Leave for Birth, Adoption and Foster Care

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A father, as well as a mother, can take leave for the birth or placement of a child.[1]  This leave must be concluded within the 12-month period beginning with the date of birth or placement of the child. The employer is not required to allow intermittent or reduced leave for the placement of a child unless it is medically necessary.

Pregnancy and Childbirth.[2]Both the mother and father are entitled to FMLA leave for the birth of the child, and to bond with a healthy infant during the 12-month period beginning on the date of birth. The mother is entitled to FMLA leave for incapacity due to pregnancy, for prenatal care, or for her own serious health condition following the birth. The incapacity due to pregnancy does not have to meet the other requirements for a serious health condition. For example, the employee may be unable to report to work due to severe morning sickness. The husband is entitled to FMLA leave if needed to care for his pregnant spouse who is incapacitated or if needed to care for her during prenatal care, or to care for her following the birth if the spouse has a serious health condition.

Adoption and Foster Care.[3]For adoption and foster care, leave can begin before the actual placement of a child if it is required for the placement to proceed (for example, required counseling, court appearances and the like). Whether an adoption is through a public or private agency does not matter. The age of the child does not matter. Placement for foster care must involve State action, and does not include informal arrangements.

[1] 29 C.F.R. § 825.112.

[2] 29 C.F.R. § 825.120.

[3] 29 C.F.R. § 825.121.