Unbeknownst to many, a woman is eligible to take up to 7 months of leave from work relating to her pregnancy.
What determines the length?
The benefits and the length of the maternity leave will essentially depend on whether your baby was delivered without any compilations. Complications lead to longer recovery time which translates to a longer leave.
A woman is entitled to up to 12 weeks under the federal Family Medical Leave Act FMLA and the California Family Rights Act CRFA. These two types of leave run concurrently. Pregnancy Disability Leave Law PDLL provides a new mother with an additional 4 months if the pregnancy results in disability.
Note that there is a statute that was enacted in 2018 called California’s New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) that expands maternity leave to smaller businesses that were not subject to the same leave obligations enumerated in FMLA/CFRA. This statute provides up to 12 workweeks of parental leave for eligible employees to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
Are any benefits available for fathers?
FMLA provides equal leave for both the mother and father. Both or either covered parent may take 12 weeks for the birth of a newborn or the placement of an adopted or foster child. If both parents work for the same company, that time may be limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave during any 12-month period if the leave is taken for birth of the employee’s son or daughter or to care for the child after birth.
Will I be paid during my leave?
Employers are not required to provide paid pregnancy disability leave. However, an employee may use accrued paid leave during this time, such as vacation, sick leave, or paid time off (PTO). Employers can require pregnant employees to use accrued sick leave (but not accrued vacation or PTO) during their pregnancy leave.
Pregnant employees may, however, receive short-term disability benefits through the California State Disability Insurance program during their pregnancy disability leave. An employee may receive a little over half of her wages during her leave, subject to a maximum set by law each year.
What if I believe my employer is discriminating against me due to my pregnancy?
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when a pregnant employee or job applicant receives less favorable treatment because of their pregnancy. California law prohibits discrimination based on a woman’s pregnancy by employers with five or more employees.
What if I was fired due to my pursuit of a claim against my employer?
Even though most employers follow the law, employees are often worried about the consequences of pursuing a claim against their employer. But it is important to understand that employers may not wrongfully terminate or take adverse employment actions against their employees simply because they opposed the employer’s violations of the law.
Similarly, an employee who has suffered a violation of California’s maternity leave laws has a right to file a complaint, testify, or assist in any proceeding in a pregnancy discrimination claim against their employer. The employer may not retaliate against them for doing so.