On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys
Many parents in Chicago and across the nation are taking note of a recent lawsuit filed by a new father who works as a journalist for CNN. He is challenging the paternity leave policy at his place of employment. The lawsuit alleges that the eight week difference in the amount of paid parental leave available to men as compared to women is unfair and discriminatory.
Time-Warner, which is the parent company of CNN, currently offers its female employees ten weeks of paid maternity leave when they give birth to a child. Employees who adopt a child are also eligible for ten weeks of paid leave, regardless of their gender. Male employees of Time-Warner whose wives have recently given birth can only take two weeks of paid leave, a discrepancy that led the male CNN journalist who recently became a father to file suit against his employer.
Because employers are only legally required to offer their employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child, Time-Warner’s paid parental leave policy is more the exception rather than the rule. Currently, paid paternity leave is an even rarer benefit, with only 15% of companies offering it to their male employees. Because paternity leave is such a new employee benefit, legal experts, employers, and employees will be paying close attention to the decision that is ultimately rendered in this case.
The birth of a child represents a major change in the needs and expectations of a family. Consulting with an attorney may be a good first step for those who feel they are being denied benefits that they are legally entitled to. An attorney could present a legal rationale that leads to an equitable settlement of their client’s complaint.
Source: Huffington Post, “Taking a Stand for Paternity Leave Equity“, Scott Behson, November 17, 2013