Are More New Fathers Taking FMLA Leave for Bonding?


In July 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that paid parental leave is separate from medical time off for childbirth and that employers that offer paid parental leave must do so for men and women on equal terms (sometimes referred to as the parity rule). This report looks to see whether more men have taken FMLA leaves for bonding with a newborn or newly adopted child (“bonding” leaves)as a result of the new policy change. Examining FMLA data from IBI’s leave and disability Benchmarking system, we found that from 2013 to 2017, the share of men taking FMLA leave to bond with a new child increased by 50%. Importantly, the increase began after 2014, which is consistent with the argument that the EEOC rule encouraged employers to enhance parental leave benefits in ways that made time off more attractive for men. A counterargument that men generally increased their FMLA leave-taking relative to women was not supported.

Download Report