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The importance of paternity leave - fathersday_c.jpg

The importance of paternity leave

Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate those soon-to-be dads and to talk about the laws regarding parental leave.

You’ve probably heard a lot about maternity leave, but paternity leave is where a father takes time off work at the birth or adoption of a child and is becoming more commonplace in the United States.  

We are accustomed to the idea of maternity leave that we rarely address this situation, but it needs to be recognized considering that some companies are starting to offer this time to new dads so they can spend time with their newborns. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg declared he would be taking two months of paternity leave after the birth of his first child.

Paternity leave is different in every city; you’ll want to check your local law—or ask a lawyer in your area.

According to The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it allows “Employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.”  As of today, some companies are offering new dads paid time off ranging from a few days to a few weeks, while San Francisco became the first city in the United States to approve six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents — including same-sex couples, who either bear or adopt a child.

California and New Jersey have passed paid family leave laws, while other  states are discussing similar laws  that would broaden family leave to include both parents. Different studies have shown that new dads are more likely to stay in their current jobs if this benefit is included.

To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must work for a covered employer and:

Have worked for that employer for at least 12 months; and

Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave; and, work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed at the location or within 75 miles of the location.

If you’re planning your paternity leave, you should consider:

-Start the conversation with your boss, let him know about your situation and work on a plan together.

-Contact your human resources department, ask if the company offers paid parental leave If so, what’s the amount of time? What are the requirements?

Ask a lawyer about the process in your state.

In case you are not eligible for paternity leave under the FMLA, you may have other  options:

-Paid sick time or medical leave

-Paid vacation time

-Unpaid paternity leave covered by state family leave laws

-Paternity leave benefits offered by your union

-Other paid or unpaid paternity leave options provided by your employer.

Lastly, make sure you are covered with all the legal documents you need, and remember to keep them updated.

Happy Fathers Day, from all of us at Rocket Lawyer! 


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