FMLA Paternity Leave

Research out of Ball State University finds that fathers who take time off when their children are born are more likely to stay involved in parenting and equitably divide household chores for the long term. Paternity leave not only benefits the relationships between fathers and their children, but also the relationship between parents for years to come.

Despite the benefits of paid parental leave for both mothers AND fathers, the expansion of paternity leave programs in the U.S. are slow.  While most men take time off after the birth of a child, it is typically no more than a few days on average.

There is, of course, the Family and Medical Leave Act FMLA which guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. But, few employees meet the eligibility requirements of working 1250 hours (roughly 8 months of full time employment) during the 12 months preceding the leave, in an organization of at least 50 people, working within a 75 mile radius. For families looking for paid leave, employers offering it are few and far between. Only 16 percent of private sector employees offer some form of paid family leave and most of those companies are concentrated on the coasts.

Even dads with access to unpaid or paid paternity leave are somewhat hesitant to take it. Because attitudes are still evolving, many feel that taking too much time off could hurt their perceived commitment to the job and don’t want to risk it. But certainly there are a growing number of dads demanding equal treatment when it comes to helping out when baby comes home. Just recently, in a case where a dad was refused the 16 weeks of parental leave because it was “only offered to primary caregivers”, employer JP Morgan Chase & Co agreed to pay $5 million to settle the discrimination case.

Denied Family and Medical Leave or Experienced Retaliation?

Contact Our Experienced FMLA Employment Law Attorneys For Help

Given the research regarding the benefit of having dads on board following the birth of a child, hopefully more Iowa employers will encourage dads to take paternity leave.  If you have been wrongly denied FMLA leave or experienced retaliation after taking family or medical leave, contact the Iowa employment law attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for help515.989.8529.