When you become a father, your life will change unrecognizably. It is likely that you will want to make your role as a father a priority after the birth of your child or at the start of the adoption transition, and you likely have every right to do this. Many fathers do not realize that they have the legal right to unpaid leave after the birth of their child, and worry that their careers might be at stake.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is in place to protect families and support them in making child care and medical decisions without fear of employer retaliation. As a father, it is important that you take the time to understand your rights so that you can feel empowered to embrace your role as a new father.
What are fathers' rights under the FMLA?
All eligible FMLA employees have the legal right to 12 weeks of job protected unpaid leave under certain circumstances. These circumstances include times when the employee is expanding his or her family, for example in the event of the birth of a child or the fostering or adoption of a child. It is illegal for a father to be fired because of the fact that he wants to take unpaid leave for a reason such as this.
Who is eligible under the FMLA?
Most employees are protected under the FMLA, but in order to be protected, they need to be employed by a covered employer, and they must have worked for the employer for a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months before the unpaid leave.
If you are concerned about your rights as a working father, it is important to take action to understand what FMLA benefits you are entitled to.