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How To Apply For Disability While Pregnant In California

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The Length Of Maternity Leave In Californiaclick To Copy A Link To This Chapter

How Much Does California Pay for Maternity Leave? Disability and PFL Explained

Ch. 1

The Length of Maternity Leave in California

Many employees have the right to take time off during and after the birth of their child. There are generally three types of maternity leave in California:

  • Pregnancy Disability Leave: An employee who has a disability related to her pregnancy or the birth of her child can receive up to four months of maternity leave while that disability continues, as long as certain requirements are met.3
  • Family Leave: Employees that work for employers with five or more employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of family leave to bond with their child, as long as certain requirements are met.4
  • Reasonable Accommodation Leave: Even after an employee has exhausted other types of leave, employers may be required to accommodate their employees pregnancy-related disabilities.5 Sometimes this means giving more time off work.6

These types of leave can be taken consecutively, allowing many employees to enjoy up to seven months of maternity leave per pregnancyand possibly more if additional leave time would be a reasonable accommodation for the employees pregnancy-related disability.7

Employees will sometimes be entitled to pay or benefits during their maternity leave. The right to pay during leave, however, is distinct from the right to take leave in the first place.

But first, well explore the eligibility requirements for the different kinds of unpaid maternity leave in more detail.

Chapter 2

What Types Of Disabilities May Qualify

There are many different types of issues that may cause pregnant employees to be unable to perform their job. Some of the most common examples are:

  • severe morning sickness,
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension, or
  • other serious health conditions.2

This list is not exclusive. So long as the employee is unable to perform at least one essential job function, she is considered disabled under California law. Note that employees should give their bosses at least 30 days advance notice if possible that they need PDL.

How Do I Request Leave

If you need time off for pregnancy disability leave, you may make a verbal or written request to your employer. Whenever possible, this request should be made at least 30 days before the leave is to begin. If you’re unable to provide 30 days’ notice because of an emergency or unexpected change in your condition, you must give notice as soon as it is practical.

If your employer requires a doctor’s certification for other types of disability leave, you may be required to provide a similar certification for your pregnancy disability leave. The doctor’s certification should be in writing and should include the following information:

  • the date on which you became disabled
  • the anticipated length of the disability, and
  • a statement that you are unable to work due to a pregnancy-related disability.

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I Think My Rights To Pdl And/or Reasonable Accommodation Have Been Violated What Do I Do

If you think your rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with DFEH within one year of the date of the violation. Visit or call 1 884-1684 or email . If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please call 884-1684 or 700-2320 or email . You may also be able to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

How Soon After Applying Will I Be Eligible For Benefits From Sdi

How To Apply For Disability In California

There is a seven-day waiting period, which means you won’t get any SDI benefits for the first week you’re off work because of a non-work-related injury or illness. Benefits start on the eighth day. It typically takes SDI 14 days to process an application, so you usually start getting your benefit payments two weeks after you file your claim.

Note: There is no waiting period for Paid Family Leave .

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How Do I Contact The Sdi Program

To get help with questions about the State Disability Insurance program, including Paid Family Leave , you need to contact the Employment Development Department of California. EDD provides a list of ways to contact them about SDI or PFL, including online chat, phone numbers, and office locations.

Tip: If you are contacting EDD by telephone, consider calling one of the non-English phone numbers — it can be quicker to get through on those phones, and the people who answer them know all about SDI and PFL, and speak English in addition to the other language.

Note: DB101 cannot answer questions about your SDI claim. If you have questions, please contact EDD.

Amount Of State Disability Insurance Benefits

An eligible person can get SDI benefits for a maximum of eight weeks. Benefits amount to between 60 to 70 percent of their highest weekly earnings five to 18 months before they filed their claim. This time is known as the claimant’s base period.

If the applicant worked two jobs during their base period, the EDD would look at their earnings from both to calculate the amount. However, the limit is $1,357 a week no matter how much they earn. Applicants can look at the EDD’s SDI benefits chart to calculate how much they’ll get based on their earnings.

Claimants can receive SDI payments for up to 52 weeks. Self-employed people who pay into SDI can get benefits for up to 39 weeks. Applicants in substance abuse rehab can get benefits for only 90 days unless their addiction is a medically certified disability.

