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How long is Maternity Leave in Mexico?

May 4, 2023

Maternity leave gives expectant and new mothers the time they need to prepare for and recover from childbirth, as well as the opportunity to bond with their children and transition into their new roles as moms. Therefore, businesses with a robust maternity leave policy can position themselves as inclusive employers and attract top talent. 

If you’re a global company hiring employees in Mexico, you’ll need to be aware of the statutory requirements and eligibility criteria around maternity leave, so you can offer your employees the parental leave they’re entitled to in compliance with local labor laws. 

This article will cover all you need to know about maternity leave entitlements for mothers in Mexico. Read more about employment benefits in Mexico here.

Overview of Maternity Leave Laws in Mexico

The Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) is the regulatory body responsible for maternity and paternity leave in Mexico. Maternity leave is recognized as a fundamental right under Mexico’s federal labor laws, which aim to protect the rights of working women, guarantee their income, and support their physical and emotional well-being during this significant life event.

Mexico’s maternity leave laws ensure that new mothers receive financial compensation and guarantee job protection, thus preventing unfair dismissal or demotion based on pregnancy, childbirth, or maternity leave.

Maternity Leave Duration in Mexico

Mexico’s legal framework regarding maternity leave guarantees a minimum of 12 weeks of maternity leave (84 calendar days) for pregnant employees, divided into six weeks before the due date and six weeks after the birth of a child. 

The employee may opt to change the distribution of her paid maternity leave, moving up to four weeks of her prenatal leave to postnatal leave. However, she cannot reduce her leave to less than the 84-day statutory period. 

If the child is born with a disability, is premature, or has any other complications, maternity leave can be extended up to eight weeks after birth as long as the mother provides a medical certificate. 

It’s also important to note that some states have their own rules around maternity leave duration, so be careful to check the minimum requirements of the state where your employee lives.

Salary Eligibility under Mexico’s Maternity Laws

One significant aspect of Mexico’s maternity leave laws is the requirement that employees on maternity leave receive their regular salary, i.e., 100% of their usual pay, as long as they have made social security contributions for at least 30 weeks out of the past year. 

This provision ensures that women do not face financial hardship during their leave period and can focus on the well-being and care of their newborns. If the employee’s maternity leave is extended, she will receive 50% pay for the duration of the extension. 

To be eligible to receive maternity pay, the employee must request a certificate of pregnancy from the IMSS or a private doctor. If she chooses to get her certificate from a private doctor, she must obtain it during the 34th week of pregnancy. Additionally, she must not perform any kind of work during her maternity leave.

If the employee meets the entitlement requirements and is registered with the IMSS, the institute will pay 100% of her salary. If she isn’t registered with IMSS, her employer is responsible for paying the employee’s regular salary during the maternity leave period.

The specific details and payment calculations are determined by the IMSS regulations on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, the IMSS may pay 60% or 70% of maternity pay while the employer contributes the remaining amount. Maternity leave payments are included in the calculation of old age and pension benefits. 

Employees should consult their employment contract or contact the IMSS to understand the specific payment coverage they are entitled to during maternity leave.

Starting Maternity Leave in Mexico

According to Mexico’s maternity leave laws, the standard practice is for maternity leave to commence six weeks before the expected due date. This pre-birth period allows pregnant employees to attend prenatal care appointments, rest, and prepare for childbirth and the arrival of their newborn.

Additionally, starting maternity leave six weeks before the due date ensures that women have enough time to address any health-related concerns and make the necessary arrangements for their absence from work.

While maternity leave must last the full 12 weeks, there is some flexibility around when employees can start and end their maternity leave. 

  • Private sector employees may transfer up to four weeks from their prenatal leave to their postnatal leave allowance.
  • Public sector employees must take maternity leave at least four weeks before the birth. 
  • Leave may be extended for the amount of time necessary for the employee to recover if she is unable to work due to complications with the pregnancy or birth. 

Pregnant employees must communicate their intended maternity leave start date to their employer in advance, providing the necessary documentation, such as medical certificates and the expected due date.

Managing Maternity Leave in Mexico 

As a global employer, it’s essential to have an in-depth understanding of maternity leave rights in each country of operation to ensure compliance with local regulations. 

If you’re hiring employees in multiple countries, you might want to consider partnering with an employer of record (EOR) like Remofirst. We can help you stay compliant with parental leave laws in over 150 countries — including Mexico. 

For more information on how Remofirst can help you take care of your employees in Mexico, check out our Mexico country guide.