Paternity Leave in Texas

It is common knowledge that expecting mothers will file for maternity leave in order to prepare and care for a newborn child. However, many might not realize that the same rights are afforded to expecting fathers. Let’s discuss the rights of expecting fathers.

An Expecting Father’s Rights

Texas laws lend protection to expecting fathers. Section 21.106 of the Texas Labor Code (Texas’s Commission on Human Rights Act) states, “A provision in this chapter referring to discrimination because of sex or on the basis of sex includes discrimination because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

Federal Laws also protect soon-to-be fathers in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The Act strictly prohibits any discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination.

 A Man’s Rights After the Birth of a Child– Paternity Leave

As mentioned above, Texas laws lend protection to expecting parents prior to the birth of a child. However, Texas does not lend the same protections to new parents after the birth of the child. Instead, these protections are outlined in federal law.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act is applicable to Texas residents if both the company and the parent is covered by the law. This Act allows covered employees to take up to 12 weeks of in a 12-month period for certain health-related needs outlined in the law.

If the father works for a covered employer, as outlined in the Act, by working for the employer at least 12 months before the leave is to commence; worked at least 1,250 hours in that period, and the employer has at least 50 employees, then that father is likely eligible to seek paternity leave as per the Act.

One should understand that this leave does not have to be over a continuous amount of time. Instead, the leave could be taken in short increments (intermittent). These short increments of time could be in the form of working part time, starting the work day at a later time, or leaving work at an earlier time than usually expected.

It is monumentally important to note that paternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act is not paid; however, some states may require this leave to be paid.  Employers must still pay for the health insurance premium as if the employee is on a regular work schedule. This leave is equally available for mothers and fathers, of both biological and adoptive parents.

When Can Parents Take the Leave?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, parents must take the leave within one year after the birth of the child; this could be altered, but only with the permission of the employer.

What if both Parents Are Employed by the Same Employer?

If both parents are married and working for the same employer, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows for both parents a combined 12-week period. The Act does not allow for a 12-week period for each parent separately.

If the parents are not married, each parent is entitled to a separate 12-week leave period.

What Happens After the Leave is Over?

When the period of the leave has come to an end, the Family and Medical Leave Act states that the employee is entitled to the exact same position that the employee was in prior to the leave.

In certain situations, that position might have been filled while the parent was on leave; if this were to happen, the parent must be reinstated to an equivalent position.

An equivalent position must be equal in compensation, benefits, and responsibilities.


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