California Pregnancy Disability Leave

A pregnant woman talking on a phone - California Pregnancy Disability Leave

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on California Pregnancy Disability Leave. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about this important benefit. California Pregnancy Disability Leave ensures that pregnant employees have the necessary time off for their health and the health of their baby. Whether you’re an expectant mother, an employer, or someone interested in understanding the rights and protections surrounding pregnancy leave, this guide is for you.

How The US Compares With The World?

The United States is the only high-income country in the world that does not have a national policy providing paid parental leave. In fact, out of 41 countries, the US is the only country that lacks paid parental leave. While the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave with job protections, this only applies to companies with five or more employees, and many workers still don’t have any access to paid parental leave.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) classifies the total amount of leave available to new parents into three categories: maternity leave, paternity leave, and parental leave. In some cases, parental leave is specifically allocated for mothers only or for fathers only. In other cases, it is available to either parent. Among the 40 OECD countries, maternity leave is a national guarantee, regardless of one’s employer, except for the US. In fact, the US is one of only six countries in the entire world without a national paid parental leave policy.

According to a report by the International Labour Office (ILO), more than 120 countries around the world provide paid maternity leave and health benefits by law, including most industrialized nations except Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The countries that provide the most paid maternity leave by law include the Estonia (86 weeks), Czech Republic (28 weeks), Hungary (24 weeks), Italy (5 months), and Canada (17 weeks).

In the US, maternity leave law varies by state and industry. The FMLA offers parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave with job protections, but only applies to companies with five or more employees. Some states have mandated a maternity leave policy on their own, but the minimum required paid maternity leave in the US is zero weeks.

What is California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

California Pregnancy Disability Leave is a state-mandated leave of absence that provides job-protected time off for employees who experience a pregnancy-related disability. It allows pregnant employees to take time off work without the fear of losing their jobs or suffering adverse employment actions due to their pregnancy.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

To be eligible for Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), the individual must be employed and the employer must be covered by California’s pregnancy disability leave law, which applies to most businesses that have five or more employees. The employee must be disabled by her pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

What are the Duration and Benefits of California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

An eligible employee may take up to four months of leave per pregnancy, which can be dispersed over the course of the pregnancy and childbirth.

PDL is generally unpaid, meaning the employer is not required to pay the worker while she is out on leave. However, employees may receive short-term disability benefits through the California State Disability Insurance program during their pregnancy disability leave. While on PDL, the employer is required to maintain any existing medical coverage and health benefits. Employees may also be entitled to post-childbirth leave under California’s leave laws for new parents.

In California, a standard maternity leave for giving birth vaginally comprises of a combined period of 22 weeks, encompassing four weeks prior to the expected delivery date and 18 weeks following it. During this time, approximately 17 weeks are compensated at a rate of 60-70%. Similarly, for a cesarean birth, the maternity leave duration remains at 22 weeks, with four weeks available before the due date and 18 weeks afterward. However, in the case of a cesarean birth, approximately 19 weeks are paid at a rate of 60-70%.

Take a look at the breakdown provided in the visual representation below to understand the details more comprehensively.

california disability leave
Information from Legal Aid at Work

What Medical Conditions qualify for Pregnancy Disability Leave in California?

The medical conditions that qualify for pregnancy disability leave in California include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Loss of pregnancy
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Postpartum depression
  • Recovery from childbirth
  • Bed rest prescribed by a healthcare provider
  • Severe morning sickness
  • Other pregnancy-related physical and mental conditions that prevent the employee from performing her job duties.

How to Apply for California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

Applying for California Pregnancy Disability Leave involves several steps. It’s essential to follow the proper procedures to ensure a smooth transition during your leave. Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Notify the employer: The employee should notify her employer as soon as possible that she needs to take PDL. The notice should include the expected start and end dates of the leave, and the reason for the leave.
  • Provide medical certification: The employee should provide medical certification from a healthcare provider that she is disabled by her pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition and unable to work. The certification should include the expected duration of the disability.
  • Submit a claim for short-term disability benefits: While PDL is generally unpaid, eligible employees may receive short-term disability benefits through the California State Disability Insurance program during their pregnancy disability leave. The employee can apply for disability benefits by completing a one-time registration with myEDD and then filing a DI claim using SDI Online.
  • Coordinate with the employer: The employee should work with her employer to coordinate the timing and duration of the leave, as well as any other benefits or accommodations that may be available.

What are the Required Forms and Documentation?

When applying for California Pregnancy Disability Leave, you will need to complete specific forms and provide relevant documentation. These may include:

  • Notify the employer: The employee should notify her employer as soon as possible that she needs to take PDL. The notice should include the expected start and end dates of the leave, and the reason for the leave.
  • Provide medical certification: The employee should provide medical certification from a healthcare provider that she is disabled by her pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition and unable to work. The certification should include the expected duration of the disability. A sample health care provider certification form for pregnancy disability leave is available via the Civil Rights Department website.
  • Submit a claim for short-term disability benefits: While PDL is generally unpaid, eligible employees may receive short-term disability benefits through the California State Disability Insurance program during their pregnancy disability leave. The employee can apply for disability benefits by completing a one-time registration with myEDD and then filing a DI claim using SDI Online.
  • Certification of Absence form: The employee is required to complete the Certification of Absence (60-ILL) form when requesting any absence for illness or disability.

