Maternity leave gives new mothers time to recover after childbirth and adjust to their new role in life. In addition, maternity leave offers mothers and their newborn children critical time to bond. However, recent scientific studies have shown that the benefits of maternity leave do not stop there. Some studies suggest that when women are given sufficient time off from work after having a child, rehospitalization rates decrease for both the mother and the baby.

While many states’ maternity leave laws are lacking, it may be comforting to know that California has some of the most progressive maternity leave laws in the United States. Despite these progressive laws, some California employers still violate their employees’ legal rights to maternity leave. 

If you believe that your employer has violated your rights to maternity leave, you will want to reach out to a Los Angeles maternity leave lawyer. At Tomorrow Law™, we have a team of seasoned Los Angeles employment law attorneys with the necessary tools to take on complex maternity leave cases.

Below, our firm has laid out some of the basics about California maternity leave laws so that you can be more fully informed before proceeding with your legal claim. 

What Is Maternity Leave and Why Is It So Important?

Maternity leave refers to the period of time that a mother stops working after the birth of her child. However, in some cases, maternity leave starts before the child is born, especially if the mother is experiencing complications in her pregnancy. In other cases, maternity leave will begin when the mother goes into labor.

There are a couple of different factors that can influence the amount of time that a mother can take off for maternity leave. Some of these factors include:

  • The maternity leave laws of the state in which the mother lives,
  • The existence of any medical complications related to the pregnancy or childbirth,
  • The amount of time the mother can afford to take off of work, and
  • The type of employee the mother is classified as.

These are just some factors that can influence how long a maternity leave a mother can take.

The National Partnership for Women and Families considers maternity leave essential for both the mother’s and her child’s health. Sufficient amounts of time off for maternity leave have been linked to: 

  • Lower infant mortality rates,
  • Improved mental and physical well-being of both the child and the mother,
  • Decreases in intimate partner violence, and
  • Reduced incidences of head trauma in children under the age of two.

Given these and the other statistics relating to the benefits of maternity leave, it is clear that maternity leave is very important for both the health of the mother and the child.

Maternity Leave in California

Three sets of laws generally govern maternity leave in California: the Pregnancy Disability Leave laws, the Family Leave laws, and the Reasonable Accommodation Leave laws. Below, we talk about each set of laws and what they offer California mothers with respect to maternity leave. 

Pregnancy Disability Leave Laws

The Pregnancy Disability Leave laws allow mothers to take up to four months off work if they have experienced mental or physical medical complications as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. To qualify for this type of maternity leave, the mother must be considered “disabled” under California law and work for a qualified employer. Qualified employers are usually employers who have five or more employees.

Family Leave Laws

Eligible employees have the right to take up to 12 weeks of family leave per year. This type of leave can be used by both men and women. To be eligible, the employee must have worked for their employer for over 12 months, must have worked at least 1,250 hours during that 12-month period, and the employer must have five or more employees.

Reasonable Accommodation Leave Laws

Maternity leave in California can include time off as a reasonable accommodation to prevent employment discrimination. In the context of maternity leave, an employee must have a physical or mental impairment because of pregnancy or childbirth that somehow “disables” them to qualify for this type of leave. These laws allow an employee to take a “reasonable” time off of work as an accommodation for their mental or physical disability. A California employment law attorney can help explain to you what a reasonable time may be in the context of your maternity leave.

We Hold Employers Accountable. We Want To Help

At Tomorrow Law™, we are passionate about workplace justice, and we see maternity leave law violations as a severe infringement on a mother’s rights. If your maternity leave rights have been violated, we have a team of dedicated lawyers who can help you seek the justice and compensation that you deserve. 

You don’t have to worry about the financial implications of hiring a Los Angeles maternity leave attorney. We work on a contingency basis, which means that if we don’t win your case for you, you don’t have to pay us. To schedule a free consultation with the team at Tomorrow Law™ about your case, you can reach out to us online or by phone at 310-438-5555.


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