Pregnancy Leave - How Much Leave May a Pregnant Employee Be Entitled To?

Four Months of Leave Pursuant to the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (“PDLL”)

The PDLL requires employers to allow employees up to four months of leave for a disability due to an employee's pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

What is a Disability Under the PDLL?

An employee is “disabled by pregnancy” if, in the opinion of her health care provider, she is unable because of pregnancy to perform any one or more of the essential functions of her job or to perform any of these functions without undue risk to herself, to her pregnancy's successful completion, or to other persons.

An employee also may be considered to be disabled by pregnancy if, in the opinion of her health care provider, she is suffering from severe morning sickness or needs to take time off for:

prenatal or postnatal care; bed rest; gestational diabetes; pregnancy-induced hypertension; preeclampsia; postpartum depression; childbirth; loss or end of pregnancy; or recovery from childbirth.

Coverage Threshold

The PDLL is applicable to an employee who is disabled due to an employee's pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions and works for an employer who employs five or more employees.

A Leave Under the PDLL Runs Concurrently with a FMLA Leave

If an employee takes a leave under the PDLL, this leave runs concurrently with an employee's right to take a FMLA leave for an employee's own “serious health condition.” This means that if an employee takes a leave because of a disability due to her pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions and the employer gives the employee proper FMLA notices, the employee will exhaust her entitlement to her FMLA leave while taking her PDLL.

A Leave Under the PDLL Does Not Run Concurrently with a CFRA Leave

If an employee takes a leave because of a disability due to her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions under the PDLL, the employee may thereafter still be eligible to take a leave under the California Family Rights Acts (“CFRA”) because of the birth of her child.

Note: It is an unlawful employment practice for a covered employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny an employee's right to take a leave under the PDLL.

Twelve Weeks of Leave Pursuant to the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”)

The CFRA provides that an employee may take a leave of up to twelve weeks because of the birth of the employee's child.

Coverage Threshold

To be eligible to take a CFRA leave because of the birth of their child, an employee must A) have been employed for at least 1250 hours of service during the 12-month period immediately preceding commencement of the leave and B) be employed at a worksite where the employer employs at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

Note: It is an unlawful employment practice for a covered employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny an employee's right to take a leave under CFRA.

Additional Leave Pursuant to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) if an Employee Remains Disabled

If an employee has exhausted all of her entitlements to a leave under the PDLL and the CFRA but remains unable to work due to a medical condition related to her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, she may be able to take an additional leave.

The FEHA provides that a disabled employee is entitled to a reasonable accommodation for their disability. A leave of absence can be a reasonable accommodation. Thus, if an employee needs additional time to recover from a medical condition related to her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, she may be able to take an additional leave of absence. While there is no specific defined time limit for a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation for a disability, the leave of absence must be for a finite duration.

Note: It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail to reasonably accommodate an employee's disability if doing so would not be an undue hardship.

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