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Baby Bonding Request During Christmas

An employee is on Leave due to the birth of his child and has requested 4 weeks when the child is born and has also requested two weeks (12/20-01/02) during Christmas. Can an employer deny the time during Christmas?

The federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave for the birth or placement of a son or daughter and to bond with a newborn or newly placed son or daughter. Both mothers and fathers have the same right to take FMLA leave for the birth of a child.

Birth and bonding leave must be taken as a continuous block of leave unless the employer agrees to allow intermittent leave. The request for an eligible employee to take continuous leave for the birth of his child and to bond with his child cannot be denied. However, there is no requirement for an employer to allow the employee intermittent leave for baby bonding, even within the first year of the child’s life.

Let’s say the employee’s child is born in late September. The employee is eligible to take the 4 weeks as requested for the birth of his child. Once the employee returns to work, it is then up to the employer to either deny or allow for intermittent leave for baby bonding. Now, the employer must be consistent in applying its practice of either denying or allowing such intermittent leave with all employees. So, if the employer has consistently denied intermittent leave requests for baby bonding or there is no past practice, the employer can then deny this employee’s request for intermittent leave.

It’s important to mention that a second request for leave to care for a newborn within a year of the child’s birth must be granted if the child qualifies as having a serious health condition. Even if such leave is intermittent, it’s not considered baby bonding and must be reviewed as a separate qualifying event.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 at 8:25 pm and is filed under
Attendance Management, Benefits, Labor Laws.
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