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California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law

Pregnancy changes women’s bodies in many ways. Some changes are obvious to everyone--your belly gets bigger over the course of nine months.  Others may be obvious only to the woman who is pregnant—exhaustion, nausea, and strange food cravings.  While these changes may be normal features of a healthy pregnancy, they can also be disabling in that they can making your normal workday impossible to bear.

California has a law protecting women who are disabled during pregnancy—the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law.  This law allows women to take up to 16 weeks of leave for a disability related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.  Severe morning sickness is just one example of a disability covered by this law. 

Pregnancy Disability Leave Law is different from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  In fact, in California, more employers are covered under Pregnancy Disability Leave Law than are covered under either the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act.  This is because all California employers with at least 5 employees are covered by Pregnancy Disability Leave Law.  So, even if your employer tells you they do not offer FMLA or CFRA, you may still be entitled to time off from work to accommodate a pregnancy related disability.

Depending upon the size of your employer and other factors, after you take time for a pregnancy related disability, you may be entitled to an additional 12 weeks of leave from work to bond with your newborn child.  This means some women may be entitled to up to 28 weeks of leave if they have a pregnancy related disability and then choose to take time to bond with their newborn. You should consult an attorney or other knowledgeable professional to determine the various types of leave that may apply to your situation and the ways in which these laws interact.

For more information on Pregnancy Disability Leave, or other leave time available to pregnant women and parents, visit or call Attorney Sarah B. Schlehr directly at (310) 492-5757.

This Belly Scoop has been sponsored by Ms. Pregnancy Lawyer, Sarah B. Schlehr!


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Sarah Schlehr, your pregnancy lawyer






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