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Much attention is directed toward the time a new mother can take off work to bond with her child, care for the newborn, breastfeed, and more. However, what about fathers? Fathers also want time at home with their new addition to the family to bond and help out with care. How does this work when it comes to paternity leave from their employment?

The following are some brief answers to common questions regarding California paternity leave. For specific questions or concerns, reach out to a California employment attorney today. 

What Does Paternity Leave Mean?

Paternity leave” is a form of family leave, such as maternity leave. It refers to the period of time that new fathers take off of work in order to provide childcare for a new child if they meet the requirements established by state and federal laws.

The requirements for eligibility under California law include:

  • Working for an employer with at least five employees
  • Working for the company for at least one year before taking leave
  • Working at least 1,250 hours for the employer during the previous 12 months
family leave california


Who is Eligible for Paternity Leave in California?

In order to qualify for paternity leave, you must be a:

  1. New father of a biological child
  2. New father of a child from a surrogate
  3. New father of an adopted child
  4. Partner of a pregnant woman

Child Bonding

A new father qualifies to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for child bonding, including with a biological newborn, child who is newly adopted, or child recently placed in the home through the foster care system.

In addition to taking leave for child bonding, a father can take leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. For example, if an employee’s spouse is pregnant with serious complications and needs full-time care and assistance, they might be able to take leave to care for their spouse.

paternity leave


How long is paternity leave in California?

State and federal laws provide up to 12 weeks for new fathers as part of family leave. Even if a father is eligible for 12 weeks of leave under both the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), they still can only take 12 weeks of family leave.


How much do you get paid for paternity leave in California?

Some workers can qualify for up to six weeks of paid family leave, and you should discuss your qualifications for PDL with your employer or an employment attorney. Employees for the federal government receive 12 weeks of paid family leave to bond with a new child. When an employee takes paternity leave under the CFRA or FMLA, it is not paid leave.


Can employers refuse paternity leave?

If an employee qualifies for paternity leave, an employer cannot refuse it. An employer cannot terminate an employee for requesting paid family leave, and the company must leave a similar position open for when the employee returns. If an employer violates your leave rights, you can take legal action.


Speak with a California Employment Attorney Today

If you have concerns about paternity leave and believe your employer violated your rights, you should not wait to consult a California employment lawyer at Mara Law Firm. Contact us for more information.

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