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Paternity Leave For Men–Rights Of Fathers In The Workplace

Paternity Leave For Men–Rights Of Fathers In The Workplace

While fathers do not need time to physically recover from childbirth as mothers do, the first few months of a child’s life are critical for bonding with both parents. Compared to other developed nations, the United States has very few legal protections for paternity leave for men or maternity leave for women. However, there is some federal legislation on the matter, and some states offer better legal protections than others. If you have questions about parental leave, you can learn more by speaking with the experienced Georgia employment lawyers of Hall & Lampros, LLP. Contact us today at 404-876-8100.

What Is the Law on Paternity Leave in the United States?

Research shows that the first few months of a child’s life are a crucial time for development. Unfortunately, the United States is not one of the 92 countries that currently mandate parental leave as part of national law. This means that in many cases employers are left to set their own policies regarding whether or not they will offer their employees paid paternity leave. Many employers do so, but the average allotted paternal leave is just one week in the United States compared to over 6 weeks in the European Union.

According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), paid parental leave is vitally important for both mothers and fathers. The DOL explains that paid paternity leave can promote bonding between the father and children, improve outcomes for the child, and improve gender equity both at home and in the workplace. However, many workers in the United States have no access to paid parental leave, regardless of gender. In addition, a 2012 study conducted by Abt Associates on behalf of the DOL found that fewer employers offer paid parental leave for men compared to women. Just three states–New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California–provide equal paid family leave for both mothers and fathers.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the only federal law regarding paternity leave in the United States. According to the FMLA, covered employers must provide at least 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave to their employees. Although employers may choose to offer paid leave instead, there is no federal requirement to pay employees who are out of the office while taking care of a newborn.

Employees That Qualify For FMLA Parental Leave

The FMLA only applies to certain types of employees. Fathers who wish to take parental leave under the FMLA must work in one of the following types of workplaces:

  • A company with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius
  • A public government agency
  • A public primary or secondary school
  • A private primary or secondary school

Qualifying employees also need to have been at their current workplace for at least 12 months and must have worked at least 1,250 hours over those 12 months.

When Can Parents Take Parental Leave Under the FMLA?

The FMLA offers parental leave under four types of family situations:

  • The birth of a child (within one year of the birth)
  • Adoption (within one year of the child being placed in the home)
  • Taking in a foster child (within one year of placement)
  • Caring for a child or spouse who has a serious health condition

You can learn more about your eligibility for FMLA paternity leave for men by contacting Hall & Lampros, LLP.

Georgia State Law on Paternity Leave

While the only national standards for parental leave are those established by the FMLA, many states do have their own laws regarding parental leave. In Georgia, House Bill 146 guarantees three weeks of paid parental leave to all government employees, which includes all employees of the state of Georgia and those who work for local boards of education.

This state-level parental leave is available following the birth of a child, when caring for a newly adopted child, or when caring for a foster child within one year of placement. Government employees qualify if they are working full-time, part-time, or temporarily; if they have been employed for at least six straight months; and if they have worked for at least 700 hours over that six-month period.

Learn More From Our Georgia Employment Lawyers

If you live and work in Georgia and have recently had a child, you may have questions regarding family leave. If you are an eligible employee under the FMLA, you are entitled to at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave. In addition, government employees in Georgia are entitled to three weeks of paid parental leave. These laws apply to both mothers and fathers. If you believe that your employer has wrongfully denied you family leave under either the FMLA or Georgia state law, you have legal rights. At Hall & Lampros, LLP, our team of dedicated Georgia employment attorneys helps our clients stand up for their legal rights. Contact us today at 404-876-8100 to learn more about paternity leave for men or any other employment concerns you may have.

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