Can My Husband Take Paternity Leave?

Paternity leave is similar to maternity leave, but there are no short-term disability options available for fathers who want to take time off for the birth of a child. According to the FMLA, fathers are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Some companies have policies in effect that pay fathers for paternity leave. If the father is a salaried employee, he may be eligible for pay continuance for a portion of the unpaid leave. Other options for pay continuance include vacation time, sick leave, and personal leave. 

How do I know if he is eligible?

The FMLA offers set guidelines for determining eligibility for paternity leave.  These guidelines will help you determine whether or not the father can take paternity leave by law. 

Fathers must have been employed for at least 12 months prior to paternity leave.

Fathers must work for a company with more than 50 employees serving within a 75-mile radius. Government employees are also covered under FMLA laws. 

Fathers must have been employed for at least 12 months prior to paternity leave. During this 12-month period, at least 1,250 hours must be worked. This accounts for about 25 hours per week for 50 weeks of the year. This is total hours, so he can work 40 hours one week and 10 hours the next and still average 25 hours per week. 

Will paid leave count toward FMLA leave?

This depends on the employer. Some employers allow men to take paid paternity leave separate from FMLA leave. In this case, total leave may be more than 12 weeks. Other companies do not allow sick time to be used for paternity leave, but these companies will often allow vacation and personal time to be used. 

Does he have to take the 12-weeks at one time?

FMLA leave allows one year to take the 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The leave can be broken up into specific days and even hours on given days, depending on the personal situation. After the first year, any unused time will be forfeited. 

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Short-term disability and paternity leave

There are currently no short-term disability companies offering coverage for paternity leave. Short-term disability requires the insured to have a medical condition that requires time missed from work. Paternity leave does not account for a medical condition. 

Fathers have rights when it comes to taking paternity leave. If your significant other seeks paternity leave and is denied such leave, it is important to contact the regional Labor Department in your state for more information and support. 

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