Discrimination |
July 11, 2021

Pregnancy and Medical Leave in California

Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), employers should provide eligible employees 12 weeks of job-secured, unpaid leave to bond with their newborn or take care of their own health conditions or family members with qualified health conditions. Likewise, employers must provide job-secured, unpaid leave, also called pregnancy disability leave (PDL), and/or reasonable accommodations to qualified employees who are disabled by their childbirth, pregnancy, or associated medical conditions.

Your Right to Pregnancy Disability Leave

  • You’re provided up to four months of pregnancy disability leave and can return to the same job position or a comparable position after you’ve recovered from your pregnancy disability. 
  • Your PDL may be longer than four months if your doctor recommends that you need to take a longer leave. You should request a written guarantee from your employer stating that you’ll be able to return to your previous position or a comparable one. Employers are required to provide this document upon the request of employees. 
  • You don’t need to use up your PDL in one go, but also take it on an as-required or needed basis, including reduced decreased work schedule or intermittent leave. Your employer might require you to pick available sick leave (if applicable) during your PDL. Likewise, you can utilize vacation or other paid leave. 
  • PDL may also include more frequent or extra breaks at work, time for postnatal and prenatal doctor appointments as well as doctor-recommended bed rests, among others. It likewise covers physical conditions such as hypertension, gestational diabetes, severe morning sickness, preeclampsia, end or loss of pregnancy, and recovery from childbirth. Additionally, PDL covers postpartum depression. 
  • Your employer must also continue providing health coverage while you’re on PDL. Your coverage must be the same exact coverage that your employer would’ve provided for other conditions if you had remained at work for your PDL. 
  • Depending on the policies in place for other eligible medical leaves in your workplace, your PDL may be unpaid or paid. In addition, you might qualify for paid family leave (PFL) or disability insurance that the California Employment Development Department (CEDD) administers. 
  • It’s also vital to note that PDL might affect your seniority date and employer benefits, so you will need to consult your employer or HR manager for specific details. 

You May Also Qualify for Medical and Family Leave

Under the CFRA, if you have worked for your employer for more than 12 months and have logged in a minimum of 1,250 work hours during these 12 months prior to the date you’re looking to start your leave, you may qualify for a medical or family care leave. This type of leave could be up to 12 weeks for a period of 12 months for the birth, foster care placement, or adoption of a child, or to tend to your own medical condition, or that of a child, spouse, parent, grandparent, domestic partner, sibling, or grandchild. 

Talk to an Experienced California Employment Lawyer Now

If you’ve been subjected to harassment, retaliation, or discrimination at work due to your pregnancy and related condition or situation or have been unfairly denied leaves that you’re legally entitled to, we can help. Contact Minnis & Smallets by phone or online to schedule your appointment with our California employment lawyer.