California Maternity And Paternity Leave Laws
When you have a new baby or adopt a child, you need time off to bond and care for the new family member. California maternity and paternity leave laws ensure your right to this time and provide you with legal protections to return to work afterwards.
Under California law, all new mothers have a right to maternity leave. Unfortunately, these laws can be confusing for many workers, as many different laws apply and each have some exceptions. Understanding the following laws can make all the difference in ensuring your rights as an employee.
How Much Maternity Leave Can I Take?
In California, new mothers are entitled to a decent amount of paid and unpaid maternity leave beyond the requirements in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Altogether, most mothers are entitled to up to seven months of maternity leave during pregnancy and after the arrival of a new child, depending on the complications surrounding the birth. New mothers can take voluntary leave to bond with a new child of up to six weeks under California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) Act and twelve weeks under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). This is in addition to up to four months of maternity leave certified as medically necessary by a doctor under the Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) Law.
Is California Maternity Leave Paid?
Some should be. Under California state’s disability insurance (SDI) and PFL, you should be entitled to your partial salary (55%) for part of your maternity leave. PFL provides any California employee with up to 6 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child every year. In addition, SDI should pay for any time taken off work for pregnancy-related disabilities certified by a doctor up to the maximum provided for under PDL. These paid leaves can be taken consecutively.
Anyone in California is entitled to six weeks of paid family leave under the PFL, including new fathers. This can be used for paid paternity leave. In addition, fathers can take advantage of the CFRA to take an additional 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave. How you choose to allocate this time is up to you.
How a California Employment Lawyer Can Protect Your Job Under Family Leave Laws
After taking either maternity or paternity leave, you are entitled to return to your position and earn the same salary as before taking family leave. During this time, you should accrue benefits, retirement pensions, and seniority just as you would while working. If your company tries to deny you this, you have have legal recourse. A California employment lawyer can help protect your job and pursue damages for pregnancy or family leave-related discrimination.
At Wakeford Gelini, we’ve been fighting on behalf of our clients’ family leave rights for over 20 years. Call us today to learn more about your rights under California maternity and paternity leave laws or find out how we can help protect your job.