There’s a bit of a baby boom on the LPGA Tour right now, with a half-dozen star players having recently given birth to children or about to start families of their own.
Partially in response to players procreating, the LPGA announced a new maternity leave policy in 2019 that gives players plenty of time to fully adjust to parenting life once their babies are born and ample opportunity to regain their full status once they decide to come back to competition.
What is the LPGA Tour maternity leave policy?
The LPGA Tour’s maternity leave policy allows a player who is pregnant to play as many tournaments as they wish during the season in which they’re with child (or children, perhaps). Under the old policy, a player choosing to go on maternity leave could only play 10 times in that season, but that’s been abolished to allow the player to decide how long they’re comfortable playing and traveling.
Once the player’s child (or children) is born, a player has two years to return to the LPGA Tour. When they return, they come back with the same player status as when they paused their career to give birth and become a mom. Upon a player’s return, they learn how many starts they have to retain their status. A player is given the equivalent number of events of a full-season schedule to earn enough money to retain status or potentially improve upon it. The equivalent number of events is not how many starts a player has to keep status, but rather the player can compete as often as they would like up to that full-season equivalent number of tournaments to hang onto their card. This full-season equivalent can be spread out over multiple seasons, allowing a player to return on their timetable.
The LPGA maternity leave policy affords players a reasonable amount of time to become a mom, bond with her child and be a real parent before a player can choose to resume their career with a large number of starts to keep or improve their status. It’s not only a win for star players but also the rank-and-file player who may have once worried having a child earlier in their careers would jeopardize their chance of maintaining their professional status.