Know the Law: Pregnancy Disability Leave Laws
- On 12 October 2015
- Posted by Chantal Mariotti
It’s the law – PDL (Pregnancy Disability Leave) must be offered to any employee who is disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth or any related medical conditions, regardless of the length of employment. Employers must provide employees with up to 4 months of time off, without their job being placed in jeopardy. This time off is unpaid by the employer, however the employee may claim benefits payment through the Employment Development Department (EDD). Employers who have at least 5 or more employees must abide by this law. Please note that an employee can also request to take intermittent time off due to pregnancy-related disabilities.
Documentation is essential. Employees must provide their employers with either written or verbal notice if they’re planning on taking leave – 30 days’ notice is recommended. It is important that employers have a PDL policy in their employee handbook that clearly outlines the employees’ responsibilities in this regard.
Employee may request a temporary transfer or accommodation due to their disability. Employees can request such transfers or special accommodations if it is recommended by their treating physician. Reasonable accommodations can include an employee being assigned a less strenuous position, longer rest breaks, permission to work from home, or assistance with lifting objects for example. The employer nor the employee should be the persons establishing what is the recommended accommodation; the treating physician is the person who will outline the required temporary accommodations.
Make sure you have a sound PDL policy in place to include in your employee handbook. Employers cannot and should not discriminate, terminate, or punish their employees for taking such a leave of absence. Employee rights and all leave of absence processes should be clearly addressed in your updated employee handbook. A sound PDL policy can free employers from possible employee litigation for failure to abide by these regulations.
Update your Employee Handbook. Using the clear language in your handbook can help avoid misinterpretation, misunderstandings or vague statements. We can help update your employee handbook so it includes all of the important work policies and procedures in addition to employee’s rights and obligations. By having these policies properly and clearly addressed in your employee handbook, you can protect your company from any potential lawsuits.