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Does Maternity Leave Need To Be Taken All At Once

No, Californias FEHA provides for as much as four months of maternity leave for disabilities related to pregnancy and childbirth. But often disabilities are not continuous. Expecting mothers can take some time off during one trimester, or during an emergency, and then take the rest after delivery. This is called intermittent leave and is considered a reasonable accommodation.

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees if theyre requested and if a health care provider has advised it. Your employer will likely ask you for a doctors note. If intermittent leave is expected, employers may explore a temporary transfer to a similar position with equal pay and benefits.

Who Qualifies & What Are My Rights

Maternity Leave in California – Help!

Under the California Family Rights Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act , parents, regardless of gender, have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to bond with a newborn or a newly-adopted child or foster child provided they have worked for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking leave. The leave must be taken within one year of the babys birth or the childs placement in your home and can be taken intermittently in blocks of time ). Your employer may require that you provide at least 30 days advance notice of your need for parental leave when your need for the leave is foreseeable ).

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Eligibility Requirements For Sdi

To qualify for SDI in California, a claimant must:

  • Show they cannot perform their regular job for a minimum of eight consecutive days.
  • Show work search activity or proof of employment at the time of disability.
  • Show they lost wages due to their disability.
  • Show they earned a minimum of $300, from which the state withheld disability insurance deductions.
  • Show they are under the treatment or care of a religious practitioner or doctor.
  • Complete and send their claim form to the EDD within 49 days of their disability date.
  • Have their doctor complete a section on the form that certifies their disability.

Not all applicants are eligible for SDI benefits. Some of the reasons may include:

  • No actual wage loss. An applicant who continues to work and receives a salary equal to or more than their benefit payment cannot collect SDI.
  • Claiming or receiving UI or Paid Family Leave benefits.
  • Becoming disabled while committing a crime that results in a felony conviction.
  • Being in jail, prison or a recovery home as a result of their conviction.
  • Receiving workers’ compensation payments that are greater or equal to SDI benefits.
  • Failing to complete a medical examination.

Discrimination Prohibited On The Basis Of Pregnancy Or Perceived Pregnancy

It is an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against or harass or retaliate against an employee or applicant because of pregnancy OR “perceived pregnancy.” “Perceived pregnancy” is now specifically defined as “being regarded or treated by an employer as being pregnant or having a related medical condition.”

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Wrlg Attorneys Take Employment Law Cases On A Contingency Fee Basis

If you have a legitimate employment law claim, you shouldnt be denied quality legal representation because you are worried about paying lawyer fees. At WRLG our attorneys represent workers on a contingency fee basis. This means that we get paid only if we recover money for you. We invite you to contact our firm today to find out whether you have a valid claim.

What Is The Fmla And How Can It Impact Your Maternity Leave From Work During Pregnancy

How To Apply For Disability In California For Pregnancy

The FMLA is a federal law that if eligible can help protect your job while youre away from work, for up to 12 weeks during a 12-month period in most circumstances, for family or medical leave, including maternity.

While away, you could apply unused paid time off , vacation time and/or sick days to receive pay while out depending on your employers policy, but usually this time off is not paid. Some states offer paid family and medical leave, so check your states regulations carefully.

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What Are My Employment Rights If I Am Or Become Pregnant

  • If your employer has five or more employees, you are entitled to rights and protections under California state law in the event of pregnancy, childbirth, loss of a pregnancy, and related physical or mental conditions. These rights and protections include the right to reasonable accommodations and the right to time off from work. It is illegal for employers to fire, refuse to hire, bar, harass, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against someone because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition. .
  • If you have at least 12 months of service with your employer , and your employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles of your worksite, you are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the childs birth, adoption, or foster care placement. ).
  • An employer covered by these rules can be one or more individuals, partnerships, corporations, companies, labor organizations, apprentice training programs, employment agencies, or licensing boards. ).

Reinstatement After Pregnancy Disability Leave

The right to take time off work is meaningless if there will be no job for the employee when they return. As such, California law has adopted strong reinstatement protections for employees returning from pregnancy disability leave.

Employees who exercise their right to take pregnancy disability leave are guaranteed a right to return to the same or comparable position, unless certain exceptions apply. The employee may ask the employer to provide this guarantee in writing.27

The most common exception to this right occurs when the employee would not have the same or comparable position, due to legitimate business reasons, even if she hadnt taken pregnancy disability leave.28

If there was a mass layoff, for example, then the employer may be able to show that the employee would have lost her job for legitimate business reasons unrelated to the employee taking pregnancy disability leave.

