Parental Leave Considerations

By Jason R. Mau

Q.       Can we ever request a non-birthing parent to take parental leave all at once or limit their intermittent leave, so they aren’t taking multiple blocks of time within the rolling 12-month period?

A.       Parental leave for private employees in the states of Idaho and Utah are protected under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Both parents are entitled to FMLA leave for the birth of their child. Under the FMLA, the employer may limit the use of intermittent or reduced schedule leave for FMLA leave used to bond with a healthy child. This distinction means that as long as the non-birthing parent does not require the FMLA leave to care for a serious health condition of the newborn child or the newborn child’s mother, you may adopt a policy to require the non-birthing parent’s parental leave be taken all at once. The regulations for the FMLA specifically state that an employee requesting intermittent leave or multiple blocks of time to be with the healthy newborn child “only if the employer agrees.” Note that this same employer discretion on intermittent leave applies also to parents seeking FMLA leave for the placement of a healthy child for adoption or foster care. 

Jason R. Mau is a shareholder in the Boise office of Parsons Behle & Latimer.  He can be reached at 208-562-4898 or