Maternity and Paternity Leave Laws in Kansas

The Kansas Act Against Discrimination allows employees to take unpaid pregnancy leave, and the FMLA provides pregnancy and parenting leave.

By , J.D. · UC Berkeley School of Law
Updated 8/04/2023

If you work in Kansas, state law gives you the right to take unpaid pregnancy leave. And the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives you the right to take unpaid leave for:

  • pregnancy
  • childbirth, and
  • parenting (to bond with your new child).

In addition, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits your employer from discriminating against you because of your pregnancy, which might give you the right to take time off work in some cases. And the 2023 Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) strengthens these workplace protections.

Kansas Maternity Leave for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Two types of laws in Kansas might protect you if you need pregnancy leave: laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination and laws requiring employers to let you take pregnancy leave.

Kansas Laws on Pregnancy Disability Leave

The Kansas Act Against Discrimination (KAAD) prohibits employers with four or more employees from discriminating against employees based on sex. (Kan. Stat. § 44-1009.)

The administrative regulations interpreting this law require covered employers to allow employees to take a "reasonable" period of leave while they're temporarily unable to work due to the following:

  • pregnancy
  • childbirth, or
  • recovery from these conditions.

When your maternity leave is through, the law requires your employer to reinstate you to your previous job or a "position of like status and pay" without losing seniority or other benefits. (Kan. Admin. Regs. § 21-32-6)

Family and Medical Leave in Kansas Under the FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives employees working for large companies the right to take up to 12 weeks off work in a one-year period for pregnancy and childbirth. The FMLA requires your employer to make your job (or an equivalent one) available for you when you return, but the FMLA doesn't offer any wage benefits.

The FMLA leave requirement applies only to employers with at least 50 employees. To be eligible for FMLA leave, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months to be eligible for FMLA leave in Kansas. And you must also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before your leave begins. (29 U.S.C. 2601, et seq.)

The FMLA allows you to take pregnancy/maternity leave intermittently if it's medically necessary. For example, if you have a prenatal check-up, you don't have to take a whole day off. Instead, you can use a couple of hours of FMLA leave and then return to work. (Learn more about taking FMLA leave for pregnancy and childbirth.)

Unlike some states, Kansas does not have its own medical leave act.

Maternity Leave Under Federal Discrimination Laws

There are two federal laws that address the needs of pregnant employees in the workplace and might allow you to take time off work due to pregnancy or childbirth. Both laws apply to employers with at least 15 employees:

  • the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), and
  • the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA).

The PDA doesn't require employers to give pregnant employees time off work. But if you can't work because of pregnancy, the law requires your employer to treat you the same as employees who are temporarily disabled for other types of illnesses and injuries. So, if your employer would allow another employee to take time off for a broken leg or heart attack, you must also be allowed to take time off for pregnancy.

The PWFA protects your right to take time off work for pregnancy when it's medically necessary. The PWFA requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations when an employee needs them due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. Under this law, reasonable accommodations can include time off work.

Parenting Leave in Kansas

Although some states have their own parental leave laws, Kansas doesn't have a family leave law. But if you're covered by the FMLA, you have the right to take time off to bond with a new child as part of your 12 weeks of available FMLA leave. Here are some details about taking maternity or paternity leave, or parenting leave, under the FMLA.

Taking Intermittent Maternity or Paternity Leave Under the FMLA

You can use your parenting leave under the FMLA a little at a time, but your employer must agree to it. If your employer agrees, and you use your parenting leave intermittently, you must finish your time off within one year after your baby is born (or an adopted or foster child is placed in your home).

If your employer doesn't agree to intermittent leave, you have to take your maternity or paternity leave in one chunk of time off.

Taking Paternity Leave When You and Your Spouse Work for the Same Employer

If you're married to someone who works for the same company, your employer can limit your combined FMLA leave for parenting to 12 weeks for both of you. So, if your spouse uses six weeks of FMLA maternity leave, you would have only six weeks of FMLA paternity leave. (Note that this rule doesn't apply to unmarried couples.)

Whatever portion of your own 12 weeks of FMLA leave you don't use for parenting will still be available to you for other reasons, including your own serious health condition. The same goes for your spouse.

Getting Paid During Your Time Off

FMLA leave and leave under the Kansas Act Against Discrimination is unpaid. And Kansas doesn't have a paid family leave act.

But Kansas administrative regulations (Kan. Admin. Regs. § 21-32-6(b)) require employers to treat employees disabled by pregnancy and childbirth the same as employees disabled by other conditions when it comes to:

  • health insurance
  • temporary disability insurance, and
  • sick leave plans.

Like someone with an injury or illness, you have the right to use your accrued paid leave (like sick days, vacation, or PTO) to get paid during your time off for pregnancy and childbirth. And your employer can actually require you to use your paid leave when you take FMLA leave.

Your employer might also offer maternity and paternity leave benefits or parental benefits. Talk to your HR representative or manager (and check your employee handbook) to find out what types of leave are available to you.

And if your employer offers temporary or short-term disability insurance, it should cover pregnancy and childbirth. (But keep in mind some short-term disability plans treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition for the first nine months that you have a plan, so you need to be covered before pregnancy begins.)

Learn more about how short-term disability insurance works for pregnancy and childbirth.

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