Q: Must you allow a pregnant employee time off?
Your insurance agency has six full-time employees, all of whom are essential to keeping the business running smoothly. Your newest hire has been there just three months when she announces she is pregnant, has severe morning sickness, and her doctor advises bed rest for the next 4 weeks. She has no accrued PTO or sick leave.
Must you allow her the time off?
Pregnancy is considered a medical condition and a California company with five or more employees must comply with California’s pregnancy disability leave laws. The fact that the employee has been with you for a short time and has no accrued paid time off makes no difference. If the doctor certifies the employee as disabled (get a written doctor’s note), she must be given the time off and she may be able to collect State Disability Insurance while she is off work. She may take intermittent leave if medically required. With very few exceptions, she is guaranteed to return to her same or a comparable position if she returns to work within four months (17-1/3 weeks) – which typically means you must hold her position for her. You should give her a letter that outlines the terms of her leave of absence, her benefits and the requirements.
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