Pregnancy Leave


California Labor Lawyers Handling Pregnancy Leave Cases 

When an employee gets pregnant, she can deal with a wide variety of medical issues that require leave from the workplace, from physically giving birth to a child to dealing with pregnancy-related disabilities. Employees in California have a right to pregnancy leave under federal law and California state law. If you have questions about handling an employee request for pregnancy or maternity leave, or if you are an employee who has been wrongfully denied pregnancy leave, you should consult a California labor lawyer.

Laws Providing Employee Rights to Pregnancy or Maternity Leave in California

There are numerous laws that provide an employee with rights to pregnancy leave, and that are designed to protect employees in the event that an employer wrongfully denies pregnancy leave. Depending upon the specific circumstances of the employee’s case, those laws can include:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) (federal law);
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (federal law);
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (federal law);
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA) (state law);
  • Pregnancy Disability Leave law (PDL) (state law); and
  • Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

In general, the FMLA and CFRA provide an employee with the right to unpaid, job-protected leave for pregnancy and pregnancy-related purposes. The ADA and PDL clarify that an employee can be entitled to additional leave if she experiences a disability as a result of her pregnancy. Under California law, pregnancy-related illnesses can qualify as disabilities and, therefore, qualify the employee for disability leave. And finally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the FEHA make clear that an employer cannot deny a pregnant employee pregnancy leave as a result of her sex (including the condition of pregnancy).

Taking Time off to Have a Baby and to Bond With the Newborn

Pregnancy leave under the FMLA and the CFRA entitles employees who work for a covered employer to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to give birth and to spend time bonding with the new baby. In order to be eligible for this type of leave, the employee needs to have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and for a total of at least 1,250 hours over the last year. To be clear, the FMLA and CFRA are not pregnancy leave based on disability, but rather to physically have a baby and spend time bonding with the newborn.

Disability Leave Related to Pregnancy for California Employees

In addition to FMLA and CFRA leave, California employees who have a pregnancy-related disability, which can include a pregnancy-related illness, may be entitled to an additional four months of job-protected leave. Under the PDL, an employee can seek disability leave if any of the following is true and present:

  • A disability as a result of pregnancy;
  • A disability as a result of childbirth; and/or
  • A medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Medical conditions can include both physical conditions, such as diabetes or required bed rest, as well as psychological conditions, such as postpartum depression.

Reach Out to a California Pregnancy Leave Lawyer

If you are an employer or employee with questions about pregnancy leave law, you should reach out to a California pregnancy leave attorney to determine your rights and responsibilities under the law. Contact Valiant Law to learn more.


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