What kind of leave can pregnant workers take?

In California, most pregnant women can take a total of nearly seven months of job-protected leave under two different state laws.

The California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) law allows all pregnant workers in the state to take up to four months of job-protected pregnancy leave. The law is part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act and applies to all pregnant employees, as long as their employer has at least five employees. The leave can be taken all at once, or in parts as necessary, either before or after the baby is born. Workers are eligible for PDL leave regardless of how long they have been employed or how many hours they have worked.

In addition to the four months of leave under PDL, pregnant employees can take another 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the California New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA). However, to qualify for CRFA you must have worked for your employer for at least one year, and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past year (i.e., three days per week or more). CFRA also only applies to employers with at least 50 employees, but the NPLA extends this to employers with only 20 or more employees. Note that CFRA is essentially California’s equivalent of the federal FMLA law (although the California law is more generous to employees than the FMLA).

Try to give your employer at least 30 days notice before your pregnancy leave starts if at all possible – but if a medical emergency makes this impossible your employer may still be required to grant the leave.

Many laws govern pregnancy leave, and it can be challenging to understand which ones apply to your situation. Contact the experienced San Francisco employment attorneys at McCormack Law Firm to learn more about your rights as a pregnant worker. If you were denied proper pregnancy leave or faced retaliation for taking leave, you may have a pregnancy discrimination claim against your employer. We can help you pursue compensation.

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