California law does not, however, allow employers to deny reinstatement on the grounds that preserving the job or duties for the employee would be inconvenient for the employer.

Chapter 3

Family and Bonding Time Leave

Under California law, eligible employees have a right to take up to 12 weeks of family leave per year.29 This leave can be used by both men and women to bond with a new child after its birth, adoption, or foster care placement with the employee.30

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Am I Entitled To Leave To Bond With My New Child

Yes if you qualify. After you take PDL, you may be entitled to 12 additional weeks within 12 months of birth, adoption, or beginning of foster care, to bond with your new child under CFRA. Both parents of the child may be entitled to bonding leave. CFRA leave may be limited to 12 weeks total for both parents if both parents work at the same company. However, CFRA has different requirements than PDL. CFRA leave may also be taken to care for a sick family member. , , & ).

If you are not eligible for leave under CFRA, you may still be eligible for 12 weeks of leave within 12 months of birth, adoption, or beginning of foster care, to bond with your new child under NPLA.

What Is A Pregnancy Disability

PAID Maternity Leave in CALIFORNIA | On $350,000 Yearly Nursing Salary | FIRE MOVEMENT | fatFIRE
  • Pregnancy disability is a physical or mental condition related to pregnancy or childbirth that prevents you from performing essential duties of your job, or if your job would cause undue risk to you or your pregnancys successful completion. Your health care provider should determine whether or not you have a pregnancy disability. & ).
  • Examples of pregnancy disability include severe morning sickness, prenatal or postnatal care, need for bed rest, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, post-partum depression, lactation conditions such as mastitis, loss or end of pregnancy, and recovery from loss or end of pregnancy. ).

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Am I Entitled To Any Leave In Addition To Pdl And Cfra Bonding Leave

Maybe. The FEHA is clear that PDL operates in addition to other provisions of the Act. You, therefore, may be entitled to leave as a reasonable accommodation, even beyond what PDL requires. You may also be entitled to leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act . Both parents are entitled to FMLA leave. See chart below for more FMLA information. DFEH does not enforce FMLA because it is a federal law under the jurisdiction of the United States government. Please visit for more information. Additionally, you may be entitled to leave under FMLA to care for a family member. . Finally, you may be entitled to leave under local ordinances.

What Do Employees Need To Do To Receive Pregnancy Disability Leave In California

Where possible, an employee must notify their employer of their intent to take PDL.

This notice must be provided to an employer at least 30 days prior to the date upon which the employee intends to begin their leave.

An employee should also inform their employer of the estimated duration of leave they anticipate will be required.

Of course, certain situations and medical emergencies may arise that may prevent an employee from providing the requisite 30 days notice.

In these scenarios, an employee should nevertheless provide notice to their employer as soon as practicable.

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How Is A Base Period Determined

For SDI or PFL benefits, your base period is the 12 months from roughly 17 months to roughly 5 months before the start of your disability.

In 2022, the base periods are:

Claims beginning in the months of January, February, or March of 2022:The base period is the 12 months from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

Claims beginning in the months of April, May, or June of 2022:The base period is the 12 months from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

Claims beginning in the months of July, August, or September of 2022:The base period is the 12 months from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

Claims beginning in the months of October, November, or December of 2022:The base period is the 12 months from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Leave To Bond With Your Child 12 Weeks

Can Pregnancy Really Qualify You for Disability?

California provides leave rights under the Family Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act . To be eligible for leave under CFRA, certain requirements must be met. The employee must work for an employer that has at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of the employees worksite. The employee must have worked for their employer more than 12 months. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer of work in the preceding year.

If these requirements are met, the employee is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of family care and medical leave in any given 12-month period. This leave can be used for the purpose of child bonding. To learn more about FMLA & CFRA visit this page that details who is eligible.

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What Is California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law

In California, employers with five or more employees are required to provide pregnancy disability leave under the state’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Act . Pregnant employees may take up to four months of leave during any period of time during which they are unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. This time may be taken before or after the birth of the child and includes time off for severe morning sickness, medically necessary bed rest, childbirth, and recovery from childbirth and any pregnancy-related complications. It also includes routine prenatal or postnatal medical care.

When Should I Start My Maternity Leave

When should I take my maternity leave? Some women begin taking their leave a week to a month before the expected birth because of discomfort or the desire for time to prepare. Others wait until the last moment so they can maximize their time with the baby once it arrives.

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