Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave in California: Understanding Your Rights

Welcoming a new addition to your family is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful and overwhelming experience – especially if you’re concerned about your job and finances while you’re away from work. Fortunately, California law provides some of the most extensive maternity leave protections in the country. Here’s what you need to know about maternity leave in California.

What is Maternity Leave?

Maternity leave is time off from work that is granted to an employee who is pregnant, has recently given birth, or has adopted a child. The purpose of maternity leave is to allow new parents to bond with their children and recover from the physical and emotional demands of childbirth, without the fear of losing their job or income.

How Long is Maternity Leave in California?

Under California law, eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This leave may be taken all at once, or in increments as needed for medical reasons or to care for a newborn or adopted child. In addition, California’s Paid Family Leave program provides up to 8 weeks of partial wage replacement for employees who take time off to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member.

Who is Eligible for Maternity Leave in California?

Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), eligible employees are entitled to maternity leave if they work for an employer with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius and if they have worked for that employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past year. In addition, the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL) provides up to 4 months of job-protected leave for employees who are disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, regardless of the size of their employer.

What Protections do Employees have while on Maternity Leave?

During maternity leave, an employer must maintain the employee’s health insurance coverage, and may not terminate the employee’s employment or retaliate against them for taking leave. In addition, an employer must restore the employee to the same or a comparable position upon their return to work, and may not discriminate against the employee based on their pregnancy or family status.

How to Request Maternity Leave in California?

To request maternity leave, an employee should provide their employer with at least 30 days’ notice, or as much notice as is practicable under the circumstances. The employee should also provide a doctor’s certification of their need for leave, if required by their employer’s policies or if they are seeking protected leave under the PDLL.

In conclusion, maternity leave is an important right for new parents, and California law provides strong protections to ensure that employees can take time off to bond with their children without fear of losing their jobs or income. If you have questions about your rights to maternity leave or if your employer has violated your rights, contact Jonny Law for a consultation. He can help you understand your legal rights and options, and advocate on your behalf to ensure that you are treated fairly under the law.

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