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What Every Father Should Know About Paternity Leave

newborn hand in father's hand

Photo by muha04.

As many people know, expecting and new mothers are generally granted some form of paid maternity leave to spend time at home with the newborn baby. In fact, most states require employers to give new mothers a regulated amount of paid maternity leave. Social studies have shown that parents spending more time washing, changing and playing with the baby as a newborn will have a stronger bond and continue to do these things after the period of paid leave at a higher rate than parents who do not take any leave. It makes logical sense to our rational brains, spending more time with the baby as an infant must be a positive thing for a loving parent. This study is true for both parents, both the mother and the father, though paternity leave is not discussed as much as may not be required by the man’s employer.

Some progressive companies offer new fathers paid leave, and some states have recently passed paid leave laws, so the best way to find out if you or your husband are eligible for paternity leave is to contact the Human Resources professional at your company.

Hundreds of employers, including federal, state, public, and education agencies are required by the Employers:

  • public agencies, including State, local and Federal employers, and local education agencies (schools); and,
  • private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year – including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

Employee Eligibility:

  • 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.

Any new parent should look into their paternity leave options, even through adoption or the foster program. Federal guidelines require a 30 day notice my an employee to their employer about the upcoming leave. It is generally wise to consider discussing your leave with your company at the same time you announce your pregnancy—as that leaves months to figure out the exact details of your leave comfortably.

What if your employer denies your paternity leave?

If you are sure you and your company qualify by the FMLA guidelines, or your state/local law, and you’ve given the required notice, it is important to remind your employer of these laws. If necessary you can even hire an attorney to remind your employers even better about what the laws dictate.

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