Inflexible Flexibility: What Happens When Dad Gets on the Mommy Track

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is due with our first in about four months, so I though now would be a good time to talk to my employer about taking time off under the Family Leave Act and possibly making some more permanent changes to my schedule so I can be a more hands-on dad. I mentioned this to a friend who used to work with me, and he warned me to be very careful. He said that after he took paternity leave, he was passed over for a promotion and got a smaller bonus. He eventually quit. I find that hard to believe, but he insists it’s true. Are companies really allowed to do that?

A: Theoretically, no. Under the Federal version of Family and Medical Leave Act, your job is protected and your employer isn’t allowed to penalize you in any way. (Some states have their own Family Leave programs and the rules may be different, so I encourage you to look into both very carefully.) Unfortunately, there’s sometimes a big disconnect between what companies are allowed to do what they actually do. And even if the company itself does everything exactly by the book, individuals within the company—meaning your managers and coworkers—can always find a way to skirt the law.
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Family Leave Act, Almost All Grown Up…

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act (usually referred to as the Family Leave Act) was born.  And what’s almost as hard to believe is that it’s incredibly underused. According to a new report, only 16% of eligible workers actually took leave to care for a sick relative or to care for a new child. [Read more...]

Top States for New Dads in the Workforce

A new state-by-state analysis released for Father’s Day shows how little the nation supports and protects employed fathers when a new child arrives. The special report, Dads Expect Better: Top States for New Dads, includes an analysis of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and workplace rights for new fathers in the United States. It finds that only 14 states and the District of Columbia are doing anything at all to help new dads who work in the private sector.

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