California provides workplace protections for pregnancy and its related symptoms. Pregnant women cannot face job loss if they must miss time due to their pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act affords pregnant women the right to take leave from their job without repercussions. Find out more about what legal protections women have against dismissal for pregnancy.
What aspects of pregnancy does it cover?
California law aims to ensure that women are not discriminated against if and when they become pregnant. Although many women may be able to work throughout the entirety of their pregnancy with little to no downtime, other pregnancies may require more time away from the workplace for situations such as:
- Severe morning sickness
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy loss
How much leave time does the Act allow?
Under the law, a woman may take up to four months of pregnancy disability leave. The time away from the workplace is unpaid unless the employee has vacation time available. An employer cannot dictate when an employee takes this time. An employee may exercise this time all at once or in necessary increments depending on her needs. There is no minimum service requirement for pregnancy disability leave.
What happens with maternity leave?
What about maternity leave? Even if a woman exercises pregnancy disability leave, she is still eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child. An employer cannot shorten this time even if the worker was out on pregnancy disability leave prior. The two are separate events.
It is important for women to know that protection against job loss exists should a pregnancy require time off.