CA Maternity Leave Explained by an Employment Lawyer


maternity leave is complicated this

video will make it simple stick around

because I'm going to explain all the

basic laws that pregnant employees in

California need to know




generally yes employers must let women

take maternity leave but the law is not

that simple so let's take a look

first up on our list is the Family

Medical Leave Act or FMLA FMLA is a

federal law that lets women take 12

weeks of maternity leave in any 12-month

span and you don't have to take all of

that leave at one time you can take it

intermittently and what that means is

you can take the lead as you need to

take a week here a week there depending

on your needs

now fmy isn't just for the ladies men if

you have a child and you want to take a

couple weeks after the baby is born to

bond with that child under FMLA you are

allowed to very important thing to know

about FMLA is when you take maternity

leave it is unpaid but in California we

have this cool thing called paid family

leave so stick around you're going to

want to learn a little bit more about

that so what exactly does FMLA let you

take leave for what is maternity leave

mean well you can take lead for prenatal

care obviously you can take leave for

the childbirth bonding with that child

after the baby is born and it's very

importantly you can take a leave of

action for pregnancy disability but

we're going to talk a lot more about

pregnancy disability leave in a minute

finally you can take a leave of absence

under FMLA to care for a foster child

that is placed in your home or if you

adopt a child you can take a leave of

absence now what's really important to

know that FMLA doesn't apply to all

employers in the United States it only

applies to employers that have 50 or

more employees within a 75-mile radius

of your place of work so if you work at

an office in within 75 miles they've got

50 or more employees FMLA applies to

that employer they have to let you take

your leave of absence and they have to

hold your job open for when you come

back also equally important is you have

to have worked for that company for at

least 12 months and during that 12

months you must have put in at least

1,250 hours which is a little bit more

than basic part time finally there's a

another law out there that a lot of

people hear about which is the

California Family Rights Act CFRA

that is the California State

equivalent to FMLA largely mirrors that

statute the only deviations that are

there aren't that important for a basic

video pregnancy disability leave or PDL

this is all about when a woman has

become disabled as a result of the

pregnancy this wonderful California law

lets women take a leave of absence up to

four months long to deal with any

disability stemming from the pregnancy

and the great thing about this law is

unlike FMLA which requires 50 employees

this law applies to all employers in

California that have five or more

employees so if you were denied a

maternity leave under FMLA you still

might be able to get a leave of absence

under the pregnancy disability leave law

because you apply but what's necessary

is that you're disabled let's talk about

that in a minute

just like FMLA you can take this leave

of absence intermittently just like FMLA

it's unpaid but again we're going to

talk about paid maternity leave in a

minute your employer can ask you for

proof well what the heck does proof mean

generally it's a doctor's never right

but your doctor doesn't need to tell the

employer what your disability is your

doctor just needs to certify that you're

unable to perform the essential

functions of the job so what exactly is

a disability under this law well if

you're unable to perform the essential

functions of the job due to a disability

stemming from your pregnancy that can be

a disability or if your doctor certifies

that working as you're working or doing

those job duties or in that environment

would pose an undue risk to the

successful completion of your pregnancy

you might be considered disabled here's

some examples of practical examples that

people can catch onto let's say you have

severe morning sickness or your doctor

due to a complication orders bed rest

for two months or you have preeclampsia

or severe postpartum depression all of

those could be considered a disability

under this law now what's really

important to know that if you have a

disability but you could perform the

essential functions of your job if your

employer would change your job just a

little bit that's called a reasonable

accommodation pregnancy disability leave

lets you ask for reasonable

Asians to let you continue working and

if your employer denies that they break

the law what do I mean by this let's say

you asked for modified duties or

modified hours to deal with your

disability or you asked for a temporary

transfer out of an unsafe work

environment that could be a reasonable

accommodation let's say you ask for a

longer break or a chair to rest on

during your breaks now so long as any of

those requests are reasonable under a

reasonable person standard what a jury

would think if the employer refuses to

give you that accommodation they break

the law that actually is pregnancy

discrimination which we're going to talk

about in a minute

because California is the greatest state

in the Union we have paid family leave

generally every single person who

receives a paycheck pays into state

disability insurance it gets deducted

from their paycheck it's generally on

your pay stub and the state of

California actually the EDD will pay

women fifty five percent of their wages

for six weeks while I'm attorney Lee as

of 2017 the upper limit as to what the

EDD will pay people per week is one

thousand one hundred and seventy-three

dollars there's a wonderful law and it

lets women sometimes take a longer

maternity leave so that they can spend

more time bonding with their child every

pregnant woman in the state of

California needs to know about pregnancy

discrimination the California Fair

Employment and Housing Act or feeha can

be found in the governmental Code

section one two nine four zero at

subsection a says that it is an unlawful

Employment Practice for any employer to

discriminate or terminate or in any way

treat poorly a woman because of her

pregnancy actually says because of her

sex but sex is later defined as

including pregnancy childbirth

breastfeeding and related medical

conditions now what's also cool is that

there's a reasonable accommodation

provision under PDL is under the same

statutory scheme so if you request a

reasonable accommodation and it's denied

laws broken pregnancy discrimination if

you request a reasonable accommodation

and they fire you for making that

request laws broken pregnancy

discrimination has happened so what

happens if you are fired because of your


well you're going to want to call a

lawyer and file a lawsuit well what

would you get a lot of people want to

know how much is my case worth well

every case is different but the types of

remedies that you can get can probably

give you an idea first and foremost you

can get your economic damages these are

your lost wages so say you are making

eighty five thousand dollars a year you

get fired because of your pregnancy

well I'm not making $85,000 a year

anymore it's a very tangible economic

loss that the jury can measure emotional


these are often the largest component of

damages in these pregnancy cases they

are very real and especially in severe

cases they can be absolutely enormous

punitive damages everybody has heard

about punitive damages these are the

damages meant to punish the employer for

the unlawful behavior they're very

difficult to prove because you have to

show that the termination was done with

malice oppression or fraud not easy and

finally in pregnancy discrimination

cases you can also recover your attorney

fees this is a wonderful thing because

one this can be larger than the other

three combined but two is often pushes

cases into early settlement because at

our onion defendants don't want to incur

too much an attorney fee liability if

you need more information about any of

the subjects I've discussed here make

sure you look below the video there's

plenty more