The birth of a child is a beautiful and stressful time. Because of the recovery time necessary after pregnancy, employers expect that a woman will remain on maternity leave for a time and plan ahead for that time. They may offer a reasonable amount of time for the woman to heal, care for, and bond with her new baby. Frequently, however, this same courtesy is not extended to new fathers, and in New York state, this is illegal for a couple of reasons.
Paid Family Leave
Effective January 1, 2018, Paid Family Leave is available for most employees working in New York. It provides job-protected paid time off so you can:
- Bond with your new child,
- Care for a sick relative, or
- Help out when a family member is deployed for active military service
According to the NY.gov website, “During 2018, you can take up to eight weeks of Paid Family Leave and receive 50% of your average weekly wage (AWW), capped at 50% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). Your AWW is the average of your last eight weeks of pay prior to starting Paid Family Leave. The SAWW is updated annually.”
Be aware that over the next several years, the percentage of weekly compensation and the number of weeks of leave will increase. The plan is to receive 55% with 10 weeks in 2019, 60% with 10 weeks in 2020, and 67% with 12 weeks in 2021.
Gender discrimination is illegal, whether you’re male or female. In regards to taking family leave, it is illegal for your employer to:
Offer a man less time off than a woman,
- Urge you to only take a portion of your leave,
- Make snide comments upon your return about taking care of your family,
- Reduce your work as a punishment for taking leave, and
- Terminate you for taking leave.
If you check your employee handbook at work, you may find that there are some inequities in leave. Make sure to talk with human resources well before you need to take time off to ensure that you get the leave you are entitled to. However, if they don’t grant you the leave, or if any of the other situations listed above occur, you need to speak with a lawyer.
Get a Lawyer
If you are being discriminated against at work, you need a qualified civil rights law firm who regularly fights discrimination in the workplace like the Crumiller team. You don’t have to tolerate gender discrimination or illegal practices of your employer. Instead, contact Susan and find out how she can help you get the family leave that’s legally yours.