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Q. One of our employees has inquired about FMLA leave following the birth of his child. He and the baby’s mother are not married. Would FMLA still apply to his situation?
A. FMLA applies to all new parents, regardless of marital status. One of the permissible reasons for leave under the FMLA is for “the birth of a child and to bond with the newborn child within one year of birth. Both mothers and fathers have the same right to take FMLA leave for the birth of a child.” So, regardless of the fact that your employee and his girlfriend are not married, he will be eligible to take leave under the FMLA for the birth and baby bonding so long as he meets the other requirements. Those requirements include having worked for your organization for at least 12 months, having worked at least 1250 hours in the last year, and having worked at a location with at least 50 employees of your organization or within 75 miles of such a location. Depending on whether he has taken any other FMLA leave recently, he may be able to take up to 12 weeks should he so choose. Finally, you should also be aware that many states have additional leave laws. You will need to ensure that you are in compliance with the law that is most generous to your employee.
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