California When To Notify Employer Of Pregnancy • What Are My Rights As A Pregnant Employee In California

Summary: As per California law, an employer must be notified of an employee’s pregnancy within a certain timeframe in order for the expectant mother to be eligible for pregnancy-related leave and benefits. This article will cover the specific guidelines related to notifying one’s employer of pregnancy in California.

1. Notification Guidelines

According to California law, an employee must provide written notice of their pregnancy to their employer at least 30 days prior to the anticipated start date of their pregnancy leave. If the employee is unable to give 30 days’ notice due to unforeseeable circumstances, they must provide the notice as soon as practicable.

The written notice should include the expected due date and the intended start and end dates of the leave. Proof of pregnancy may be required by the employer, such as documentation from a doctor or midwife.

It is important to note that California law does not require the employee to use specific language to indicate pregnancy. Any written notice indicating pregnancy and the intention to take pregnancy-related leave will suffice.

2. Employer Obligations

Once an employer has been notified of an employee’s pregnancy, they have certain obligations to fulfill under California law. Employers must provide up to four months of job-protected pregnancy leave to eligible employees. The leave can be taken all at once or intermittently, as needed.

Employers are also required to maintain the employee’s health insurance coverage during the leave period. If the employee paid a portion of their health insurance premium before going on leave, the employer is required to continue making these payments during the leave.

Additionally, employers must allow the employee to return to the same position or a comparable position upon the employee’s return from pregnancy leave.

3. Determining Eligibility

In order to be eligible for pregnancy-related leave and benefits in California, employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12-month period. This means that new employees may not be eligible for pregnancy-related benefits if they have not yet met these requirements.

However, some employers may offer pregnancy-related leave and benefits to all employees, regardless of eligibility. It is important for employees to review their employer’s policies and procedures regarding pregnancy leave and benefits to determine their eligibility.

If an employee becomes eligible for pregnancy-related benefits while already on leave for a different reason, the employer must allow the employee to switch to pregnancy-related leave and receive the associated benefits.

4. Protection Against Discrimination

Under California law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This includes discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, and other employment practices. Employers must also provide reasonable accommodations to employees who experience pregnancy-related disabilities or limitations, such as modified work duties or additional break time.

If an employee believes they have been discriminated against due to pregnancy, they have the right to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within one year of the incident. The DFEH will conduct an investigation and may pursue legal action on behalf of the employee if discrimination is found.

Employers found to have violated pregnancy discrimination laws may face fines and other penalties, and may be required to provide compensation and/or reinstatement to the affected employee.

5. Additional Considerations

Employees should consider discussing their pregnancy plans with their employer early on, particularly if they anticipate needing accommodations or modifications to their work duties. A proactive approach can help ensure a smooth transition into and out of pregnancy leave.

It is also important for employees to familiarize themselves with their employer’s specific policies regarding pregnancy and other medical leave, as well as any applicable state and federal laws. This knowledge can help employees advocate for their rights and ensure that they receive the benefits and protections they are entitled to.

If an employee encounters any issues related to their pregnancy leave or benefits, they should consider seeking legal counsel to discuss their options and protect their rights.


Navigating pregnancy-related leave and benefits can be complex, but understanding California’s specific guidelines can help ensure that expectant mothers receive the appropriate protections and benefits. Employees should make sure to provide written notice of their pregnancy within 30 days of their anticipated leave start date, and familiarize themselves with their employer’s specific policies and procedures regarding pregnancy and other medical leave. If an employee experiences discrimination related to pregnancy, they have the right to file a complaint with the DFEH and seek legal recourse.

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