California Maternity Leave Rights Associated with Pregnancy and Childbirth

By Corey Hanrahan

Greater Pregnancy Leave Rights Under California Law

Many employees are aware that California and Federal law both provide protected leaves due to pregnancy, and leave for bonding with a new child. However, not many employees realize that California maternity leave laws provide a greater leave entitlement than Federal law.

“…This Pregnancy Disability Leave entitlement is separate from, and distinct from, leave entitlement under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”)…”

Federal Leave Entitlement

Under Federal Law, employees are entitled to bonding leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Additionally, leave for the employee’s own incapacity due to pregnancy or childbirth is also included in, and counted as, leave under the FMLA. Under the FMLA, an employee who meets the eligibility requirements is entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave for her own pregnancy disability and for bonding leave. 

California Leave Entitlement

California maternity leave laws and Pregnancy discrimination are more protective. Under California law, an employee is entitled to up to four months of Pregnancy Disability Leave for a disability due to the employee’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. This Pregnancy Disability Leave entitlement is separate from, and distinct from, leave entitlement under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). California law, unlike Federal law, expressly provides that this Pregnancy Disability Leave does not run concurrently with the employee’s right to bonding leave under the CFRA. In short, Pregnancy Disability Leave and CFRA are two separate and distinct rights for employees. 

Therefore, under California law, if an employee qualifies for, and uses, the maximum amount of Pregnancy Disability Leave and CFRA leave, the maximum leave entitlement would be four months plus 12 workweeks (unlike Federal law, which only provides for a total of 12 workweeks of leave). 

If you feel you have been denied full leave entitlement under California or Federal law, for a pregnancy or for any other reason, call Attorney Hanrahan at (619) 377-6522, or email him at corey@hanrahanfirm.com to set up a consultation.