Family leave laws (also known as maternity or paternity leave laws) allow most employees to take time off from work to care for a new child. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act covers all states, but some states also have leave laws. Uner most family leave laws, including the federal law, employers are required to provide only unpaid leave to their workers. Fortunately, a few states now offer paid short-term disability benefits or paid family leave for pregnancy-related conditions. Federal law -- along with the law of most states -- also protects against discrimination because of pregnancy.