In the past several years, information collected by the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Census have demonstrated a trend that women are increasingly waiting longer to have their first child. One of the reasons for this is for the sake of working and career advancement. But prolonging the decision to have children is not without risks. In fact, having a baby past the age of thirty-five is associated with a greater chance of complications, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, blood clots, and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
With pregnancy risks naturally come real concerns, like the health of the mother and the health of the child. In addition, there are concerns about job security if a situation arises where a future mother is unable to work due to a pregnancy-related disability. It is therefore prudent to be aware of your legal rights in such a scenario.
Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)
California employees (whose employer employs five or more people) are entitled to job-protected leave if they are disabled by pregnancy. This is true even if they do not qualify for FMLA or CFRA leave. California Government Code Section 12945 makes it unlawful for an employer to "refuse to allow a female employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition to take a leave for a reasonable period of time". In addition, the California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Section 11035(f) provides guidance as to a pregnancy related disability:
"A woman 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; post-partum depression; childbirth; loss or end of pregnancy; or recovery from childbirth, loss or end of pregnancy."
In addition, the law provides that:
· This reasonable time period is the time during which the employee is "disabled on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition."
· This time cannot exceed four months-which are measured by the employee's normal work schedule.
· This 4 months is independent of CFRA leave and does not run concurrently.
· This time does not all have to be taken at once, and can be taken intermittently.
· The employee must return to work at the end of this leave period.
· The employee can use any accrued vacation leave during this time, but this is the employee's option.
· The employee is entitled to continued group health insurance coverage during their leave. The employee may also be eligible for state disability insurance.
· The employee retains their employment status and the leave shall not constitute a break in service regarding the employee's longevity.
The employer has a right to request "reasonable notice" of the date the leave shall begin and the estimated time the employee expects to be on leave. The employer also has the right to require an employee to use their sick leave during this time.
Call Moss Bollinger to Fight For You
Your health and your pregnancy should be your first priority. If you employer is hesitant or flat-out refusing to allow you to take PDL, you need an attorney. Moss Bollinger is an employee rights law firm that fights for the legal rights of our clients. We take violations of PDL incredibly seriously and will bring the full weight of the law on employers that are acting unlawfully. Call us. We work on a contingency basis and do not receive any money up front. Call the law firm of Moss Bollinger today at 800-249-1175 for a free consultation or use our online form.