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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Understanding Maternity and Paternity
Leave Laws in Texas

More Than 30 Years of Experience Fighting for Employees' Rights

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. If you have questions about maternity leave laws or pregnancy discrimination in Texas, contact employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson. He has been fighting for employees’ rights in Allen, TX, for more than three decades and he can put his experience to work for you.

Job-Protected Leave for Eligible Employees

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. These laws include 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 laws, you may be able to take legal action to protect your job or collect compensation.

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. If you have questions about maternity leave laws and/or pregnancy discrimination in Texas, contact employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson. He has been fighting for employees’ rights in North Texas for more than 32 years, and he can put his experience to work for you.

What Maternity Leave Laws Apply to Employees in Texas?

Like many states, Texas has no state-specific laws regarding maternity and paternity leave. However, many Texas employees are covered by federal laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA guidelines apply to all employers across the nation who have at least 50 employees, both full and part time, for at least 20 weeks of the year. If a business meets this threshold, the company must guarantee parental leave to eligible employees.

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. Additionally, parents may use accrued vacation and/or sick days (in some circumstances) in order to receive pay while on leave.

While you are on parental leave, your employer must maintain your health insurance and cannot fire or demote you.

By law, you must be able to return to your same position or an equivalent position, with the same pay and benefits, after your parental or maternity leave.

Your employer also cannot deny you a promotion or other benefit just because you are on parental leave. Doing so is a form of pregnancy discrimination, and therefore is illegal. The FMLA defines the minimum amount of time and protections for parental leave. However, many Texas companies offer more comprehensive maternity leave plans. If so, you must be afforded the same right to parental leave as everyone else in the company.

Eligibility for FMLA Protection

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.

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 employer 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.

Serving the Needs of Employees

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

Contact Our Firm Today

If your employer denied your rightful parental leave or otherwise violated FMLA regulations, contact employment lawyer Dan Atkerson. He can explain your legal options depending on the circumstances of your individual situation. You may be able to fight for your right to reinstatement or possibly recover compensation in a discrimination lawsuit. Dan’s main office is in Allen, but he accepts clients throughout North Texas. Contact our employment law firm online or call (214) 383-3606 to schedule a free initial consultation today.

Dan A. Atkerson
Attorney
Phone (214) 383-3606
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1025 Arches Park Dr
Allen, TX 75013

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