It has always been rather standard that when a woman has a baby, she gets time off work. Employers routinely offer maternity leave, but if you are a father, do you also have a right to time off? Generally, maternity leave is a medical leave, allowing the mother time to recuperate after giving birth, but it also gives her time to bond with the child. This is why it has been also offered to adoptive mothers and why many companies are offering or considering paternity leave. As a father in California, you deserve time to bond with your child, too.
According to CNN, the state has passed laws giving you paternity time and requiring your employer to offer it. However, in many states, this leave is not standard or required. It is left to the employer, which can be tricky. Some employers may offer equal paternity and maternity leave. Others may not offer any leave if you are a father. In some cases, salaried employees may get leave while hourly workers may not. It is not a mainstream idea like leave for mothers.
In fact, surveys have shown that only about 20 percent of employers offer paternity leave, so the chances are good you may not even have this option unless your employer is required by law. It is an odd situation because all other industrialized countries in the world offer leave for fathers as a standard benefit. Many large companies are jumping on board with the idea, but there is still a long way to go to ensure you get time off to bond with your new baby. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.