When An Employer Provides More Parental Leave To Mom Than Dad, Is This Gender Discrimination?

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I received a ton of feedback on last week's blog post, which discussed Yahoo's new parental leave policy and its FMLA implications.  Much of the feedback related to Yahoo's decision to provide 16 weeks of paid maternity leave to female employees and 8 weeks of paid paternity leave to male employees.  Some wondered whether such a policy is discriminatory on the basis of gender because different leave benefits would be offered to moms vs. dads.

In fact, this discussion carried over to a number of Linkedin groups: FMLA Nation (where the vote was split), FMLAEmployment Practices Risk Management and ABA Labor and Employment litigation (all are groups definitely worth joining on Linkedin).

I had the opportunity to speak with Colin O'Keefe of LXBN on this issue.  In the brief interview, which you can access below, I explain Yahoo's paid parental leave policy and whether it discriminates on the basis of gender [short answer is "no," but employers must tread carefully for reasons I explain to Colin].  I also share my thoughts on some related FMLA questions this situation raises. [As an aside, in the era of skype, the imperfect recording (my fault, not Colin's) once again proves I have a face made for radio.]

I welcome your continued feedback on this parental leave issue so that we maximize the chances of crafting leave policies in a way to provide our employees a benefit without running afoul of the law.

Click here to view video.