Expansion of Paternity Leave

In August of 2015, Netflix and Microsoft announced changes to their paternity leave policies. Netflix announced it will provide unlimited paternity and maternity leave to its employees. The unlimited paternity and maternity leave is for the first year of the child’s life. It applies to births and adoptions.

Microsoft will offer its employees 12 weeks paid paternity leave for mothers and fathers starting in November 2015. Birth mothers will receive an additional eight weeks of maternity leave for a total of 20 weeks.

Fathers Generally Use a Combination of Sick and Vacation Time to Spend with Newborn

Maternity leave, also called pregnancy leave, is typically applies to female employees. Maternity leave is limited time off from work to take care of a newborn child. Paternity leave is also limited time from work, but fathers receive the time to care for a newborn child. Both paternity and maternity leave can be paid or unpaid time off from work. Many fathers who aren’t offered paternity leave at work often use a combination of sick and vacation time to spend with their newborn.

No Federal Policies for Fathers wanting Paternity Leave

Federal law doesn’t require private sector employers to offer paternity or maternity leave. Many companies offer maternity leave, but not paternity leave. Fathers wanting to take time away from work to care for their biological or adopted newborns may have other options. For instance, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, allows an employee to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for reasons such as the birth of a child or care for a seriously ill family. A new father wanting to use FMLA can do so in a variety of ways:

  • Parental Leave: The leave can be taken during the first year of the child’s life.
  • Intermittent Parental Leave: It can be taken sporadically and with the permission of the employer for the first year of the child’s life. For example, a new father can work part-time for a specific period. This way a new dad can take some time off immediately and leave some or a bulk of it for late.

FMLA Eligible Depends on Number of Employees and Time Worked

FMLA applies to local, state, and federal governments and private employers with more than 50 employees. The employees must work within 75 miles of the company. An employee must work at least 12 months for the employer and work at least 1,200 hours during the prior year.

An employer can’t deny a new father paid leave unless he is in the 10 percent of highest paid wage earners at the company. Another exception occurs if both parents work for the same company. The company is allowed to combine the maternity and paternity leaves. Instead of having up to 24 weeks unpaid leave, the couple has 12 weeks unpaid leave.

State FMLA May Be an Option

For new fathers who aren’t eligible for federal FMLA, the state FMLA may be helpful in getting paternity leave. Only a number of states provide paid paternity leave to new fathers. For instance, new dads in California may receive up to six weeks of paid leave.

State FMLA often differ its federal counterpart. Connecticut FMLA law only requires an employee to work 1,000 hours over a 12-month period to be eligible for unpaid leave. It allows an employee to receive 16 weeks of unpaid leave per 24 months worked. Under Minnesota FMLA law, an employee may receive up to six week leave. It does allow employers and employees to negotiate longer periods on paternity leave.

An employee should check with human resources regarding parental leave. If the company doesn’t offer parental leave, check into both the state and federal FMLA to determine which applies.

0 Responses to “Expansion of Paternity Leave”


  1. No Comments

Leave a Reply

*