Pregnancy Disabilility Leave Law (PDLL) provides for reinstatement rights to returning employees. Following pregnancy disability, an employee generally has the right to be reinstated to the same position she held before the leave, with two excpetions: (i) an empoyee has no right to return if the position simply no longer exists; (ii) an employee has no reinstatement right if each means of preserving the job or duties for the employer, such as leaving it unfilled or filling it with temporary employee, would substantially undermine the employer's ability to operate the business safely and efficiently. For obvious reason the second item particularly applies to smaller employers.
PDLL provides for leave for a period of four months. If an employee takes that leave for more than four months, the reinstatement right to the same or a comparable job does not apply unless the employer has a policy of allowing its employee to return to work after taking disability leave for longer than 4 months.
An employer may require that an employee requesting a pregnancy disability leave or transfer provide certification of the pregnancy-related disabliity from the employee's doctor. That certification generally should include the date that the empoyee became disabled, probable duration of the disability, a statement that, because of the disability, the empoyee is unable to work or to perform one or more of the essential job duties of that specific position witout undue risk, until she successfully completes her disability.
The employer may also require a medical return to work release before allowing the employee to return to work, if that kind of policy is applied to other disabilities at the company, which are not related to pregnancy.
Under federal law, leave taken for an employee's incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition is governed by FMLA, just like leave for any other "serious health condition" of an employee. However, the CFRA (California Family Rights Act) expressly excludes an employee's incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition.
Several laws protect California women from pregnancy discrimination at workplace. These laws interact with each other in complex ways. Each law and protection may or may not apply depending on the size of the employer, the employee’s length of service, and other facts. Some leaves run concurrently, while others don’t.