLA Covered Employers

Employees must be working in the private sector and employed by a company that has 50 or more employees in 20 or more work weeks in a calendar year. In addition, public agencies are required under federal laws to provide FMLA coverage regardless of the number of employees.

Public or private elementary or secondary school, employees must be covered under FMLA no matter how many employees they have.

For more federal requirements from the department of labor Click Here.

Parents not protected by FMLA must turn to their employee handbook for answers. If you haven’t read your employee handbook now is a good time.  If it is not clearly outlined in the employee handbook, it is time to talk to our sister company Clarity HR for help.

White text on blue background describing how the share of 2 parent households has gone up since 1970.

There are many States that are passing their own maternity and paternity leave.

While the United States does not have a standard for small businesses when it comes to family and medical leave laws, individual states have started passing their own legislation to protect workers.


States with Paid Family Leave:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • District of Columbia

In addition to paid family leave some states have even passed laws specifically for paternal leave for State employees including:

  • Georgia
  • New Hampshire
  • South Carolina.

What are the Paternity Leave Laws in Ohio?

Ohio does not have any state legislation that offers paternal leave outside of the federal guidelines for FMLA-covered employers.   In fact, parental leave laws in Ohio do not include any state-mandated income replacement benefits as of the Fall of 2022. However, Ohio does follow the minimum federally requirements under FMLA.

Short-Term Disability Requirements in Ohio

The primary way for new parents to get up to 66% income replacement is through short-term disability insurance. However, the mother must enroll before she conceives, as all private policies exclude coverage for pre-existing pregnancy.

Here are three scenarios that may help a mother with short-term disability claims:

  • Pregnancy disability before birth due to medical complications
  • Recovery from labor and delivery after normal childbirth
  • Postpartum health issues (not depression) that delay a return to work

Does Ohio offer paternity leave for fathers under short-term disability?

Ohio does not cover paternity leave for fathers. Technically fathers remain “physically able” to perform their regular work duties.

How Can AUI help?

While AUI focuses on benefits it is important to consider the implication of benefit packages for employees regarding maternity and paternity benefits businesses can offer. Businesses of all sizes can help new families adjust to and bond with their children. In Ohio, 72% of households with children – nearly 1.8 million homes have both parents reporting to work.

While the State of Ohio does not have paid family and medical leave insurance laws, that could change in the coming years.  AUI is here to help you navigate your options and provide you with solutions to help support your employees and their growing families. Contact Us to learn more.


We do more than cover small businesses and individuals with the right insurance policies and benefit plans – what motivates our team is helping you save more so you can invest more in your team, family, and goals.

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