Pregnancy Disability Leave
In addition to protection against discrimination, California law requires covered employers (generally employers with 5 or more employees) to provide (unpaid) leave of absence for pregnancy disability and for bonding. FEHA’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) applies to most employers that have employed at least 5 employees during the last 20 weeks in a row. It allows employees to take up to 16 weeks off because of disability due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. This includes: prenatal care, severe morning sickness, doctor- ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth and any related medical condition, postnatal care, bed rest, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, post-partum depression, childbirth, loss or end of pregnancy, and recovery from childbirth.
PDL does not allow for time off due to breastfeeding or lactation without medical complications, or for bonding time. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) an the federal Family Rights Act (FMLA) do, however, require covered employers to provide 12-weeks’ worth of leave for eligible employees for bonding with a new child. Eligible employees may request bonding leave under the CFRA or FMLA after any pregnancy disability-related leave is finished, assuming the child has been born by then.
Eligible male employees may also take state and federal protected unpaid leave to bond with a new child, care for a spouse, and for the birth of their child, and may not be discriminated or retaliated against, or harassed for doing so or attempting to do so. This includes reinstating the male employee to the same or comparable position he had when he left for leave.