Is paid ‘paternity leave’ required?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. I run a small company with fewer than 50 employees.  I was recently approached by a male employee requesting “paternity leave.”  Must I provide him paid or unpaid leave upon the birth of his newborn child?

A. When a New Jersey employer is dealing with an employee’s request for leave due to the birth of a child, the employer must consider the federal FMLA, the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) and New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance Act.

Both the FMLA and the NJFLA provide for 12 weeks of leave. However, because you employ fewer than 50 people, you are not covered by either the FMLA or the NJFLA.

Even so, your employee may be entitled to paid leave through the Family Leave Insurance Act. The Family Leave Insurance Act is a worker-funded insurance program that allows all New Jersey workers to take up to six weeks off to care for a newborn.

You may require your employee to take up to two weeks of available sick or vacation pay, and the employee requesting the leave must provide you with as much as 30 days’ advance notice.

Also, as a small business, you do not have to hold the employee’s position open but may find a permanent replacement.

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