Where can I find the Certification of Absence (60-ILL) Form for California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

To obtain the Certification of Absence (60-ILL) form for California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), eligible employees can follow these steps:

  • Go to the Los Angeles Unified School District website.
  • Download the Pregnancy Disability Leave Checklist.
  • Review the checklist to ensure that all necessary forms and documents are completed.
  • The Certification of Absence (60-ILL) form is included in the Pregnancy Disability Leave Checklist.

How to Communicate with Your Employer?

Effective communication with your employer is crucial during the application process and throughout your leave. Maintain open and transparent lines of communication to ensure that all parties are aware of your status and any updates regarding your leave. Keep your employer informed about any changes in your situation that may impact your return to work.

What are the Rights and Protections under California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

Under California law, pregnant employees are provided with certain rights and protections through the Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) provisions. These rights and protections aim to ensure that pregnant individuals have the necessary time off and accommodations during their pregnancy. Here are the key aspects of California Pregnancy Disability Leave:

  • Job Protection: Employees who take PDL are generally entitled to return to the same position they held before taking leave or to a comparable position with similar pay, benefits, and working conditions. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for taking PDL.
  • Continuation of Benefits: During the PDL period, employers are required to maintain the employee’s group health insurance benefits, including medical, dental, and vision coverage, on the same terms as if the employee was actively working.
  • Reasonable Accommodations: Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees with pregnancy-related disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer. Examples of accommodations include modifying work duties, providing alternative assignments, or allowing more frequent breaks.
  • Bonding Leave: In addition to PDL, eligible employees may also be entitled to additional leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for bonding with a newborn or newly adopted child.

What Rights Do I Have To Pump Breastmilk At Work?

In 2020, California implemented a new lactation accommodation law mandating that employers grant employees the necessary break time for expressing milk while at work. The duration of these breaks can be determined by each individual since it varies from person to person. Employers are not obligated to provide compensation for this time, unless the pumping occurs during the employee’s regular break periods.

Furthermore, your workplace must offer a suitable area for expressing milk. This designated space should:

  • Be shielded from view and free from any disturbances
  • Maintain a safe, clean environment without any hazardous substances
  • Include a surface where a breast pump and personal belongings can be placed
  • Provide seating along with access to electricity or alternative devices like extension cords or charging stations
  • Offer access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator suitable for storing milk
  • Importantly, it must not be a restroom!

While these requirements may seem basic, Wutchiett has come across instances where individuals were instructed by their employers to pump milk in inappropriate locations such as a chilled wine room, hallway, or supply closet. Such practices are not acceptable and, as it turns out, they are also not in accordance with the law.

Additionally, employers are obliged to have a lactation policy in place and actively distribute it to employees upon hiring them.

How does Pregnancy Disability Leave differ from Other Types of Maternity Leave?

Here are some key differences between PDL and other types of maternity leave:

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

  • Covers the time a woman is unable to perform work because of pregnancy, childbirth, and their aftermath.
  • Can be covered under state laws, such as California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law.
  • Is not considered maternity leave and is unpaid.

Parental Leave

  • Covers the time after birth or adoption during which a parent (of either sex) cares for the child.
  • Can be covered under federal laws, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California’s Family Rights Act (CFRA).
  • Is unpaid.

Short-Term Disability Leave

  • Can cover part of a woman’s income while she is out of work due to pregnancy and birth.
  • May be available through an employer’s short-term disability plan.
  • May only cover a portion of a woman’s regular salary, typically 50-70%.
  • May have restrictions on when a woman can sign up for coverage, such as not covering preexisting conditions like pregnancy.
  • Is not considered maternity leave and is unpaid.

Conclusion

California Pregnancy Disability Leave is a crucial benefit that ensures pregnant employees have the necessary time off for their health and well-being. Understanding your rights, the application process, and the protections available to you is essential for a smooth leave experience. By following the guidelines provided in this article, you can navigate the process with confidence and make informed decisions regarding your pregnancy leave.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can men take California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

Yes, California Pregnancy Disability Leave is available to both male and female employees who experience a pregnancy-related disability. The law does not discriminate based on gender.

Is California Pregnancy Disability Leave paid?

California Pregnancy Disability Leave provides partial wage replacement through the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. Eligible employees can receive a portion of their regular wages during their leave.

Can I take California Pregnancy Disability Leave for prenatal appointments?

California Pregnancy Disability Leave is primarily intended for employees who experience a pregnancy-related disability. However, you may be entitled to other types of leave, such as reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to attend prenatal appointments.

Can I extend my California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to extend your California Pregnancy Disability Leave beyond the initial four-month period. Consult with your healthcare provider and employer to determine if an extension is necessary and if you qualify for additional leave.

What if my employer denies my California Pregnancy Disability Leave?

If your employer wrongfully denies your California Pregnancy Disability Leave or violates your rights under the law, you have legal options. Consider seeking legal advice from an employment attorney to understand your rights and pursue appropriate action.

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Hi, I'm Sushil Singh, a devoted dad and guiding voice in the transformative journey of parenting, based in Mumbai. Drawing from a decade of firsthand experience and extensive research, I offer authentic insights into prepartum, pregnancy, and postpartum stages at Pregnancy Boss. From joyous milestones to challenging uncertainties, my mission is to provide reliable support and practical advice, helping you navigate this profound journey with confidence. Let's embrace the beauty and complexities of parenthood together. Connect for guidance or shared stories. Cheers to our shared path! 🥂 Social Medial Profiles: Quora Pinterest Twitter Facebook

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