Family leave policies could reflect sex discrimination

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2018 | Employee Rights |

One or the rights employees who have just become parents have is maternity leave, under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Parents of newborns get 12 weeks of unpaid family leave and many states have begun supplementing that with paid family leave that uses a state payroll tax pool. Additionally, companies have begun implementing family-leave policies that cross state borders and benefit families across the board.

General Mills employees, including those in Minnesota, will be able to spend more time bonding with their babies or get more time to take care of aging parents, starting January 1. Beginning next year, all new parents will get 12 weeks paid time off-new birth moms can get another six to eight weeks for their physical recovery. This could bump up paid parental leave to between 18 and 20 weeks-at full pay. This represents a huge change from the current parental leave policy, which is at six weeks paid time off. Fathers and adoptive parents get two weeks paid off. Additionally, caregivers would get two weeks off to deal with an immediate family member’s illness, at full pay. Benefits also improve short-term disability and have expanded bereavement leave as well.

It may come as a surprise for many employers to hear that as of 2017, only 16 percent of American civilian workers had access to paid family leave. 82 percent of people believe that women should have paid time off after becoming mothers, whereas 69 percent believe fathers should as well. According to the company, when companies discriminate between fathers and mothers as primary or secondary parents, they may be opening themselves up to lawsuits based on sex discrimination. In reality, improving family leave policies keeps a company competitive and allows it to retain its human resources.

Employees often do not what their family leave policies are and without this knowledge, they end up not availing something they have a right to. A lawyer can help them understand their employee rights, including what happens if they are violated, resulting in discrimination.