From the reading I have done in regards to pregnancy leave I see that California has two provisions for pregnant working women – the California Pregnancy Leave Act, and the California Family Medical Leave Act. In certain cases, both acts can be used separately, to give a woman the maximum time she needs to take care of her child or herself. However, both are unpaid leaves, and can also affect a woman’s seniority and benefits in her organization.
The Pregnancy Disability Act covers all employers with five or more employees. It gives the pregnant employee up to four months disability leave. This leave doesn’t have to be taken all at once, and can be taken either before or after pregnancy. Time off can be used for prenatal care, severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, or any related medical condition. If the employee’s doctor requests it, the employee is entitled to reasonable accommodations for her condition, including transfer to less strenuous or hazardous duty for the duration of the pregnancy. On her end, the employee must provide her employer with at least 30 days advance notice of her leave date, as well as an estimate of how long she intends to be gone. She may also be required to submit a doctor’s written note to confirm her condition and her estimated schedule.
Employers with fifteen or more employees are required to provide health insurance for pregnancy on the same terms as it is provided for other types of conditions or disabilities. An employer may require an employee to use her accrued sick leave during any unpaid portion of her pregnancy disability leave. The employee may also use vacation leave credits to receive compensation during an otherwise unpaid portion of her pregnancy disability leave. However, an employer may not require an employee to use vacation leave or other accrued time off during pregnancy disability leave. It would be the woman’s choice if she decided to use all of the paid time off she was allotted.
When she returns, a woman is guaranteed to return to her same position. If her same position is no longer available, such as in a layoff due to plant closure, the employer must offer a position that is comparable in terms of pay, location, job content, and promotional opportunities, unless the employer can prove that no comparable position exists.
If an employee believes that she was discriminated against due to pregnancy, she can then choose to petition the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing. As with all labor laws it seems to me it would helpful to have access to all the information regarding leave so that I could become knowledgeable about any impending leave I may need to take. The California Complete Labor Law poster contains all of the current state, federal, and OSHA laws. It reflects the information regarding leave all on one convenient posting.