Paternity leave, which allows fathers to take time off work to care for a new child, is gaining popularity as an equitable maternity leave benefit. Employers must offer both benefits, neither benefit, or a generalized parental leave program to ensure employee equality under Title VII.
If a new mother is granted more time off than what is needed for her recovery from childbirth, a father may be entitled to that additional time to maintain equal treatment if the original handbook policy isn’t correctly worded.
If your company does not offer equal time off for each parent, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends companies provide all parents a specified length for bonding time and / or child care and offer additional leave for mothers specified as physical recovery from childbirth to distinguish leave length discrepancies. These distinctions lower the risk for inequality claims.
Large companies have already experienced legal trouble with inequitable parental leave policies. Clear up your company policy to minimize your risk before it’s too late. For assistance with handbook language or compliant leave policies, register for one of our free seminars or call HR Consulting & Training at 913.345.0440.