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A Practical Guide for Pregnancy and Maternity Leave Laws in California

The California state and federal law provides the working mothers with the rights to take leaves during and after the pregnancy period. Every law has its advantages and disadvantages for working mothers.

By the end of this post, you will come to know all the maternity laws that offer protection to pregnant women.

This post explains the basic pregnancy and maternity laws in California.  First of all, let us know the basic laws in California that offer protection to working mothers.

Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL): The Pregnancy disability leave law provides the eligible women employees in California the right to take four months of unpaid leave. The eligible employees include women who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The FMLA provides the eligible employees 12 weeks of medical leave for a serious health condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA): The California Family Rights Act provides the unpaid medical leave to with the eligible employees. The CFRA does not offer any pregnancy-related leaves. However, it provides 12 weeks of leave for baby bonding after the childbirth.

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The FEHA provides the employees with a right to leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation who have a disability due to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. The right is distinct and independent to the PDLL.

How long is the maternity leave?

The eligible female employees in California have the right to take a 12 weeks maternity leave. The employers need to follow the rule irrespective of their leave policy that is less generous for the similar conditions or temporarily disabled employees. The four months of leave entitlement is per pregnancy and not per year.

Who are eligible for the pregnancy and maternity leave?

Only the female employees disabled by the pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition are eligible for the PDL in California. Unlike the FMLA and CFRA, there is no such condition as minimum working hours to be eligible for the leave. However, the employees must have been disabled only by the pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition.

What is Pregnancy Disability?

The pregnancy disability is of two types:

Disability due to inability to do work: This means that a female employee is unable to perform one or more essential functions of her job. Also, the female employee is unable to perform the essential functions without risk to her or other persons.

Disability due to the health conditions: In case the physician or healthcare provider considers a female disabled due to a medical condition related to pregnancy. For example, morning sickness, depression or any other medical condition due to pregnancy which the physician considers as a disability.

Leave After Childbirth

A pregnant woman has the right to take 12 weeks of pregnancy disability leave after childbirth. The CRA provides the disability leave to the mother after a child is born. However, some other conditions should also be met for the pregnancy disability leave.

Pay during the pregnancy or maternity leave

The female employees are not entitled to pay for the period of pregnancy of maternity leave under the FEHA or CFRA. However, if the employer has policies that offer pay to employees under other types of disability leaves, then the female employees will be paid under the pregnancy disability leave.

Although the pregnant employees are not usually entitled to get paid during the pregnancy disability leave, they can receive the state disability insurance benefits. The California state offers the employees the right to disability coverage. Check the official website of California EDD for more information.

Final Words

The California state provides the working women with the rights to pregnancy and maternity leaves. Any employer who refuses to offer the pregnancy disability leave or maternity leave to a female employee is liable to legal action.

Any female employee who is eligible for PDDL or maternity leave can take legal help in case she faces any harassment or discrimination due to pregnancy at her workplace. The California pregnancy and maternity leaves law prohibit all the employers to wrongfully terminate or discriminate against female employees due to pregnancy or related medical condition.