Litigation Shifts Policies on Paid Leave for Dads
Fathers are—more and more—insisting that they have a right to paid parental leave and demanding it, pointing out that it is arguably discriminatory to offer a certain amount of paid leave to biological mothers but not fathers. By challenging these distinctions legally with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more and more companies are switching to providing an equal amount of paid leave to all new parents, regardless of gender. As these policies shift, fathers are working less and spending more time with their children.
Dealing with Employment Retaliation & Overt Hostility
For some, the parental discrimination issue isn’t a matter of not being offered leave, but rather, taking what is allotted under the Family and Medical Leave Act and then being punished for it by employers. And it isn’t just limited to private employers: some federal agencies have also been accused of engaging in sex discrimination in denying child care leave to fathers while granting it to mothers, whereby fathers complained of facing retaliation in response for taking time off to care for family members in compliance with the law.
Others have reported common patterns of companies with legally defensible official policies still discouraging fathers from adjusting their schedules in order to entertain parental responsibilities. Even if policies technically allowed for both men and women to take leave and/or face potential career repercussions for adjusting their schedules, men’s decisions were obviously more closely scrutinized in these workplaces.
Is It About Discriminating Against Men?
According to experts, this is less about competition between male employees and more about reinforcing the stigma of a separation of work and family between men and women. By continuing to add a stigma to men who take parental leave, the stereotype of women having to take care of the family is more heavily reinforced.
Still, paid leave is rarely offered for men or women, to this day, contributing to overall inequality. However, those that do offer paid leave must be careful to ensure that that leave is in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; any difference between the leave provided for women versus men must be justified by medical necessity/related to recovering from pregnancy.
Florida law defines “parental leave” as leave for the father or mother of a child who is born to or adopted by that parent. The state cannot terminate any employee or an employee’s spouse due to pregnancy or refuse to grant parental or family medical leave without pay for up to six months.
Contact Us to Help You with Your Parental Rights
If you have concerns about paternity or parental rights and you live in the Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale area, contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to help provide legal advice and guidance in your and your family’s interests. We are here to help you and your family.