by Sayema Hameed
California’s new Pregnancy Disability Leave regulations took effect on December 30, 2012. The new regulations, which can be found in Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations, Sections 7291.2 through 7291.18, were adopted to provide clarity and guidance to employers and employees regarding their respective rights and responsibilities concerning pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Government Code Sections 12940-12951 (“FEHA”).
FEHA’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law
FEHA, which applies to employers with five (5) or more full or part-time employees, contains specific provisions concerning pregnancy and pregnancy leave. Under FEHA, it is unlawful for an employer to harass or discriminate against an employee because of pregnancy. In addition, under FEHA, an employer is required to provide up to four (4) months of job-protected disability leave to a female employee “disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” An employer may require an employee who plans to take pregnancy disability leave to give the employer “reasonable notice” of the date that the leave will commence and the estimated duration of the leave. If an employer provides health benefits under any group health plan, the employer is obligated to maintain and continue to pay for the employee’s health insurance coverage for up to four (4) months while the employee is out on pregnancy disability leave. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodation (including, if reasonable, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position) to a pregnant employee upon request, with the advice of her health care provider, related to her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. Gov’t Code