The majority of California employers are required to allow qualifying employees to take a leave of absence if they experience a disability due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. The pregnancy leave attorneys at Minnis & Smallets, LLP can help enforce your rights under California and federal statutes if you suffer retaliation, are terminated, lose benefits, or are subject to other forms of unlawful conduct. Please contact our San Francisco office to schedule a free consultation about your circumstances, and check out some useful information about these laws.
Overview of Pregnancy Leave Laws
State and federal statutes have varying implications for employees who need to take a leave of absence due to pregnancy and/or pregnancy-related conditions. California is one of only a few states that provides pregnancy disability leave and family medical leave when combined with certain federal laws.
Still, there is a wide array of eligibility rules, conflicting legal requirements, overlapping provisions, and other complex concepts under such statutes as:
- Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDL): This statute is part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and it applies to all employers with five or more employees. PDL allows up to four months of leave to an employee who suffers from a pregnancy-related physical or mental condition that impacts her ability to perform essential job-related tasks. There is no minimum for the number of hours or years that an employee must work to qualify for pregnancy disability leave.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): At the federal level, FMLA allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave within a 12-month period for designated reasons; birth and care for a newborn baby is one of the qualifying factors. There are a few important considerations to note.
- FMLA does not require the employer to pay the employee during the leave; however, if other employees receive pay for qualifying reasons, while the pregnant employee does not, then the pregnant employee may have a claim for discrimination.
- FMLA protects the employee’s job while she is away, so she cannot be demoted or overlooked for promotion during this time.
- An employee is only eligible for leave under FMLA if she works for an employer that has 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the main workplace. Plus, she must have worked for the employer for at least one year and must have worked more than 1,250 hours for the employer in the previous year.
- The employee is entitled to continue receiving group health benefits offered by the employer during a qualifying FMLA leave.
- California Family Rights Act (CFRA): While CFRA specifically excludes leave for a pregnancy-related disability, it does allow “bonding leave” separate from PDL, meaning that an employee can take both PDL and CFRA leave. This law closely parallels FMLA in that it gives employees leave of up to 12 weeks within the first year of the child’s birth; many of the eligibility requirements that apply to FMLA are also incorporated into CFRA. However, beginning January 1, 2021, CFRA was expanded to cover any private employer with 5 or more employees, regardless of their distance from the job site.
Contact a Skilled Pregnancy Leave Lawyer in California Today
If you have questions or would like more information regarding your rights, the pregnancy leave attorneys at Minnis & Smallets, LLP can help. Please call 1-415-551-0885 to reach our San Francisco offices or go online to set up a consultation regarding your case.