I am often asked, “how much time does California law allow me for pregnancy leave?” The answer depends on the size of your employer, how long you have been employed, and whether you need time off due to medical conditions you may suffer as a result of your pregnancy or for baby bonding time. Answer the following questions to help assist you with knowing your rights for pregnancy disability leave and bonding time:
- Question 1: Does your employer have more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius?
- Question 2: Have you been employed for at least one year?
- Question 3: Have you worked at least 1250 hours?
If you answered “yes” to questions 1, 2 and 3, you should be entitled to protected leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act (“PDL”). This means you can be entitled to up to 4 months of leave for disability leave AND 3 months of leave for baby bonding. Most women are unaware that if they are suffering from medical conditions during pregnancy and require time off of work, they are legally entitled up to 7 months of unpaid time off if they qualify for both CFRA and PDL.
If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, you can still be entitled to PDL as long as your employer has at least 5 employees. In that case, you are entitled to up to 4 months of pregnancy disability leave. If you do not suffer from any disabilities prior to the birth of your baby, your doctor will typically certify that you are disabled 6 to 8 weeks after you give birth.
California law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. Allowing pregnant employees time off of work under certain circumstances can be considered a reasonable accommodation. As such, pregnant employees can be entitled additional time off above and beyond that offered by PDL and CFRA.
Navigating the statutes covering pregnant employees can be overwhelming and confusing. If you believe that your employer is not following the law by allowing you time off, or if you experiencing retaliation because you requested time off, please contact us.