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Fathers' Right To Paternity Leave Under Texas Laws

Traditionally, in Texas, it was the mother's job to raise the child, while the father went out to work and earned money to support his family. However, with the changing dynamics of gender roles, more and more fathers have become hands-on parents and take pleasure in raising their children.

Thus, more and more fathers are expressing that they now want equal rights by asking for paternity leave. In some cases where the father has adopted a child, the mother has suffered from a medical complication or has passed away during childbirth, issues related to fathers' rights become a bigger issue.

Initially, Texas labor laws did not mandate any business to give family leave to its employees. Since it is not an automatic right under the law, the companies and employers are given the discretion to award paternity leave to its employees. The family leave laws in Texas though, suggest that accommodations can be made for family leave in the event of any disability or pregnancy-related illness. Thus, more recently, some businesses have started to grant paternity leave to its employees.

For example, it has been recently reported that Norwegian oil & gas companies, like Equinor, that has come to Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, are offering competitive paid paternity leave for employees, an employee benefit that far exceeds several U.S.-based companies in Texas. The choice of companies to offer such extensive paternity leave benefits highlights the growing need for fathers to spend time at home after the birth of their child, and companies' willingness to move toward supporting this, in order to ensure they are getting and keeping the best employees for their companies.

Employers also have the right to decide if the paternity leave that is granted to the employees will be paid or unpaid leave. The courts usually look into the employee's contract to review written policies regarding family leave to determine the right of fathers to take paternity leave. In the event that the employment contract has provisions for such family leave, fathers can take advantage of their legal right in court, if necessary.

In some cases, the employment contract does not specifically provide for paternity leave. Nevertheless, the father, with the help of an attorney, can often present the argument that his family "needs" him, which makes the paternity leave necessary.

An experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas can work with clients on casework for a fathers' right to paternity leave under Texas laws. Call the Gunnstaks Law Firm at 972-590-6572. 

Source:, "Vacation, sick and parental leave policies," accessed on July 17, 2015

Houston Chronicle, "Norwegian companies bringing tech, social change to U.S. oil & gas industry" accessed on June 7, 2019

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