Do a father’s prenatal visits qualify for FMLA?

Q. Does all prenatal care qualify for FMLA leave, or does the female employee need to have complications to qualify? Also, can a husband take leave for his wife’s prenatal care, such as accompanying her to an ultrasound?

A. The FMLA regulations are clear that a female employee is entitled to FMLA leave to attend routine prenatal care appointments. The regulations are less than clear concerning whether a male employee is entitled to accompany his spouse to such appointments.

However, in light of recent case law—which very broadly defines an employee’s right to leave to provide comfort to a spouse or immediate family member with a serious health condition—employers run a significant risk when denying a male employee’s request to attend a routine prenatal examination.