Employment Lawyers in Los Angeles

Your Rights with Pregnancy Disability Leave

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is a provision of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that allows employees to take up to four months of protected time off because of pregnancy-related medical conditions. PDL is an important right for women in all kinds of industries and professions. If you need to exercise the right to take job-protected leave with PDL, you should understand the law and ensure that your entitlements are fully secure.

Employer Requirements for PDL

In California, an employer who has five or more employees is required by law to give employees the right to PDL. In addition, pregnancy is protected against unlawful discrimination from an employer, especially for employment privileges, conditions, and compensation. While on PDL, the employee has specific protections and guarantees that are protected under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

Options Available While on Leave

There are several key factors to know about PDL:

  • You may take longer than 4 months of leave if employer policy provides more
  • You may take “intermittent” PDL broken up into hours, days, weeks, or months
  • You are entitled to continued health benefits while on leave
  • You are entitled to wage replacement with State Disability Insurance (SDI)
  • You have the right to return to the same position after PDL
  • You cannot be penalized or discriminated against for requesting PDL

Requests for PDL must be given in verbal or written notice to an employer. The request should include the reason for taking leave and how long the leave is planned to be. An employer cannot force you to take PDL as long as you are able to perform the vital functions of your job.

You are able to use sick days and/or vacation days during pregnancy disability leave, but your employer cannot require you to use this paid leave while on PDL—it is up to you, the employee, to decide. Some employers may require medical certification as part of requesting PDL.

Temporary Transfers & Accommodations

While on PDL, you are eligible for temporary transfers and restrictions of duty if you meet certain conditions. There are three essential requisites:

  • Your employer has 5 or more employees
  • Your employer’s health care provider recommends the transfer/accommodation
  • Your request is considered “reasonable” in the situation

“Reasonable” is a flexible term—moving to a less strenuous positions, taking longer breaks, working from home, and other job duty modifications may all be considered reasonable requests in many situations.

Child-Bonding Leave

Along with rights and protections for pregnancy leave and PDL, the CFRA also has provisions for time off to bond with a new child. If you’re covered, you may take up to 12 weeks off each year for unpaid job-protected leave to bond with your newborn, adopted, or foster child.

You may be eligible for bonding leave under CFRA with the following:

  • You have worked for your employer for at least one year
  • Your employer has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius of the worksite
  • You have worked at least 1,250 hours in 12 months leading up to taking leave

This leave must be completed within 12 months of birth, adoption, or fostering of the child. This may also be used to care for a loved one who has a serious health condition not related to pregnancy (spouses, parents, partners, etc.). Bonding leave may be taken in addition to PDL.

Are Your Rights Being Violated?

The law is very clear on the rights and privileges of employees, but it still takes the competence and willingness of your employer to correctly enact the PDL procedure. Employers make mistakes, and unfortunately, employers sometimes take advantage of or unlawfully discriminate against their employees.


If your right to PDL is being violated, you deserve to have your voice heard. Contact our Los Angeles employment attorney and discuss your situation in a free consultation!


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