Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

This section explains employer obligations to employees who are eligible for pregnancy disability leave (PDL) only and provides a series of steps to follow when an employee requests PDL or you become aware of the need for leave. This section does not apply to leaves also covered by family and medical leave laws.​

Employers with five or more employees are covered by California’s pregnancy disability leave law.

Employers with more than 20 employees and with employees eligible for state or federal family and medical leave or California’s New Parent Leave act (NPLA), will also need to follow the steps outlined in Family, Medical Leave and Parental Leave and Leave Interactions when administering leaves related to pregnancy.​

Covered employers

PDL is state law. Employers with five or more employees are covered.

Maximum amount of leave

The actual time designated as disability related to pregnancy is determined by the employee’s health care provider. The maximum amount of time available is four months, or 17 1/3 weeks per pregnancy. Note that if an employee is disabled longer than four months, the employee may be entitled to additional leave as a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy-related or other disability. For more information, see “Reasonable Accommodation Beyond PDL” in Providing Reasonable Accommodation and Transfers.

Employee eligibility

Employees who work for covered employers are eligible for PDL upon hire.

Reasons for leave

PDL can be used for any time the eligible employee is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

Employer responsibilities

Post required posters, include a PDL policy in your employee handbook and send a notice to any employee who needs PDL.

Interaction with other leaves

Can run concurrently with federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) absences but not with California Family Rights Act (CFRA) absences. Does not run concurrently with NPLA. See Family, Medical and Parental ​Leave.

Ending the employment relationship before the leave expires

The employee cannot be subject to adverse employment action because of PDL use. Seek legal counsel before terminating anyone on PDL.

Return to work

The employee is entitled to reinstatement to the job held before PDL began.