Men planning to adopt can take family leave

Can They Do That?

Your Money

September 19, 2004|By Carrie Mason-Draffen

I read your recent column about a woman who wanted to take time off from work after adopting an infant. I am a man who is planning to adopt, and I am wondering if I am entitled to a leave.

Your gender doesn't matter. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the primary law regarding employees' time off after the birth or adoption of a child, doesn't focus on an employee's gender.

"An eligible male employee is entitled to FMLA leave where a son or daughter is placed with that employee for adoption or foster care," said Jeffrey Naness of Naness, Chaiet & Naness in Jericho, N.Y.

However, as a previous column mentioned, other criteria apply for the unpaid leave. The employee's company must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of the FMLA applicant's workplace. The employee must have worked for the company at least one year before taking the leave and must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the prior year.

Also, if both FMLA-eligible spouses work at the same company, they are entitled to a combined 12 weeks, not 12 weeks each, Naness said.

Here are two more of the finer points of the FMLA to bear in mind: The leave must be taken within 12 months of the birth or placement, Naness said. The leave could begin before the date of birth or placement, he said, "if the circumstances require."

For more information on the FMLA, go to www.dol.gov or call 866-487-9243.

Carrie Mason-Draffen is a columnist for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. E-mail her at yourmoney@tribune.com.

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