Top 6 Things Fathers Should Know About Their Workplace Rights

06/19/2015 03:46 pm ET | Updated Jun 19, 2016

Just in time for Father's Day, here's what every dad should know about his rights - or lack of - in the workplace. If you're still struggling to find that perfect gift, forget the necktie and send dad this list - something he can actually use at work.

1. Depending on location, some dads are protected from discrimination at work. Today, many men have taken a greater role providing childcare and caregiving for ill relatives than in generations past (you are not Fred Flintstone). Unfortunately, many employers haven't gotten the memo and will punish men who choose to step up for their families. Thankfully, some progressive states and cities are passing gender-neutral laws making it clear to employers that punishing parents just because they are parents is not okay. In fact, just this week the New York state Legislature passed a bill that will prohibit discrimination against parents!

At ABB, we're working to expand these protections further to make sure parents and caregivers aren't punished at work for the responsibilities they have at home. Find out if you are protected in your state or city here.

2. You may have the right to take sick days for you and your kids. Some states and cities allow you to earn paid sick time to care for you and your kids - or other family members - when they get sick. Other laws say that if your employer provides sick time, they have to let you use it when your children are ill. Check out our Babygate webpage to see if you're covered.

We've pushed hard for these laws to be adopted in many areas--find out more about our campaigns to bring paid sick days to more workers and to promote "Kin Care" laws, which allow you to use paid sick time to care for an ill family member.

3. Men can take paid parental leave, too. Following in the footsteps of the entire rest of the world, a handful of states, including California, Rhode Island and New Jersey, are finally starting to wise-up and offer paid parental leave to male and female employees. It turns out that moms aren't the only ones who know how to change a diaper. And it also turns out that when the only available leave is unpaid, many people aren't able to use it.

Are you in New York? Sign our petition to make paid family leave a reality for New Yorkers.

4. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a safety net for some. For some workers, the Family and Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave that can be used to care for a relative or bond with a new child. Unfortunately, it may not apply to you, since to qualify you must work for an employer with more than 50 employees, have worked with them for at least a year, and have logged more than 1,250 hours for that company in the previous year. On the bright side, some states have more generous leave laws that may cover you even if the federal law doesn't. Be sure to check out Babygate to see if your state offers any greater protections.

Don't forget one more thing: Many people know you can use your 12 unpaid weeks of job protected leave all at once, for example to care for and bond with a newborn. However, you can also use it intermittently (a day here or there); for example, to help an older relative get to hospital visits.

5. You don't have a right to flexible or predictable work hours--yet. More than 45 percent of part-time workers, and close to 40 percent of full-time workers are only given one week or less advance notice for their schedules. As dads know, it can be difficult or impossible to find reliable, high quality childcare on such short notice.

ABB is working to change this by supporting laws and policies that give workers greater control over their schedules.

6. It could be so much better. We're working every day to make sure that dads, moms, and everyone else can find a better balance between their roles as workers and as caregivers. Follow us and help make this change.

Do you have questions about your rights? Call our free and confidential legal hotline at 212-430-5982 or check out our comprehensive Babygate webpage for expecting and new parents.

This is post is written to assist dads in understanding some of their workplace protections. It does not cover all aspects of these laws or all available workplace protections. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances if you have questions or think your rights as a worker have been violated.