Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Paternity Leave Takes a Stand

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Paternity Leave Takes a Stand

Article excerpt

Working fathers scored a victory last year for achieving equal status in parental leave polices when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided men should be entitled to the same rights as women in the workplace who choose to take time off in order to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child.

The EEOC made history in July 2015 when it issued guidance stating that companies must provide equal bonding leave for male and female employees.

"There is a viewpoint that still exists in some workplaces that men should stay at work," said Tom Spiggle, author of "You're Pregnant? You're Fired!: Mothers, Fathers and Other Caregivers in the Workplace." In that line of thinking, he said, "If someone is going to stay at home with the children, it should be the wife."

"There have been some cases where a man has taken family medical leave to be with a newborn child and was penalized later in the workplace for taking that leave," said Mr. Spiggle, an Arlington, Va.-based lawyer who represents employees in workplace discrimination cases. "That is illegal under the Family Medical leave Act."

The issue has prompted several lawsuits in recent years brought by new fathers against their employers.

CNN and Turner Broadcasting last year settled an EEOC charge with a former CNN correspondent who claimed the company's paid parental leave policy discriminated against biological fathers. In 2013, an air traffic controller settled a complaint against the Transportation Department claiming sex discrimination when the federal agency denied him several days of child care leave that it granted to mothers in 2007.

Thanks to an effort led by councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, the city of Pittsburgh last year passed paid parental leave for city workers which allows all parents to receive six weeks of paid leave at full pay following the birth of a child, an adoption or a new foster arrangement.

Mothers, however, are eligible for an additional six weeks of short-term disability immediately after giving birth, according to Molly Byrnes, employee leaves program coordinator for the city of Pittsburgh. …

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