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California Employment Lawyers > Blog > Employment > Paternity Leave: Yes, Dads Do Have Rights Too

Paternity Leave: Yes, Dads Do Have Rights Too


If you are a new mother, you probably already know that there are a number of laws that allow you time off from work to recover, and to take care of, and bond with your newborn. But what about dads? Do dads get the same rights as moms do?

Who Has to Comply?

So long as your employer has at least 5 employees, and you have been with your employer for a year before the time that you need the leave, and so long as you have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours at your job in the 12 months before requesting the leave, then you, as a dad, do get certain rights to leave from work, to care for, help care for, and to bond with your newborn.

Who Gets Leave?

You do not have to be married to the mother to get the rights, and in fact, you don’t even have to be a biological dad; dads of adopted children and even dads who are fostering children, also have rights to paternity leave.

The law allows dads to take up to three months of paternity leave. Note that although both California and federal law provide this time, you cannot add both federal and state leave time together.

The leave doesn’t have to be to bond with a child either—it can also be if you need to care for the mother, in the event mom has medical after effects from childbirth or some other medical condition caused by the birth or pregnancy. That includes illnesses or disabilities that a pregnant mother has, even before the birth.

Getting Your Leave

You are required to tell your employer of the leave, within 30 days, but the law does say that your employer can require you to follow its normal policies for notice of leave, so make sure that you follow them.

In some cases, your leave can be paid for up to six weeks. Federal government employees are entitled to receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave.

Illegal to Deny You or Punish You

Remember that so long as you have rights to paternity leave, your employer cannot discriminate against you for requesting the leave. For example, your employer cannot fire you, fail to promote you, or otherwise take any action against you, for exercising your rights to paternity leave. And, of course, your employer must have your job waiting for you, at the end of your paternity leave.

Some employers may try to “pressure” you to return early, or not to take your paternity leave at all. Or, they may have you return to a job that pays less, or which is less desirable, than the job or position that you had when you left. This is illegal, and if it happens, you should see a California employment attorney.

Question about your rights at work, or whether your employer is treating you legally and fairly? Contact the San Jose employment lawyers at the Costanzo Law Firm today for help.




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