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How Long Is Maternity Leave in California?

Having a baby is costly and exhausting. New parents need maternity leave in order to care for new children and establish critical family bonds. Although the U.S. isn’t known for good maternity leave laws, California is an exception to the rule.

Paid Family Leave

Maternity leave in California is better than most other states in the U.S. Under paid family leave you are not only entitled to time off but also partial pay. Employers of a certain size are required to pay about 55% of your weekly income during your time under PFL. PFL isn’t strictly just for maternity leave, however. The best part is that this law covers fathers as well. Each parent is given the same amount of paid time off in the state of California. Families can decide to take time off together or stagger their time off to ensure they each have sufficient bonding time during their first year with a new child.

You may take up to six weeks to care for new children under California’s Paid Family Leave legislation. It doesn’t matter if you are a birth parent, or you’ve chosen to foster or adopt. This legal protection is for families, and it was designed to address as many situations as possible. Since Paid Family Leave is available to both parents or guardians during their first twelve months with a child, California’s maternity leave laws are also some of the most LGBTQ+ friendly in the U.S. Gay or Lesbian couples can enjoy the full rights and benefits of parenthood in California provided they are both legal guardians and protectors.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Sometimes, pregnancy further complicates your health. Whether you need to recover from an intrusive surgery to repair damage from the birth, suffer from extreme post-partum depression, or face any other health-related challenges brought on by pregnancy, the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law can give you more time to recover. It follows many of the same principles as Paid Family Leave, including wage and job protection. This allows mothers to take time off in addition to their Paid Family Leave time in order to recover without losing valuable bonding time with their children.

These benefits can essentially kick in whenever you need them. Although the majority of cases are restricted to a few weeks before and after the pregnancy, if your doctor puts you on bed rest, confines you to the hospital, etc., you can ask for more time. Since this law specifically addresses the physical ramifications of childbirth, coverage is not available to men. While a family facing such a crisis may be able to find additional government and nonprofit support to cover emergency expenses, only a woman can take pregnancy disability leave.

Maternity leave in California proves more sureties against financial, emotional, and physical stress for new parents. Man or woman, you’re guaranteed up to six weeks of paid leave. If you have extenuating health concerns due to your pregnancy, Pregnancy Disability Leave can help you get the time you need to recover.


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