California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law covers most workers in California. Unlike many of the other leave laws, the PDLL covers part time workers and coverage begins immediately. So, if an employee becomes disabled by pregnancy soon after they are hired, their employer is obligated to reasonably accommodate them or allow them to take a leave of absence. The primary requirement to be covered by this law is that the employer has at least 5 employees.
Pregnancy in and of itself is not a disability. However, under the law, a person is disabled if, in the opinion of her health care provider, she is unable to perform one or more of her essential job functions, or unable to perform her job functions without undue risk to herself, the successful completion of her pregnancy, or other persons. Some common examples of a disability due to pregnancy include: a woman suffering from severe morning sickness, a woman who needs time off for prenatal care, or a woman who needs to recover from childbirth.
After a pregnancy disability leave or transfer under the PDLL, employees are guaranteed the right to return to the same position. If the employee’s position is no longer available for reasons unrelated to the pregnancy or leave of absence, 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.
Though leave under the PDLL is unpaid, an employee may be eligible for partial wage reimbursement by applying for Short Term Disability through California’s Employment Development Department (EDD). In addition, employers need to maintain the employee’s health insurance at the same level they would maintain it if the employee did not take leave.
Employers are prohibited from taking any adverse action against an employee because the employee has taken leave under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law. Adverse actions might include termination, demotion, or a transfer to a less desirable position or location.
Yes! If there are at least 5 employees working at your company, then you are eligible for pregnancy disability as soon as you begin your employment.
Your employer can require you to use your accrued sick leave while you are on a leave of absence for a pregnancy related disability. It is your choice whether or not to use your accrued vacation leave while you are taking leave under the PDLL.
It is always a good idea to obtain a doctor’s note if you need reasonable accommodations or time off work because of a disability. The law requires you to provide a medical certification if your employer asks for one.