Litchfield Comments on Trend Towards Enhanced Parental Leave Benefits

26 September 2018 News
Senior Counsel John Litchfield was quoted in a SHRM article, “Phased Maternity Leave Enhances Parental Benefits,” about the expansion of parental leave benefits by many U.S. companies.

Litchfield said employers that provide paid child-bonding leave should review their policies to determine whether they apply similarly or differently to men and women, and to natural parents, adoptive parents and same-sex couples.

If a bonding-time policy applies differently to different categories of parents who fall within a protected status, either at the federal or the state level, “then the policy may invite a claim of disparate treatment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, familial relations or some other protected category,” he said.

Employers can distinguish medical leave for new mothers from child-bonding time, offering the latter to mothers and non-birth parents equally, he added.

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