Maternity and Paternity Leave Laws

Starting or expanding your family should not cost you your job, position, or promotion opportunities.

Whether you are an expectant mother or father, you are entitled to parental leave and job security after an adoption or the birth of a child.

Dan A. Atkerson has been fighting for employees’ rights in Allen, TX, for more than 38 years and he can put his experience to work for you...

Do You Need a Maternity and Paternity Leave Lawyer?

If you are an expectant parent in Texas, you may have hundreds of questions about the future, but whether you receive maternity or paternity leave should not be one of them. Federal maternity leave laws guarantee job-protected leave for eligible employees. This includes adoptive and foster parents, too. Additionally, Texas laws, as well as the policies and regulations of your company, may also apply to your situation. If your employer does not abide by these regulations, you may be able to take legal action to protect your job or collect compensation.

Smiling couple with newborn

With over 38 years of practice, Dan A. Atkerson is familiar with this practice area and knows what it takes to bring a case against your employer for violating your right to parental leave. Our goal is to help your family take the time needed to form special bonds with newborns or adopted children. We will work hard to ensure you have not been discriminated against for any valid medical condition and this includes being pregnant. Regardless of the reason, you have a right to be properly treated according to relevant state laws as well as federal regulations.

Serving the Needs of Employees

Attorney Dan A. Atkerson is dedicated to serving the needs of employees, providing individualized service to each of his clients. He will take the time to listen to your unique needs and devise the best legal strategy for your case.

What Is Maternity Leave?

When a parent has a new child, either by birth or through adoption, the employer may be required to provide that parent with leave time. Depending on the circumstances, the time granted off of work can be either paid or unpaid leave. Eligible employees who believe they have been denied their right to time off from work have the right to take action under the laws designed to provide for leave.

Leave of absence paperwork

Many of the laws surrounding maternity leave cases fall under the Family Medical Leave Act, which sets forth eligibility requirements. Keep in mind it is not only the employer that must follow the law, but an employee must also meet certain requirements, such as having worked for the company a certain length of time. Under FMLA federal regulations, all eligible parents can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave from work. This time period may begin before the birth of the child, but cannot exceed 12 weeks in total. 

Do Fathers Get Paternity Leave in Texas?

FMLA guidelines apply to fathers, adoptive parents, and foster parents as well as expectant mothers. This means that by federal law, new fathers who qualify for FMLA leave can take up to 12 weeks off from work to help care for a new child.

Men may face more pressure to take little or no paternity leave. However, just as with new mothers, it is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because you request leave. A special exception to FMLA protections may exist if you and your spouse work at the same company. In this case, your company only must guarantee the both of you a total of 12 weeks for parental leave. This means that you can both take six weeks of leave, or any combination that adds up to 12 weeks. If you are unsure whether you qualify for time off as a new parent, reach out to the team at our labor attorney's office in Allen, TX, to learn more. 


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Mr.Dan Atkerson has been extremely helpful in my case, he has kept up and informed me every step of the way and as the result I was very satisfied for the outcome. I highly recommend him and also have recommended him with other people that was seeking legal counsel. Dan is professional, reliable and knowledgeable.

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We needed an attorney that was knowledgeable in employment law and we found Dan. He was very thorough and explained everything that went on, and gave us good advice on how to proceed. I highly recommend him.

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Contact Us Today to Find out More about Maternity Leave

If you have been denied maternity leave, parental leave, suffered from pregnancy discrimination, or have other questions about your right to take time off work after childbirth or adoption, contact our office today. Dan A. Atkerson has been a practicing attorney in Texas since 1984 and opened his current practice in 2001. We are conveniently located in Allen and serve Plano, Frisco, and the entire Dallas metropolitan area.

We pride ourselves on taking the time to truly listen to your needs and give you friendly and personal service. To schedule a consultation, contact us online, or call:

(214) 383-3606

Dan A. Atkerson

Qualifying for Parental Leave

Parental leave, whether it be maternity leave or paternity leave, is designed to allow parents to form a bond with a newborn or adopted child. In addition to allowing parents to bond with their children, one purpose of the law is to give an employee the chance to make a full recovery after childbirth. The law considers pregnancy to be a serious health condition and employers have a vested interest in retaining healthy employees to ensure work is done properly and on time. Other than pregnancy, there are other conditions that must be met in order to take leave under the law.

Man holding newborn in front of computer

In order to be eligible for FMLA protection, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, during which you worked at least 1,250 hours. Additionally, your worksite must employ at least 50 people within a radius of 75 miles.

Most employers provide unpaid leave, and unpaid leave is what the FMLA envisions, but in some instances an employee may be entitled to receive at least partial pay for the time taken off work after the birth or adoption of a child.

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"Dan was great(and most importantly) we won! I would recommend him to anyone. He was willing to hear my case when many others were not." Evangula Vann - 2019

How to Talk with Your Employer about Pregnancy and Parental Leave

Many times an employee is hesitant to bring up pregnancy in an interview, or even after having been on the job. This is due to a common concern that an employee who is nearing childbirth may not return to work or be viewed as having a disability. The simple truth is employers are focused on running a business, and that becomes difficult when an employee takes an extended amount of time off from work. Even when time off is unpaid, there are still costs to the employer such as training a replacement. However, employees have the right to parental leave, including maternity leave for mothers.

Bird's eye view of pregnant woman at computer

When an employer demotes a worker or takes other negative action as a result of pregnancy, a case for pregnancy discrimination may be in order. While being pregnant is considered a serious health condition and the rules in some states are tailored around disability laws, having a child does not amount to having a disability in the sense most of us equate to disabilities that prevent people from working. Leave guidelines protect you from being fired for having a child or from asking to take parental leave.

If you have met the eligibility requirements for maternity leave or other parental leave and are denied the same, we encourage you to call us to discuss a pregnancy discrimination case or other claim under the Family Medical Leave Act. Keep in mind that while the act provides for leave that is unpaid, you likely have other damages such as lost income you can seek if you are terminated for taking parental leave.

Dan Atkerson

Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of North Texas employees for over nearly four decades. He is affiliated with several prestigious legal organizations, including: 

  • The State Bar of Texas
  • The Dallas Bar Association
  • The United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
  • Texas Supreme Court and all Texas trial and appellate courts
  • Texas federal courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas

Through aggressive, knowledgeable representation, he has helped clients all over the state reach significant verdicts and settlements. To schedule a consultation at our law firm, request an appointment online or call us at (214) 383-3606.

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