Avoiding The Pitfalls of Maternity Leave

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    pregnant mother with baby at beach

    When you hear the news about your pregnancy, typically there is a wave of emotion that goes through you. You are ecstatic by the fact that soon you will be holding your bundle of joy, but quite often that happiness is short-lived when the anxiety of taking a maternity leave starts to surge in your mind. You start planning for the conditions of your maternity leave, and that starts to stress you out which is not good for the well being of the baby, or for you.

    Fortunately, California has a very generous maternity leave plan. This plan would help you answer all of your maternity leave queries and help you decide the appropriate course of action for your condition. First and foremost you need to know what these laws are and what are their terms, and where do they apply and that is where you make your moves.

    Pregnancy disability leave:

    Pregnancy disability leave is a kind of maternity leave that is applicable for women whose health is endangered during their pregnancy or unable to conduct one or more essential office task due to their condition. The other requirements for disability leave to be possible is that the employer of the said female worker should be covered by the State’s pregnancy disability leave law by employing five or more employees regularly.

    If these requirements are met, the pregnant employee can take her maternity leave. However, this particular form of leave cannot exceed four months.

    A pregnant woman is legally disabled when she cannot perform one or more essential office functions or if she has the following conditions according to her health care provider:

    • Severe morning sickness;
    • Pre-natal or post-natal care;
    • Pre-eclampsia;
    • Bed rest;
    • Childbirth;
    • Postpartum depression;
    • Loss or end of pregnancy;
    • Recovery from childbirth.

    Various other conditions can deem a woman disabled during her pregnancy hence granting them the right to the disability maternity leave.

    Now we talk about when and how to provide your disability maternity leave notice. So if your conditions are foreseeable, then you must submit your Notice of Leave along with your medical certificate within 30 days. However, if the pregnancy is unforeseeable and it is more of an emergency, then you must provide the notice as soon as possible.

    The employer has the right to ask for a medical certificate explaining your disability which you cannot deny. It would be better if you give both your notice and your medical certificate together however if that’s not the case then the medical certificate should be given within the next two days.

    If the all the requirements of the disability maternity leave are met then the employer has no right to deny your leave. In the event of an unexpected pregnancy, you must provide your notice as soon as practicable along with the required documentation then a covered employer has no right to deny your leave.

    We now talk about the reinstatement of your maternity leave. It would be useless if you going on leave only to know that you won’t be reinstated at your current job. With this too, the state of California has specific generous laws lined up for you to avoid the pitfalls of maternity leave.

    The employee who takes a disability leave has been guaranteed a return to the same or a similar job and the employer has to provide this agreement in written form.

    If in any case, however, the employer cannot offer the same kind of job to the employee after the leave due to some business reason then he must state it clearly that the same job could not be provided and the pregnancy Leave had nothing to do with it.

    Family Leave:

    California law states that a pregnant employee can take up to 12 weeks of family leave per year. The best aspect of this Leave is that it is not gender specific i.e., it can be illegible for both and women who want to bond with the new addition to their family, be it the child they have birthed or adopted or the one who has been put under foster care with them.

    For women who have already taken the pregnancy disability leave, this is a good chance to avail some extra time with your family. This leave can then exceed seven months depending on the condition and duration of your disability maternity leave. Below are the three requirements that should be met for the family Leave to be applicable:

    1. At least 20 Employees must be hired within 75 miles of working cite of the said employee by the employer;
    2. the employee must have worked at least 12 months at that particular working cite;
    3. The duration of work in the past 12 months for the said employee should meet up to 1,250 hours.

    The next thing that they need to keep in consideration is the notice they are going to give to their employer for them to grant you the leave. The information that you need to provide is as follows:

    • The time when you are going to take the leave;
    • The duration you think you would need for the leave;
    • Any substantial information for the employer to have an idea for the said employee’s family Leave.

    Like in the case of the pregnancy leave if the leave is foreseeable then you must inform your employer 30 days prior, if not then provide them notice as soon as practically possible.

    Also, Your employer has the right to ask questions regarding the leave under applicable law, and you cannot deny that request if need be you must provide written notices or proper documentation that would cater to your employer’s investigative needs.

    Reinstatement after the family maternity leave is much like the pregnancy disability maternity leave. The employer must provide you with the same job you had before, with the same benefits and job requirements. If in any case, that position is somehow unavailable then the employer must provide the employee with a position that has the same sense of job and similar benefits.

    California undoubtedly has the most generous maternity leave laws one which every working mother should be aware of because these rules can come in handy a lot. Know your labor rights so when the time comes, you know the protections they provide. The prospect of taking a maternity leave would no longer bother you as much as it initially did, so sit back and enjoy the experiences motherhood brings with it.

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