When you see a child playing at the park or being carried by his mother, you will have a deeper understanding of the term "motherhood."

Being a mother begins even when the baby is still in the woman's womb. During this stage, your body will change in many ways so that it will be able to carry the child for nine months. Some of these changes can be easily seen like gaining weight or having a bigger tummy.

You might also encounter the negative effects of pregnancy like headaches, backaches, and nausea. If you are unable to do your work duties because of a difficult pregnancy, you might be entitled to take a leave of absence under the California Pregnancy Disability Law (PDLL).

Overview of PDLL

PDLL is included in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Under it, employers who have at least 5 workers should allow pregnant employees to take a leave of absence if they are disabled by their condition.

It provides up to four months of unpaid leave to pregnant women. If you cannot to your job duties though you are fit to work, your employer may be required to move you to a less strenuous or hazardous position.

In short, your employer is required to provide you with reasonable accommodation during this time. However, your employer may refuse to accommodate your condition if doing so will create an undue strain or burden to the business operations or the company itself.


You may be entitled to a pregnancy disability leave if you are suffering from a medical condition that is related to childbirth or pregnancy. Here are some examples of events that will require you to be absent from work:

  • Recovering from childbirth
  • Your doctor orders a complete bed rest, meaning you are prohibited from going out of the house or doing anything that can be tiring
  • Severe nausea or morning sickness
  • Prenatal care and visits

Returning to Work

Under the PDLL, you should be reinstated to your old position once you are already fit to work. However, your employer may refuse to do so if:

  • the job or position no longer exists because of valid reasons like plant closure or layoffs
  • all ways to keep the old position (like leaving it vacant or hiring a temporary worker) will significantly affect the employer's ability to conduct effective and safe business operations

If your employer cannot reinstate you to your previous position, he will be required to place you in a comparable position, unless:

  • a comparable position does not exist
  • there is a comparable position, but assigning the employee to it will negatively affect the business operations

This article is not meant to be interpreted as a legal advice. To know the available legal options regarding your case, consult an Employment Law Attorney for more information.