Rhode Island Maternity Leave

Rhode Island Maternity Leave: Everything Expectant Parents Need to Know About the State’s Paid Leave Laws

Last Updated on February 28, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

You can get partial pay while you are off work if you work in Rhode Island, and expect a baby or need to bond with your baby with the Rhode Island Maternity Leave program. If you are pregnant and have a disability that affects your ability to care for the baby, you can also get Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) which is paid.

Rhode Island Maternity Leave

How many weeks of paid maternity leave can I get?

Check your employee handbook to see if your company offers paid maternity leave. Even if your employer does not pay for your maternity leaves, you may still be eligible for up to four weeks’ partial pay for the time taken to bond with your child, or care for a parent, spouse, or domestic partner who is seriously ill.

You can get partial pay up to 30 weeks of TDI if you are unable or unable to work due to a disability. You should note that you cannot receive paid time off for more than 30 weeks if you have a medical condition that prevents you from working.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

You must have worked in Rhode Island and contributed to the TDI/TCI funds to be eligible. It’s also needed for you to have received at least $13,800 during the base period or an alternate period for claims filed after October 1, 2020. You might be eligible even if you didn’t earn the amount if you meet the following:

  1. In one quarter of your base period, you earned at least $2300
  2. Your base period taxable wages must be at least one-half of your highest quarter earnings.
  3. Your base period taxable earnings must equal or exceed $4,600

What is a base period? Alternate base period?

The base period is the time period used to determine whether you are eligible. The base period includes the four most recent five calendar quarters that were completed before your new claim was initiated. These calendar quarters are January 1-March 31, April 1-June 30, July 1-September 30, October 1-December 31, and October 1-December 31.

You can file a claim using an alternative base period if your earnings from the base period are not sufficient. An alternate base period refers to the four most recent calendar quarters that were completed before your claim’s start date. You must still meet the earnings requirements but this allows you to use some of your most recent wages.

How much will I be paid?

The TCI and TDI programs in Rhode Island use the same calculation. However, it is complicated. Your weekly benefit equals 4.62% of what you earned in the highest-earning quarter during your base period. It amounts to approximately 80-85% of your weekly take-home pay. If you have dependents, it could be even higher.

However, for claims that have a Benefit Year Begin date of 7/1/20 or earlier, the maximum amount of reimbursement is limited to $887 per week. This means that if you are a high-earner, you might receive a lower percentage. The minimum benefit rate is $107. 

When can my leave start? When I’m still pregnant?

TCI states that you cannot start your leave until you have given birth to a child or adopted a child. The next step is to apply for leave within 30 calendar days. You can’t start the application process until you have your new child.

TDI allows you to extend your time to get your health under control if you are pregnant and have complications that impact your ability to work. Your healthcare provider will need to document that you are temporarily disabled.

Do I need to take my leave all at once?

TCI gives you four weeks of coverage in each claim year (from the date that your claim was filed). You can, for example, take a few weeks off and then return to work temporarily. Then you can continue your time as normal.

Can I use only part of the benefit or is it all or nothing?

You can still use part of the benefit if you need to return to work after your full leave ends. You can keep the remainder of your leave in reserve for 12 months after your baby’s birth or adoption. This could be useful for another purpose like when a family member is very ill.

Can my spouse get paid paternity leave?

Yes, absolutely. The law applies to both men and women for straight and mixed-sex families. Many families choose to let one parent go on leave first and then let the other take leave after the parent returns to work. You’ll each receive four weeks if you work for the same company.

What if I adopt, foster or use a surrogate?

Rhode Island will pay a portion of your salary for you if you have a child through adoption, surrogacy, foster parenting, or pregnancy. All you need is the appropriate documentation (birth certificate or adoption papers).

Does it cover anything besides welcoming a new child?

TCI includes bonding with a child and caring for someone close to you. Grandparents and parents-in-law are also covered.

TCI does not cover you if you are ill, however, you might be able to file a claim under TDI. Temporary disability leave can be taken for up to 30 weeks, but you still get the same pay.

Do ALL companies have to provide leave or are some exempt?

You are not covered if you work for a government agency. However, some government employees are also covered. TCI is available to all Rhode Island employers. This means you’ll get four weeks of paid leave regardless of who your employer may be.

Can I combine this with FMLA or any short-term disability benefits I may be entitled to?

You must simultaneously take the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if you’re eligible. This law allows for up to 12 weeks unpaid leave. Let’s say that you take four weeks paid leave under Rhode Island law. If you are eligible for federal leave, you can take an additional eight weeks unpaid under FMLA. Both programs offer job protection.

If my company pays for some portion of leave, does the state law cover the rest up to 100 percent of my salary?

You can get both! You can still receive TCI if your employer pays you even if you are on leave. The state’s share is not affected if the employer pays for part or all of the leave. An employee could theoretically be paid by her employer and receive TDI or TCI.

Is the leave pay taxed?

Yes, and no. TCI is subject to both federal and state taxes. TDI is exempted from these taxes. Your employer will withhold TDI money out of your paycheck. You can deduct this money from your income for tax purposes.

What do I have to do to get the money and by when? How am I paid?

It’s simple! First, notify your employer within 30 days of your intention to take TCI Leave. You don’t have to worry if you go into labor weeks before the due date. You must then complete the application within 30 days of the birth or adoption of your child.

Once your application has been processed and approved, it takes 48 hours for you to receive payment. The money will be directly deposited into your bank account.

Are there any monetary caps on the benefit annually or during one’s lifetime?

For a maximum $887 per week, you can take up to 4 weeks of paid maternity leaves per year. The benefit does not have a lifetime cap.

Do I still receive my benefits while I’m out?

Yes. Your employer must not only keep you employed but also continue your benefits coverage. You will still have to contribute to your healthcare coverage if you are required to. You are out of luck for any other state benefits such as unemployment or workers’ compensation. While you are collecting TDI, you can’t get any other state benefits.

When does/did it go into effect? If I’ve already given birth, am I entitled to any of it?

Since 2014, the law has been in force. You can still collect TCI/TDI if your baby is born within the last 30 days and you haven’t filed your claim yet.

How is this paid for?

Payroll deductions are used to fund TDI/TCI. Every Rhode Island resident must contribute to the plan.

Law changes the amount each fall. Currently, workers pay 1.3% of the first $74,000 earned to the fund. This means that if you earn $50,000 per year, you will pay $650 annually or $12.50 per workweek.

Where do I go if I have more questions?

Your company’s Human Resources department is the best place to begin. The employee handbook can be a great resource if you aren’t ready to inform your employer about the new addition. You may also visit the FAQ available on the state’s website.

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