When New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took paternity leave this week, some sports fans criticized him on talk radio, because it meant that he would miss out on the first two games of the season.
While some weren't supportive about Murphy's decision, the Mets player ultimately felt that being there for his wife and new son was the best decision for his family, reports ESPN.
So if you're a new dad like Murphy, what do you need to know about paternity leave?
Do All Dads Get Paternity Leave?
For Murphy, the collective bargaining agreement between the MLB and the players' association allows for up to a three-day absence after being placed on paternity leave, ESPN states. So Murphy was well within his rights to take three days off for paternity leave.
As for the rest of you new dads out there, here's what you need to know about paternity leave and the law:
- A federal law, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allows most employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a variety of family-related reasons, which can include becoming a new parent. However, the FMLA doesn't apply to all employers.
- In addition, some state laws provide for paid paternity leave. For example, in California, new dads can get 55 percent of weekly wages for up to six weeks to bond with their baby.
The surefire way to know if dads get paternity leave is to check your employment contract or ask your company's HR department. Some companies offer either paid or unpaid leave as a matter of policy -- like Facebook, which offers both moms and dads four months of paid time off.
How Is Maternity Leave Different?
Perhaps it's because women bear most of the burden when it comes to a new baby, some employers only offer paid maternity leave and not paternity leave. For example, Ford gives eight weeks of paid maternity leave to new moms, but not to dads. Under the law, this is allowed.
It's illegal, however, for employers to fire a woman or deny her a job promotion for getting pregnant and asking for maternity leave; that can be considered gender discrimination because only women can become pregnant. On the other hand, for paternity leave, if the company you work for isn't covered by the FMLA, then it may not be considered discrimination to fire a new dad who takes unauthorized time off.
Daniel Murphy, of course, isn't the only MLB player taking time off for his family: Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins also went on paternity leave this week, according to ESPN.
- Mets Player Daniel Murphy Criticized On-Air for Taking Three-Day Paternity Leave (People)
- Paternity Leave Policies: An Employer's Checklist (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Like Yahoo, Should You Extend Maternity Leave? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Michael Jordan Wants Paternity Suit Dismissed (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)