FMLA and Paternity leave

I’ve been searching around on FMLA sites to try to find an answer to my question but I can’t find it specifically. But I’d like to be prepared in case there’s an issue when it comes to HR.

I’ve been approved for FMLA for paternity leave coming up really soon. My employer has a policy that I need to use my vacation and/or sick time before unpaid leave. I don’t believe this to be the way FMLA works but I honestly don’t care because I was always planning on using paid time anyway.

Here’s my real question: I have around 3.5 weeks of vacation and sick leave each. I wish to take 3 weeks of paternity leave. I do not wish to use the entirety of either vacation or sick time. Can I combine the two in some manner such as 1 week vacation 2 weeks sick or 2 weeks sick 1 week vacation?


Something I’m qualified to answer!

FMLA allows employers to require you to use all your available vacation/sick time while on FMLA before you start using unpaid FMLA. Not all employers do this, but they can under the regulations.

Whether or not your employer requires you to deplete one or the other first, or use them in combination is entirely dependent on company policy.

The FMLA does not govern company policies on how vacation or sick time should be used. It is left to the Company to make those decisions, because vacation and sick time are not mandated, they are Company provided benefits.

The FMLA only guarantees that you can take leave from work for paternity leave up to 12 weeks and your job will be held for you.

To answer your question, you will need to review your companies vacation and sick leave policies and ask your HR rep.

For completeness I should add that if you are a union employee, the use of vacation/sick time during PTO may be addressed in your collective bargaining agreement.

Thank you both for the fast answers!

That clarifies things…and yet clarifies nothing :slight_smile:

I’ll look in our employee manual to see what it says. All I’m getting in my boss’s info on what the company does, but he’s not HR. Thanks again.