California's Pregnancy Leave Law

The law protects women's rights to take time off work for prenatal and postnatal medical care, childbirth and recovery, as well as pregnancy and childbirth-related medical conditions. This is true regardless of the length of her employment, and it even protects a pregnant employee who recently started a new job.

At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, in San Francisco, we can help you make use of the protections available to you under state and federal law.

What Protections Does California State Law Contain?

California's Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) permits women to take up to four months of disability leave per pregnancy. This leave does not need to be taken all at once. For example, early in the pregnancy, the pregnant employee may need to take leave in increments of just hours to accommodate severe morning sickness or prenatal care that she cannot schedule around work.

As the pregnancy progresses, the employee may need to take an intermittent leave (sporadic partial days or full days off) because of other conditions such as hypertension or preeclampsia. At some point, the pregnant employee's health care provider may determine she needs to be off work entirely and put on bed rest. At full term, the employee will need to take several weeks off work for childbirth and recover from childbirth. Additionally, there may be further need to take leave after recovery from childbirth, for reasons such as postpartum depression, preeclampsia, or other physical or mental conditions persisting after childbirth.

All of this time away from work is protected by the PDLL, and an employer cannot refuse to provide such time off, or retaliate against an employee for taking this time off. Additionally, with very limited exceptions, an employer must reinstate the employee to the same position she held when she went on leave.

Importantly, if an employee's need for medical leave extends past the four months provided for by the PDLL, then the employer must still provide reasonable accommodations in accordance with other laws protecting employees.

Taking Action To Assert Your Rights

The lawyers at Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP have extensive experience in representing pregnant employees. If you have requested pregnancy leave, were terminated because you took leave, or your employer refused to reinstate you to the same position you had at the start of your leave, then you should contact an attorney. Call us today at 415-445-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.