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June 30, 2009
Nearly Half of Employers Don't Offer Paid Maternity Leave

Forty-seven percent of employers offer no paid maternity leave to employees, according to a poll by Compensation.BLR.com and HR.BLR.com.

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The poll found that the most common length of paid maternity leave is in the range of 4 to 6 weeks (22 percent of all respondents), followed by 10 to 12 weeks (14 percent), and 7 to 9 weeks (9 percent).

Five percent of all respondents said they offer more than 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. Four percent of respondents said they offer fewer than 4 weeks of paid maternity leave.

The survey included more than 200 respondents.

While there is no federal law that requires employers to offer paid maternity leave, the Family and Medical Leave act permits an employee to elect, or the employer to require the employee, to use accrued paid leave forsome or all of the FMLA leave period.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act has no requirement for employers to provide pregnancy leave, but if an employer does have a short-term disability plan, it must be available to pregnant women just as it is to employees with other temporary disabilities.

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