Are you a new parent?
Having a child is a huge change and responsibility for anyone. That is why many working people need some time off to care for their new babies. One of the rights working parents have is getting paternal leave.
Did you know that only 45% of companies in the US offer paid paternity leave? It can feel like a huge dilemma to choose between putting in the hours for your family or spending time with them. Parental leave allows you to be the parent your baby needs without the risk of not getting paid.
However, parental leave can differ from state to state within the United States. So, is it the right decision for you? Here’s everything you need to know about parental leave.
Paternal Leave Defined
Paternal leave is a parent taking leave to care for a new child. This is also referred to as bonding leave. Paternal leave in California for women combines both paternal and maternal leave.
Parental leave for women in California also covers Pregnancy Disability Leave. As a man in California, paternity leave is only paternity leave. All workers have the right to file for paternity leave.
Should My Employer Give Me Paternal Leave?
Regarding parental leave in California, there is the FMLA and CFRA. These stand for the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. These acts dictate that employers with more than 50 employees must provide paternal leave.
This also states that workers can get up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to bond with their new child. For employers with 20 to 49 employees, there is the NPLA or New Parents Leave Act.
If you have other parental concerns, there is also a family leave. Family leave can get used by employees for other family responsibilities. This includes caring for a sick family member and more.
Am I Eligible to Get Paternal Leave?
To know if you are eligible for paternal leave, you must follow either the FMLA or CFRA. This stipulates that you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months. Under this, you should have covered at least 1,250 hours of working in these two months before filing a leave.
You must also work at a place with at least 50 employees within a radius of 75 miles. The NPLA also has the same rules for eligibility, except you must have 20 or more employees within 75 miles.
You must meet all the requirements under the FMLA, CFRA, or NPLA. Each company has a different rule on how you can file for paternal leave. Make sure to ask human resources in advance about what steps to take to file for paternal leave.
Mandated Time Off for Paternal Leave
You can get time off or parental leave if you meet all the requirements. You can take up to 12 weeks of paternal leave within the child’s first year. This new child can come by means of birth, adaption, and even foster replacement.
Both new mothers and fathers have the same rights and amount of time for parental leave. It is illegal for employers to give different times off for bonding leave or paternal leave based on sex.
As women are the ones who get pregnant and give birth to a child, they can get more time off. They can file for more time off through pregnancy disability. Pregnancy disability time off covers mental or physical effects caused by being pregnant.
Pregnancy disability also covers time off for women before, during, and after childbirth. In California, pregnant employees have the right to get an extra 10 to 12 weeks off. You can get this by filing pregnancy disability along with your paternity leave.
How Do I File for Paternal Leave?
Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act protect employers too. These acts allow employers to put in rules for filing for paternity leave. This includes employers being able to ask for at least 30 days’ notice before filing leave.
This is true if the birth is foreseeable, such as during an expected birth and adoption. This also applies to foster replacement. In case the birth is not foreseeable, an employee must give a practical amount of time for notice to file a leave.
This includes emergencies such as emergency C-sections weeks in advance. During these situations, you should give notice as soon as you can.
Will I Get Paid During My Paternal Leave?
Under federal California law, employers do not need to give paid paternal leave. If you want to get paid, you can make an arrangement with your employer. Things such as your accrued paid vacation, PTO, and sick leave, can get paid off during your paternal leave.
Your employer still needs to pay for your benefits during your paternal leave. This includes group health coverage and whatever is in your contract. California is one of the few states that give parents a paid family leave program.
This means that if you work in California, you can receive partial wages from the state. California pays new parents up to 60% of the employee wage. This must get capped at a 60% partial wage of $1300 at max.
The state gives partial wages to employees for six whole weeks. Even if you are not eligible for time off, you can still receive family leaves benefits from the state. This is helpful for those who work with employers who have fewer than 20 employees.
A problem with taking paternal leave is if you are not covered under FMLA, CFRA, or NPLA. That means that you can not get job-protected leave. You will have to talk to your employer to ensure you can take a leave and still work after.
Take a Parental Leave Today
Now you know how to get parental leave and if it’s the right move for you and your family. No parent should ever be away from their child for too long, especially during that crucial development stage.
Want to know more about how you can file for parental leave? Filing for leave as a new parent can be tricky; luckily, we have these other helpful guides to help you out. Check out our other blog posts to learn more!
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