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Worker News

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Weekly (5/4/20)

Topic of the Week  Parental Leave

  • What is the difference between pregnancy leave and parental leave?
  • Can men take pregnancy leave?
  • I was pregnant, but am no longer pregnant, and need time off to recover. Am I covered by the law?
What is the difference between pregnancy leave and parental leave?

There are two types of leave which are often referred to as pregnancy or maternity leave:

  • disability or medical leave, which consists of the time a woman is unable to perform work because of pregnancy, childbirth and their aftermath, and
  • Parental leave, which consists of the time after birth or adoption during which a parent (of either sex) cares for the child. When fathers take this leave it is often referred to as paternity leave.

Different legal standards apply to each kind of leave.

Can men take pregnancy leave?

As noted above, there are two types of leave which are often referred to as pregnancy or maternity leave: 1) disability or medical leave, and 2) parental leave, used for caring for a child.

While a man cannot take disability or medical leave due to pregnancy for himself, under the FMLA he can take leave to care for his spouse suffering from a disability due to pregnancy or childbirth. A man may be eligible for parental leave depending on eligibility for FMLA, other legally guaranteed leave and/or company policy.

An employer who grants parental leave to women would also be required to offer such leave to men who similarly wish to take leave for child-rearing purposes. Failure to provide such leave to men in circumstances where it is provided to women could constitute sex discrimination under Title VII, a violation of the FMLA, and/or a violation of other laws, depending on the source of employees' legal entitlement to leave.

I was pregnant, but am no longer pregnant, and need time off to recover. Am I covered by the law?

If you are temporarily physically or mentally disabled by the loss of your pregnancy through, for example, miscarriage or abortion, you would be legally covered to the extent that your employer covers other temporary physical or mental disabilities, or you are suffering from a serious health condition entitling you to medical leave under the FMLA.

Unfortunately, if other temporarily disabled workers at your company are not entitled to leave or benefits, then neither are women who are or were pregnant. Nothing in Title VII requires an employer to provide disability leave or benefits.

You also may be denied leave if you are not disabled according to your medical provider and you do not have any other form of leave, such as vacation time, that your employer will permit you to take.

Thought of the Week

"If the political leaders of the country are serious about rebooting businesses, they have to recognize that child care is an essential piece of the country’s economic infrastructure. They need to figure out how to safely reopen the schools, daycare centers and other businesses that care for the children so parents can get back to work."

–Kerry Cavanaugh | Editorial Writer

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

  1. The Rise of the All-Seeing Boss
  2. Five workplace trends will shape life after lockdown
  3. Unemployment soars to 14.7 percent in April amid coronavirus fallout
  4. 6 Ways COVID-19 Will Change The Workplace Forever
  5. Medical Conditions Can Bar Workers From Job in Pandemic: EEOC

List of the Week

from National Partnership for Women & Families

Key National and State Findings:

  • Women make up 64 percent of workers in all frontline industries – putting them at a greater risk of contracting the virus. Women represent 77 percent of health care workers, 85 percent of child care and social service workers.
Workers who are not guaranteed access to emergency paid leave and paid sick protections granted in the coronavirus response bills include:
  • 68 million workers employed by large business (more than 500 employees);
  • Up to 33.6 million U.S. workers employed by small businesses (less than 50 employees);
  • Up to 9 million of health care workers and emergency responders.


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