It's funny about what kinds of leave a pregnant woman can take these days. I was reminded to talk about this by Laura's comment yesterday, thanks Laura! One older lady at work says she remembers back in the day when a woman was expected to stop work in her 7th month, and even stop driving at that point too.
These days it's not so easy. FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) is a federal law that protects a person's job for up to 12 weeks following the birth of a baby. For my purposes here I'm only talking about the birth part of the law, although there are other reasons why you can qualify for FMLA. All businesses are required to allow a woman to have leave for up to 12 weeks if she wants it, and hold her job for her.
Now the part about getting paid during that leave.... that part is not required by law. It's up to the individual company or business to determine if they will pay a woman while she's out on FMLA, and how much. Sadly, the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world besides Australia to not provide a law about wages during family leave. So it's not required by law and you're at the mercy of your company.
Conglom-O will pay your wages for the first 6 weeks of the leave only. And it's not even actually 6 weeks, it's more like 5 weeks, because you don't get paid during that very first week unless you have your own PTO time saved up, and it comes out of that. Nice, huh? Then for the rest of the 6 weeks you are paid at 60% of your wages unless you bought an extra benefit during open enrollment which will increase your short term disability to 80%. Then, for the remaining 6 weeks you are unpaid.
So this is why so many women work right up until they deliver. When you only get (up to) 12 weeks off, you want to spend as much time with the baby afterwards as you can and not waste it on the front end before the baby even comes. In my case, my last day is tomorrow, which is 1 week before I deliver. In this case it's nice to have a scheduled day so I know I won't be waiting around to go into labor. :)