The Family and Medical Leave Act is in place to assist families with maintaining their employment while taking care of themselves or their families. However, many people do not take advantage of the available benefits.
In many cases, this could be due to a lack of knowledge about their rights. In particular for fathers or fathers-to-be, this law can be very beneficial.
There are a few different types of qualifying events that would allow fathers to exercise their rights under this act, including:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Illness of a child
- Pregnancy or illness of a spouse
Any one of these qualifiers would allow a father to take time off with protection against discrimination from employers.
Along with the employee having a qualifying event, there are certain requirements to determine if a company is bound to the stipulations of the FMLA. This act applies to various organizations, such as:
- Local, state and federal agencies
- Public schools
- Private employers with 50 or more employees
In addition, the employee must have been employed for at least 12 months prior to the leave and have worked at least 1,250 hours within the last 12 months.
Employees should follow the employer’s set leave protocol and provide any necessary supporting documentation to aid the company in determining if these rules apply. For a new child, fathers must take their leave within a year of the birth of the child or the child’s placement within the home. It is important to note that fathers may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off. During that time, their health insurance stays intact. In some cases, they may be able to extend the time with any paid leave they have available. However, in some instances, the two will occur simultaneously.
Being familiar with the specific leave terms of the employer can be quite helpful in determining the best course of action. It may also be beneficial to review the act and the other employment laws in full.