Have You Been Denied A Paternity Leave?
California law allows employees to take leave to bond with their newborn babies. They realize that employees who are parents need time to bond. Ideally, only mothers were granted the chance to bond, but now the law also allows the father to have that time, known as paternity leave. However, some male employees believe that if they take time off for the purpose of bonding, they may jeopardize their employment.
If your employer has denied you time off after the birth of your newborn or has provided an unequal amount of boding based on sex, you may have a claim.
Understanding Paternity Leave
Paternity leave is the period off work given to male employees to bond with their new child. Such leave is comparable to parental leave. One may take such leave for:
- Adoption or
- Foster placement
California’s Family Rights Act (CFRA) allows employees to take such leave as long as they qualify. Thus, you may be eligible for parental leave if:
- Your employer has 50 or more employees. Your employer should provide an unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks to bond with your new baby.
- Under the New Parents Leave Act (NPLA), your employer must have between 20-49 employees. With this, you can get a leave of up to 12 weeks unpaid for bonding with your newborn.
If your employer fails to provide you with such leave and it’s clear they have the said number of employees, then you may choose to look for an employment law firm in Orange County to advice on whether you may have a claim.
Qualifications For Parental Leave
Not every employee qualifies for parental leave. And since parental leave is under CFRA, it must be proven that:
- You have worked for your employer for at least a year (12 months).
- The hours worked must be approximately 1250 hours in the year immediately preceding your leave
- Your work location is within 75 miles radius, and your employer has at least 50 employees, or your employer has 20 or more employees in case of NPLA.
If you qualify for parental leave, the time off work should be 12 weeks taken within the first year of the birth of your baby. Though both male and female employees should get equal parental leave, the law requires that female employees get additional time concerning pregnancy disability. During your paternity leave, you have a right to utilize your sick pay or vacation pay, or any other time off you may have accrued.
Once you foresee the need to take paternity leave, you should give a 30 days’ notice. In some cases, it may not be practical to foresee the circumstance leading to the birth of a new baby. For instance, a mother may have an emergency C-section. In such a case, one should give notice as soon as possible.
Will My Paternity Leave Be Paid?
Not every state provides paid paternity leave. In California, an employee doesn’t receive a wage for taking up parental leave under the FMLA or CRFA. However, there are many alternatives. Your employer may pay you during such leave for any accrued sick leave or paid vacation. Your lawyer can better explain how much wages you may receive while taking the time to bond with your newborn.
In such scenarios, it’s vital to understand your employer’s employment policy concerning using your accrued paid time off as you take your paternity leave. The law protects you from losing your employment in case you take up paternity leave. Again, your employer should continue providing you with group health insurance. Meaning, your employer is obligated to continue paying the same premium you enjoyed before leave.
Despite the law on FMLA and CRFA being clear, some employers still violate the employee’s leave rights. In case your employer seems to be reluctant to offer your paternity leave, you can:
- Try to talk it over with your employer.
- If the talk is no fruitful, speak to an employment lawyer to help you file a claim
It’s not uncommon for employers to shift an employee from leave to another job. Your employer should reinstate you back to the same position you were in or a similar job with the same pay.
Employers are known to punish employees who take maternity or paternity leave and demote them. If you are legally entitled to such leave and your employer denies you such time or fires you for taking the leave, you can file a discrimination claim. If you file a successful case, you may be entitled to compensatory damages; the judge may also offer punitive damages.
An employment lawyer can help you understand your rights and tell you whether the law protects you. Your lawyer will provide more information on how FMLA or CRFA can protect your paternity leave.