In the state of California, employers with five or more employees are required to provide pregnant employees up to four months of job-protected pregnancy disability leave. The employee cannot be subject to termination simply because she used pregnancy disability leave “PDL”. Some exceptions apply such as if the company planned to have a layoff regardless if the employee took time off or not. The employer is required to reinstate the employee to the job she held before PDL started.
Who is eligible for PDL? All employees who work for covered employers are eligible upon hire. PDL can be used for any time the eligible employee is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. Employers are required to post posters and include a PDL policy in the employee handbook.
PDL can run concurrently with the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) but not with the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
Once and employee exhausts PDL an employee can apply for Paid Family Leave “PFL” which runs concurrent with CFRA (if organization has more than 50 employees. PFL is paid leave up to six weeks after disability runs out that can be used to bond with a new baby
If an organization has more than 50 employees, after the max of four months of PDL, an employee can take up to 12 weeks of CFRA leave (potentially 6 weeks paid under PFL) for bonding with the child. This must be taken immediately after PDL ends or within a year of childbirth. Employees are eligible for FMLA and CFRA if their organization has more than 50 employees, they have worked for a total of one year of employment and worked more than 1,250 hours during the 12 months. The time off work on a leave still counts towards an employee’s one year of employment. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is not applicable to pregnant employees because the time off request relates to the care of a child.