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Paternity Leave and Discrimination

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) establishes guidelines that require certain larger employers to provide up to 12 weeks of parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child.  Most employers affected by this law are familiar with the requirements, and understand their responsibilities to mothers with respect to maternity leave.  However, family structures and dynamics have changed in the past decades, and so have the laws protecting the rights of fathers.  Although required by law, oftentimes fathers are not provided the same level of parental leave under the FMLA as mothers are, which is both unfair and illegal.

Paternity Leave Laws

Your right as a father to time with your newborn child, or newly adopted child is protected under the FMLA, which establishes guidelines with respect to parental leave that is inclusive of both men and women.  A lesser-known portion of this law is that parental leave may be taken at any time, by either parent, within the first year of a child’s birth, or adoption.  Specifically, this law does not have a requirement that the parental leave must be taken directly following a child’s birth or adoption.  This provision of the law is extremely important for fathers, who may choose to take their leave either at the same time as the mother or after the mother returns to work, in order to delay the possibility of full-time childcare.

In addition, to add more flexibility to parental leave, the FMLA also allows intermittent parental leave.  If a parent (either mother or father) chooses to take their parental leave sporadically, and even work part-time for a limited period, they are allowed by law to do so.

Paternal Rights and Discrimination

Your paternal rights are equal to maternal rights under the law.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled a class-action lawsuit that directly addressed the unequal application of parental leave practices. The federal court ruled that providing a disparate level of parental leave benefits for fathers versus mothers directly violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

FMLA was created as an inclusive law, and the rights of fathers are represented within its provisions for parental leave.  However, even with the legal right to take leave for the birth or adoption of a new baby, many fathers feel discriminated against either overtly or subtly in the workplace.  When a father chooses to exercise his legal right to paternity leave, he may feel stigmatized or discriminated against.  Contact a family law attorney today, if you feel your paternal rights under the Family Medical Leave Act as a father were violated.

Contact an Attorney Today

Congratulations on your new child!  If you are a father, you deserve to spend time with your newly born, or newly adopted child.  If you feel that your parental rights were denied and that you have been disparately treated within the workplace regarding FMLA leave, contact the Fort Lauderdale family attorneys at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A., today at 954-467-6656 or online to schedule your free consultation.

Resource:

dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla

eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/8-30-17.cfm

https://www.joycejulian.com/challenging-a-paternity-claim/

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