By Murphy Woodhouse | Arizona Daily Star
Katherine Daubert’s request for parental leave was denied, in part because her son was born before the new parental leave policy took effect. Daubert wanted consideration because Theodore spent his first four months of life in the hospital.
Daubert’s denial letter from the county’s Health Insurance Benefit and Wellness Advisory Committee suggested she apply for the county’s catastrophic leave bank instead.
When Theodore was born 16 weeks premature on Dec. 21 last year, he weighed just over a pound and a half.
“It is difficult not to feel sympathy for Ms. Daubert in this situation and wonder why the county did not exercise the discretion granted to it by the new policy and allow her to take the requested leave. That said, it seems Ms. Daubert was as much a victim of unfortunate timing as anything else, given the date her child was born, the effective date of the new policy and the date she made her request for a paid leave of absence under the policy.
“As with any new policy, not every contingency can be anticipated in advance, and it can take some time to iron out the wrinkles. The good news is the county appears to have other leave of absence policies available to Ms. Daubert that will allow her to spend time with and care for her son, so hopefully this will end up being a ‘no-harm-no-foul’ situation.
“I think this story is a great example of why it is important for employers to consult with experienced employment counsel when implementing new policies and when unusual situations like this arise under those polices, so as to come up with solutions that are legal, practical and fair for all parties involved.”
~ David Weissman
If you’d like to discuss employment or health care law, contact David Weissman, email@example.com