Leaves of Absence

Q: Can I take leave from work during my pregnancy?

You have a right to take up to four months (17 1/3 weeks) of unpaid “pregnancy disability” leave if:
(1) you work for an employer in the private (non-governmental) sector1 that employs 5 or more employees, or an employer in the public (governmental) sector, AND
(2) you develop a condition related to the pregnancy that makes you unable to (a) perform a major duty (“essential function”) of your job or any duties; or (b) perform an essential function without serious risk to yourself, the successful completion of your pregnancy, or to others. Examples of conditions include severe morning sickness, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. You may be able to take more than four months leave as a reasonable accommodation if your health care provider recommends it.

1Employees of certain non-profit religious associations or corporations are not covered.

Q: Is there a way I can get paid while I’m on leave during my pregnancy?

If your employer provides vacation, Paid Time Off (PTO), or sick leave, you can use that paid leave during pregnancy disability. Please note that sick leave is mandated in San Francisco, and will be throughout California starting July 1, 2015.

Q: Can I take leave from work after I give birth?

You have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to bond with your baby if (1) you work for an employer in the private (non-governmental) sector that employs 50 or more employees, an employer in the public (governmental) sector, or a public or private elementary or secondary school; and (2) you worked for your employer for at least 12 months and for 1,250 hours within the last 12 months (about 24 hours per week).

Q: Can I take time off from work after my partner gives birth?

You also have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to bond with your baby if your employer meets the qualifications described in the previous answer. If you and your partner work for the same employer, the two of you are limited to 12 weeks total leave.

Q: Is there a way I can get paid while I’m on leave after I give birth?

If your employer provides vacation, Paid Time Off (PTO), or sick leave, you can use that paid leave during the “baby bonding” leave. You can also apply for benefits through the California Paid Family Leave program (paidfamilyleave.org). This program covers up to six weeks at roughly 55% of your regular wages.