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Men Still Aren’t Receiving Standard Paternity Leave in the US

As a new father, U.S. law has provision for you to take paternity leave from work. Despite this legislation, male employees often face resistance or hostility when needing time off. Evidence suggests that as a new father you are likely to be vulnerable to discrimination from your employers. If you believe that you have already been a victim of this, then you may benefit from the services of a gender discrimination attorney in LA.

paternity leave

All fathers deserve paid time off to assist with child-rearing. Source: Pixabay

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows new parents up to 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave, following which they are entitled to keep their employment. To be eligible, you must have been in the job for at least 12 months and the company must employ at least 50 people within 75 miles. It is estimated that up to 40% of employees are not entitled to it.

As the FMLA does not require that employees are paid during their absence and many new fathers, particularly if they are the major earners in the household, simply cannot afford to take the time off.

To address this issue, California maintains a program that provides paid leave for both male and female employees. This is funded through the state disability insurance program.

Despite some initial resistance to such schemes from business, citing potential operational problems, it is evident that there has been little detrimental impact. In fact, the reverse appears to be true as in many cases there has been a positive effect on the business. It has become clear to many companies, that by offering progressive working conditions they can attract top quality staff. As a result increasing numbers of businesses are funding their own paid leave schemes.

Even so, when economics isn’t the issue and male employees do take the time off to care for their newborn, often when they return to work they find themselves the victim of ridicule or discrimination. If this sounds familiar perhaps you should seek advice from a gender discrimination attorney in LA

It is suggested that men who prioritize work over family and take less time away from the job are more likely to become management and policy makers, who in turn will tend to reinforce the culture of opposition to male paternity leave.

In terms of hiring and firing, the long established Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes it illegal to fire a pregnant woman. This has recently been extended under the auspices of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) which has stated that a company cannot refuse to hire a woman purely on the grounds that she is pregnant or might become so. While this additional protection applies to female employees, it is unclear how it could extend to their male partners if at all, potentially leaving the FMLA as the only form of redress.

As a male employee, if you believe that you have suffered harassment or discrimination in your California workplace as a result of needing paternity leave, then a gender discrimination attorney in LA is available to provide help and advice. Please contact us at Jackson & Associates.

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