A woman's right to have a child without having to worry about whether or not her employer would replace her was once not recognized. Now, most jurisdictions have enacted laws protecting the jobs of women who must temporarily leave work in order to give birth to a child. Central to most of these laws is the concept of statutory maternity pay. Statutory maternity pay is payment of a portion of a woman’s pay while she takes a reasonable time off to give birth to the child and recover. In some jurisdictions statutory maternity pay is provided through the short-term disability benefits distributed by a government.
Statutory maternity pay laws generally provide that a woman has the right to leave her job for a reasonable period of time to give birth and recover without being replaced. Usually, the employer is required to maintain all her employment rights such as health care and pension contributions throughout the maternity leave. She must also be entitled to all paid holidays she would otherwise be granted. This right arises any time she has a child — i.e., the employer may not limit the amount of times the woman will be allowed to take maternity leave.
The calculation of statutory maternity pay varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but there is typically a formula determining the appropriate amount the employer must pay the woman throughout her maternity leave. Generally, companies must calculate the statutory maternity pay as a percentage of the woman’s salary over a recent period of time. For example, such a statute may provide that an employer must pay a woman on maternity leave 75% of her average paycheck over the previous 12 weeks. If over the previous 12 weeks she made a total of $12,000 US Dollars (USD), the employer must pay her $750 (USD) per week over the duration of her maternity leave.
Some jurisdictions provide statutory maternity pay for women who are to give birth through short-term disability, a government funded program that provides people with a percentage of their pay if they are unable to work due to a physical issue. Rates vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the calculation of short-term disability pay is generally similar to the method described above. The only real difference between the methods is the source of the money. The government provides short-term disability while the former method of statutory maternity pay is provided by a company or other employer.