Can sick time be used for paternity leave?

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Can sick time be used for paternity leave?

I am pretty sure there is no law
regarding this matter but that is not
my question. I sent an email to a
payroll manager and was told I could
use sick time for paternity leave. I
then send another email just confirming
the length I wanted to take and confirm
they received my fmla paperwork. She
then responded that I could not use my
sick time for paternity leave. Is there
any legal precedent for this situation?

Asked on March 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that PTO (i.e. vacation time, sick days, etc.) is a discretionary benefits. This means that employers are not legally required to provide it. To the extent that they do give it, they have a great deal of say over when, if and how it is used. This includes not being able to use sick days for paternity leave. That having been said, you may be able to use your vacation time for paternity leave.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Employers are not required to provide any sick leave; it is voluntary to provide it. That being the case, they may put restrictions or limitations on it, such as not using it for paternity leave. This is therefore legal. You should be able to use your vacation days for this purpose, however.


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