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Common questions about pregnancy disability leave

During pregnancy and childbirth, many complications and conditions can arise. In some cases, pregnancy complications can affect your ability to work.

In California, employers with five or more employees must provide time off and reasonable accommodations for employees with pregnancy disabilities.

What is a pregnancy disability?

A pregnancy disability is a pregnancy-related physical or mental condition that affects your ability to work.

Examples of pregnancy disabilities may include:

  • Hyperemesis gravidarum
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Hypertension
  • Pregnancy loss

If you have such a condition or your normal work duties put your pregnancy at risk, your doctor can recommend pregnancy disability leave (PDL).

How much time off should I receive?

The exact amount depends on your disability, but the law entitles you to up to four months of PDL regardless of how long you have worked for your employer. However, if your employer offers more than four months of leave for non-pregnancy-related disabilities, then the employer must offer the same amount to you, if you need it.

You may also choose to use vacation days or other paid days off during PDL, and your employer may require you to use sick days.

Can I lose my job or benefits?

The law protects your rights during pregnancy disability leave, including the right to remain on your employer’s health care plan. Your employer may temporarily transfer you to another position to accommodate your needs; however, your employer must allow you to return to your previous position or an equivalent after your PDL ends.

It is illegal for your employer to punish or fire you for requesting PDL. However, PDL does not protect you from a layoff or other action not related to your pregnancy.

Pregnancy complications can make it difficult to work, but the law protects your right to receive accommodations from your employer.


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