A Dad Wins Fight To Increase Parental Leave For Men At JPMorgan Chase

NPR - Yuki Noguchi

Two years ago, Derek Rotondo told his employer that he wanted to take 16 weeks of paid leave granted to primary caregivers for his newborn son. He says he was told: "Men, as biological fathers, were presumptively not the primary caregiver." He was only eligible for two weeks' leave.

Rotondo, who had been investigating financial crimes for JPMorgan Chase for seven years, filed a complaint at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging gender discrimination at the bank. Within days, JPMorgan Chase said it would work with Rotondo and granted him the extra leave he wanted.

On Thursday, his case culminated in a class-action settlement with JPMorgan Chase. The bank will pay $5 million to hundreds, possibly thousands, of men who filed for primary caregiver leave and were denied in the last seven years. Rotondo and his attorney said JPMorgan Chase changed its policy; the bank says its policy was always gender-neutral but says it has clarified its language.

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Under the law, paid parental leave policies must be equal for both men and women, says attorney Peter Romer-Friedman, who represented Rotondo, along with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Some women get medical leave to recover from a birth, which is separate from parental leave and can often add to a woman's time off. Romer-Friedman says when it comes to parental leave, "the Supreme Court has made very clear that parental leave for caregiving has to be given on the exact same equal terms." He says these policies are supportive of women, too, who stand to benefit if their spouses can provide child care.

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