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An Overview of California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Act

Despite the known complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth, the safety and well-being of the mother can sometimes go overlooked— especially in the workplace. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) acknowledges these potential complications and enforces a guaranteed leave for workers who become disabled during pregnancy or childbirth. Here is what that entails.

What Does Pregnancy Disability Leave Include?

To be eligible for Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), an employee must:

  • Be employed by a company with at least five employees.
  • Been employed by that company for at least 12 months.
  • Been at least a part-time employee during those 12 months.

The DFEH defines “disability” as any physical or mental condition that limits an employee’s ability to perform essential functions of their job. This can include morning sickness, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, postpartum depression, and more. It is important to note that an employee does not need to provide a doctor’s note to take PDL; however, the employer may require certification from a health care provider if the employee plans to take more than four weeks of leave.

How Much Leave Can I Take?

An eligible employee can take up to four weeks of PDL in 12 months. This leave can be taken all at once or as needed. If an employee’s disability extends beyond the four-week period, they may be eligible for additional leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for certain qualified employees with a serious health condition, which includes pregnancy and childbirth.

What Are My Rights During Leave?

While on PDL, an employee is entitled to continuing their health insurance coverage at the same level as if they were still working. The employee is also guaranteed reinstatement to their original job or a comparable position upon return from leave. This means that the employee’s job duties, salary, and benefits must remain unchanged while on leave. In addition, the employer cannot require the employee to find a replacement before taking leave.

If your employer is not allowing PDL, maternity leave, or is otherwise discriminating against you for being pregnant, the team at Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP can help. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options by calling (310) 919-0091.

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