It depends. If your employer has at least five employees, the employer is subject to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), a California law. The FEHA requires employers to allow their employees up to four months of disability leave. However, if an employer provides more than four months of leave for other temporary disabilities, the employer must also offer the same amount of leave to women who have given birth or are having pregnancy-related medical issues.
The federal law that applies to maternity leave is called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). There is also a California statute that is very similar called the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). FMLA/CFRA applies to state, local and federal employers, as well as private employers who employ at least 50 people. If you work for such an employer, you may be entitled to protection under FMLA/CFRA. You also have to have worked for the employer for at least a year, and worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer over the previous year.
If you are eligible for FMLA/CFRA, that means the employer must allow you to have 12 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth of a child. You can also get 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the adoption of a child or the placement of a foster child into your home. You may also choose to take FMLA/CFRA leave intermittently, and that is subject to the employer’s approval.
In some situations, you or your employer may choose to substitute FMLA/CFRA leave with paid leave that has been accrued by the employee, such as sick leave or vacation time. While you are on your FMLA/CFRA leave, your employer is required to continue to maintain your group health insurance benefits, and you will have to make arrangements to pay the premiums in your absence. After you return from FMLA/CFRA leave, you must be restored to your original job or to an equivalent job.
If your employer is covered by FMLA/CFRA, or by the Fair Employment and Housing Act, and is refusing to allow you to take time off following the birth of a child, or has demoted you because of your maternity leave, you may have a claim against that employer. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes women should not be discriminated against because of pregnancy, and that employers who do so should be held accountable. If you are facing pregnancy discrimination in San Francisco, Oakland, or the Bay Area, contact Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco pregnancy discrimination attorney, at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 today.