What do you know about paternity leave in the U.S.?

| Jun 8, 2020 | Family And Medical Leave Act |

You have a child on the way, but rather than carrying and giving birth to the baby, you have the pleasure of being a new dad. You want to take off time from work to bond with your son or daughter but are not clear on how paternity leave works. Or maybe your employer resists in giving you as much time off as you would like.

In either instance, What to Expect breaks down how paternity leave works in the U.S. Understand your rights regarding your employment during the first several months of fatherhood.


If your employer does not specifically offer paternity leave, you can fall back on the Family and Medical Leave Act. The federal legislation guarantees you 12 weeks of unpaid time off where you do not have to worry about losing your job. That said, FMLA only applies to companies with at least 50 employees who worked at least 25 hours a week for the past year. One factor that holds many fathers back from taking advantage of the act is they cannot afford to.

Paid family leave

Your employer may offer paid family leave, common for roughly 13% of U.S. employees, but only about 5% for part-time employees. As of 2004, California provides new fathers with six weeks of paid family leave. As of 2018, you can receive roughly 60 to 70% of your weekly salary while on leave. Otherwise, you may have no choice but to use sick and vacation leave to spend time with your child.

Know what rights you have as a new father wanting to bond with his child. Do not feel as though you cannot spend as much time as you would like with your baby because of social stigmas.


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