Although you are not guaranteed to receive paid paternity leave like new fathers in some other countries around the world receive, American fathers have as much of a right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a baby as new mothers have, provided they meet the longevity and full-time status requirements outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
FMLA sets the bare minimum of parental leave protections for fathers and mothers in the United States. If your company offers paid parental leave, you have the right to take this leave and receive the same compensation that other employees at your company receive for the time off. If the women at your company receive longer parental leave than the men, you could have grounds for a sex discrimination claim. If you are not entitled to take paid leave, you are still entitled to unpaid leave under FMLA. Denial of this right is grounds for an FMLA violation claim.
How Long Can I Take Off for Paternity Leave?
Although parental leave to adjust to life with a new baby and bond with the child must be granted equally to male and female employees, it can be legal to grant women longer leave time if part of the leave is considered to be disability leave due to pregnancy complications. Get your company’s parental leave policy in writing so you know your rights as an employee of your company. If you choose to file a discrimination claim after you are denied paid parental leave, this is an important piece of information to use to support your claim.
Your Rights Under FMLA
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, qualifying employees of employers covered by the act may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for him- or herself or an immediate family member who is suffering from a serious illness during each 12 month period.
Covered employers are:
- All government agencies at the local, state, and federal level; and
- Private sector companies that employ at least 50 employees for 20 or more workweeks during the current or preceding calendar year.
To qualify for FMLA leave, an employee must meet the following criteria:
- He or she must have been with the employer for at least 12 months;
- During that 12 month period, the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours prior to taking his or her FMLA leave; and
- He or she must work at an employer’s location with at least 50 employees or within 75 miles of a location with 50 or more employees.
Work with an Experienced New York Employment Lawyer
If you were denied the paternity leave you had the right to take after your child was born, consider working with an experienced employment lawyer to pursue a workplace discrimination claim. Contact Ricotta & Marks, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation in our office.