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Maternity and family leave expanded for state employees

Maternity and family leave has been expanded for Florida state employees.

The expansion, approved Monday at a meeting of the governor and cabinet, will allow eligible state employees to receive paid maternity leave for up to seven weeks and parental leave for two weeks, which can be combined to provide nine weeks of paid leave for mothers.

Previously, state employees could use sick and annual leave or unpaid leave following the birth of a child.

The new policy covers any new mother or family that has been with the State of Florida as a full-time employee for at least six continuous months. The new state employee leave policy:

  • Provides 280 hours (7 weeks) of paid maternity leave within the first 12 months of the birth of a child.
  • Provides 80 hours (2 weeks) of paid parental leave within the first 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child.

Authorizes the use of sick leave to bond with a new child for up to a maximum of 4 months (when combined with paid maternity and parental leave) within the first 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child.
Also approved were rules to allow paid family leave insurance to be offered in the state, providing a mechanism for Florida employers to offer similar benefits through supplemental insurance benefits for their own employees. Leave will be available to Florida state employees after rules have been noticed and adopted by the Florida Department of Management Services.

The new leave benefits enable mothers sufficient time to recover after the birth of a child and allow both parents the opportunity to care for and bond with their baby or newly adopted child and adapt to changing family dynamics without the financial worry of lost wages. Paid leave improves both parental and infant health, including both physical health and well-being. Early bonding with newborns can greatly impact their social and cognitive development.

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