December 4, 2023 at 9:52 am

Manager Denied A Request For One Week Off, So Employee Filed For 12 Weeks Of Paternity Leave Instead

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Reddit/AITA/iStock

It’s no secret that the state of parental leave in America is pretty dire. There’s nothing written into law that says it’s required to offer any paid leave at all, but there is a Family Medical Leave Act that requires employers to allow 12 weeks (typically not paid).

OP was about to be a new father and was working as a retail manager. His wife planned to quit her job after the birth but OP wanted to be home for at least a few days to help everyone settle in.

Many years ago, I was a Sales Manager for the now defunct Circuit City. My wife and I were expecting our first child. This was in 1999.

My wife was leaving her place of employment as she was planning on staying home with our daughter once she was born. Being our first child, I wanted to be home for a little while at the beginning.

As I was talking to my store manager to arrange having some time off when my daughter was born, I asked for a week off.

When he asked for a week off, his boss said they could only approve two days because of coverage issues.

I was met with opposition and told I could only have 2 days off, because “we don’t have extra management coverage.” (Yet we some how cover peoples vacations).

This was absolutely ridiculous and luckily I had done my homework.

OP started doing some research and learned he was entitled to those 12 weeks, and luckily for him, he had the paid vacation and sick time to cover it.

The way the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) law is written, the parents can take up to 12 weeks of Maternity/Paternity leave, and their job is guaranteed to be waiting for them when they return.

I believe this is meant to be combined between the parents, but since my wife was leaving her job permanently and not taking Maternity leave, that left 12 weeks available for me to take.

Paternity Leave is rarely ever done, because it is most often unpaid leave. I, however, had plenty of PTO saved up (Vacation and Sick Time).

His boss was left holding the bag for 12 weeks instead of just 1, though OP did take pity on him and come back after two.

So, I informed the Store Manager that I would be filing for Paternity leave under FMLA and would in fact be taking 12 weeks off and would be using my saved PTO to cover my income. He tried to argue with me, but I told him, he should probably go contact HR.

He returned later that day and sheepishly asked me if I would accept the week I originally asked for? I told him that I would accept 2 weeks or 12 and that the choice was his.

I ended up with 2 weeks and that Store Manager learned that, though I was young (at the time), I wasn’t going to be pushed around, and that reasonable requests should be reasonably accepted.

Would Reddit have been so kind? I wonder…

The top comment says they would have taken the whole 12 weeks anyway.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person agrees, saying that life is too short for saved-up time.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Other people struggle with using it up, too.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Here’s your proof that other countries do it better.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Time with a new baby is worth it.

Source: Reddit/AITA

I’m glad things worked out for this guy.

As people said, you don’t get that time back.