What is FMLA?
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles certain employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for family or medical reasons. This includes caring for a child within one year of birth, or caring for child or spouse with a serious medical condition. During FMLA leave, the employee's health insurance continues as if the employee had not taken any leave, and the employee is entitled to return to their same job or equivalent when this time is up.
However, not everyone is entitled to protected leave under FMLA. If you're a freelancer or contractor, if you work for a company with 50 or fewer employees or if you have worked for the company for less than a year, you may be out of luck when it comes to FMLA.
Does short-term disability cover paternity leave?
Even though men are not eligible to take short-term disability following the birth of a child, it's still a good idea for working parents to get disability insurance to provide for their family. If either parent is unable to work due to a short-term disability, the policy would replace a portion of their income for a certain time period.
Life insurance is another smart move for parents. If something happens to one parent, the surviving spouse and children would get a lump sum to replace the deceased parent's income. Even stay-at-home parents need life insurance, because the surviving parent would likely need to hire a housekeeper, nanny or others to help keep the household running smoothly. Some employers offer short- or long-term disability coverage as well as life insurance to their employees. You may also be able to purchase your own policy. While dads haven't traditionally taken much time off work to welcome a new baby, policies and expectations are evolving.