Gov. DeSantis expands paid maternity, family leave for some Florida employees

State employees in Florida will now have more time off to spend with their newborns "without the financial worry of lost wages," Gov. Ron DeSantis' office announced in a news release.

The expansion of maternity and family leave was approved during a meeting with DeSantis and the Cabinet on Monday.

This will allow eligible state employees to receive paid maternity leave for up to seven weeks and parental leave for two weeks. Florida defined eligible employees as "any new mother or father that has been with the State of Florida as a full-time employee for at least one year." Mothers can combine that time to provide nine weeks of paid leave.

Prior to the new policy, state employees had to use sick and annual leave or unpaid leave following the birth of a child, officials said.

"When I became Governor, I made it a priority to champion policies that support families and empower parents," DeSantis said in a statement. "As a father of three, I know how instrumental those first weeks are for new parents and their children."

Here is a breakdown of the new maternity/family leave policy:

  • 280 hours (7 weeks) of paid maternity leave immediately following the birth of a child
  • 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 16 weeks (when combined with paid maternity and parental leave) within the first 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child

DeSantis and the Cabinet also approved 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, the news release stated. 

Leave will be available to Florida state employees after rules have been noticed and adopted by the Florida Department of Management Services, officials said.