Workers can utilize paternity and maternity leave under California and federal laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. However, depending on the situation, parents are likely to have differing needs after having children. For example, parents of premature babies could need additional time to be with their newborns.
Children who are born prematurely are more likely to have several health conditions that require longer stays in hospital neonatal intensive care units. Premature babies can have health conditions such as cerebral palsy, jaundice and retinopathy of prematurity. These health conditions can lengthen hospital stays by several months.
Even after premature babies leave hospitals to go home with their families, many often need continuing care and more attention than other children do. Some premature babies require an extensive number of doctor appointments that can occur for months after children are discharged from the hospital. It is common for premature babies to see multiple specialists for varying conditions.
For these reasons, standard paternity and maternity leave might not be sufficient. In some circumstances, parents may be given more time on pregnancy leave, but only in situations where mothers are injured during and after pregnancy.
How Many Californians Could Extended Maternity and Paternity Leave Affect?
While California is known for being a state with excellent maternity and paternity leave laws, additional help could be extended to parents with premature babies recovering at hospitals and homes across the state. Centers for Disease Control statistics show one in every nine infants are born prematurely in the U.S. These numbers suggest many parents in California may encounter difficulties under current pregnancy leave laws.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles Employment Law Attorneys