California's Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) Law

When an expectant mother’s complications are so severe that she cannot perform her regular work-related duties,the California PDL law protects her right to take care of herself and her child without fear of risking her employment status.

In many such cases, an obstetrician will tell an expecting mother that she needs to be on bed rest or hospitalized, both of which could inhibit her from working. Because a pregnancy complication can adversely affect the mother’s health, the baby’s health, or both, it cannot be overlooked.

What Is Pregnancy Disability Leave?

If a woman is experiencing pregnancy complications, there are laws in place that protect her from losing her job. Under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), employees have the right to take unpaid leave for a pregnancy-related medical condition.

Which employees are protected under PDL?

To qualify for PDL, you must meet both of the following conditions:

  • You must be disabled due to your pregnancy or childbirth, and
  • You must work for an employer with at least 5 employees.

Since PDL covers so many workers, employees who are not protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act and California’s Family Rights Act (FMLA/CFRA), may be entitled to unpaid leave under PDL for a pregnancy-related condition.

What does PDL provide?

  • Up to 4 months of leave for severe morning sickness, or other complications related to pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women are also entitled to accommodations at work such as modified duties, a chair, and frequent bathroom breaks.

If you have paid into the State Disability Insurance (SDI), there is a possibility that you may qualify for SDI disability payments while you are on disability leave for as long as your leave is medically necessary.

By law, an employer cannot retaliate against a woman for requesting leave under PDL. If you qualify for pregnancy disability leave, your employer cannot harass you for leaving, refuse to promote you for leaving, or deny a valid leave request.

Get in Touch with a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by your employer because of your pregnancy disability, contact an employment law attorney in Los Angeles at Alan Burton Newman, PLC for a free consultation! Our Harvard attorney has a high rate of success and can provide the assistance you need to seek justice in the workplace.