Written by attorney Angelo Felice Campano

Do's and Dont's for California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

General Rule: California Pregancy Disability Leave (PDL) applies to a business with 5 or more employees and gives an employee a right to four (4) months of unpaid pregancy leave.

If facing a possible Pregnancy Disability Leave, both employers and employees should keep in mind the following do's and dont's for PDL:

  1. Pregnancy Disability Leave DOES NOT have to be continuous. (An employee can break the 4 months up but not use more than 4 months).
  2. An employer DOES NOT have to give health insurance benefits (unless employer already does or some other law applies);
  3. An employer CAN require employee to use accrued sick leave;
  4. An Employee CAN use accrued sick leave, vacation leave, or other credits during the unpaid PDL; BUT employer CANNOT require employee use vacation or other credits during unpaid leave;
  5. An Employee DOES NOT have to work any period of time to be eligible for PDL (an employee can work 1 hour on a new job and give the employer notice);
  6. An Employee CAN be part time or full time and be entitled to PDL;
  7. An Employee MUST be actually disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition;
  8. An Employee MUST have medical provider certify the PDL disability;
  9. An Employer MUST provide reasonable accommodation when requested with advice of employee's medical provider;
  10. An Employee MUST be unable to perform one or more essential functions of her job without undue risk to herself or other persons.
  11. An Employee HAS TO give employer at least 30 days notice before disability/transfer begins unless not possible for several reasons. Then, notice should be given as soon as practicable and should provide estimated dates of leave;
  12. If employee wants to return earlier than thought (before 4 months runs out), employer MUST reinstate employee with 2 business days of her notice;
  13. An Employee who returns within 4 month period is GUARANTEED right to return to same position;
  14. An Employer CAN reinstate employee to comparable position if same position no is longer available due to reasons other than pregnancy. If so, employer should offer comparable job in terms of pay, location, job content, and promotional opportunities;
  15. An Employer CANNOT refuse to provide original position even if temp employee is better or even if employer found problems with performance that existed prior to her leaving.

Additional resources provided by the author

For further information, visit the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing at Or, contact Campano Law Group at or at 661-945-5300.

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