Unlike FMLA which overlaps with pregnancy leave / pregnancy disability leave in California, CFRA (California Family Rights Act) provides for another, additional important right to women with a newborn child – additional leave for baby bonding time after the previously used PDL (pregnancy disability leave) expires. The law specifically provides that following a pregnancy disability leave, an employee will still have the right to take a CFRA leave of up to 12 weeks “for reason of the birth of her child, if the child has been born by this date” (provided that the entire CFRA leave was not taken prior to the pregnancy disability leave). 2 Cal.C.Regs section 11046(c).
If the maximum amount of both types of leave is taken, the maximum total leave entitlement will be 4 months plus 12 workweeks (4 months of pregnancy disability leave under the PDLL, of which 12 weeks may also be FMLA leave plus 12 workweeks of CFRA leave).
An employee is only entitled to use the maximum amount of pregnancy leave if she was actually disabled by pregnancy for four months. She is entitled to the CFRA leave only if she meets CFRA eligibility rules and has not previously used the CFRA leave for another purpose.
Upon granting the PDLL leave or transfer, an employer must guarantee to reinstate the employee to the same or a comparable position at the company. At the employee’s request, the employer must provide the guarantee of reinstatement in writing.
Going on pregnancy leave can be a challenging time for both employees and employers. The employee has to juggle between her career and health as well as expecting the baby. The employer, on the other hand, might face the challenge of having the work done that will not be performed for a significant period of time by their pregnant worker. Knowing a pregnant employee’s basic leave rights should be helpful to both sides in finding an effective solution to those challenges, if the employer in fact wish to do what’s right under the law.