If you are pregnant, have a related medical condition, or are recovering from childbirth, YOU HAVE LEGAL RIGHTS!
• California law protects employees against discrimination or harassment because of an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or any related medical condition (referred to below as “because of pregnancy”). California law also prohibits employers from denying or interfering with an employee’s pregnancy-related employment rights.
• Your employer has an obligation to: ° reasonably accommodate your medical needs related to pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions (such as temporarily modifying your work duties, providing you with a stool or chair, or allowing more frequent breaks); ° transfer you to a less strenuous or hazardous position (where one is available) or duties if medically needed because of your pregnancy; and ° provide you with pregnancy disability leave (PDL) of up to four months (the working days you normally would work in one-third of a year or 17 1/3 weeks) and return you to your same job when you are no longer disabled by your pregnancy or, in certain instances, to a comparable job. Taking PDL, however, does not protect you from non-leave related employment actions, such as a layoff. ° provide a reasonable amount of break time and use of a room or other location in close proximity to the employee’s work area to express breast milk in private as set forth in the Labor Code.
• For pregnancy disability leave: ° PDL is not for an automatic period of time, but for the period of time that you are disabled by pregnancy. Your health care provider determines how much time you will need. ° Once your employer has been informed that you need to take PDL, your employer must guarantee in writing that you can return to work in your same position if you request a written guarantee. Your employer may require you to submit written medical certification from your health care provider substantiating the need for your leave. ° PDL may include, but is not limited to, additional or more frequent breaks, time for prenatal or postnatal medical appointments, doctor-ordered bed rest, severe morning sickness, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, recovery from childbirth or loss or end of pregnancy, and/or post-partum depression. ° PDL does not need to be taken all at once but can be taken on an as-needed basis as required by your health care provider, including intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule, all of which counts against your four month entitlement to leave. ° Your leave will be paid or unpaid depending on your employer’s policy for other medical leaves. You may also be eligible for state disability insurance or Paid Family Leave (PFL), administered by the California Employment Development Department. ° At your discretion, you can use any vacation or other paid time off during your PDL. ° Your employer may require or you may choose to use any available sick leave during your PDL. ° Your employer is required to continue your group health coverage during your PDL at the same level and under the same conditions that coverage would have been provided if you had continued in employment continuously for the duration of your leave. ° Taking PDL may impact certain of your benefits and your seniority date. ° If possible, you must provide at least 30 days’ advance notice for foreseeable events (such as the expected birth of a child or a planned medical treatment for yourself). For events that are unforeseeable, you to notify your employer, at least verbally, as soon as you learn of the need for the leave. Failure to comply with these notice rules is grounds for, and may result in, deferral of the requested leave until you comply with the notice policy.
• Give your employer reasonable notice: To receive reasonable accommodation, obtain a transfer, or take PDL, you must give your employer sufficient notice for your employer to make appropriate plans. Sufficient notice means 30 days advance notice if the need for the reasonable accommodation, transfer, or PDL is foreseeable, otherwise as soon as practicable if the need is an emergency or unforeseeable.
• Provide a Written Medical Certification from Your Health Care Provider. Except in a medical emergency where there is no time to obtain it, your employer may require you to supply a written medical certification from your health care provider of the medical need for your reasonable accommodation, transfer or PDL. If the need is an emergency or unforeseeable, you must provide this certification within the time frame your employer requests, unless it is not practicable for you to do so under the circumstances despite your diligent, good faith efforts. Your employer must provide at least 15 calendar days for you to submit the certification. See your employer for a copy of a medical certification form to give to your health care provider to complete.
• If you fail to give your employer reasonable advance notice or, if your employer requires it, written medical certification of your medical need, your employer may be justified in delaying your reasonable accommodation, transfer, or PDL.
Additional Rights under California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Leave • You also may be entitled to additional rights under the California Family Rights Act of 1993 (CFRA) if you have more than 12 months of service with your employer and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period before the date you want to begin your leave. This leave may be up to 12 workweeks in a 12-month period for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of your child or for your own serious health condition (not related to pregnancy) or that of your child, parent or spouse. While the law provides only unpaid leave, employees may choose or employers may require use of accrued paid leave while taking CFRA leave under certain circumstances.
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