Pregnancy and Medical Leave Protection Measure Advances in the Legislature

September 08, 2011

AB 592 Prohibits employers from interfering with an employee's ability to take pregnancy and family medical leave in California

SACRAMENTO – The Senate voted 23-12 today in favor of AB 592, a measure authored by Assemblymember Lara (D-Bell Gardens) aimed at protecting an employee’s right to take job-protected pregnancy and family medical leave. AB 592 brings California’s pregnancy and family medical leave laws in line with the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by clarifying that "interference" is a basis for liability in California.

"California is the leader in pregnancy and family medical leave laws. AB 592 will eliminate confusion for employers and employees alike by conforming California's laws to the federal standard and will ensure California continues to set the standard for protection of workers" said Lara.

The Pregnancy Disability Leave law (PDL) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) are two state laws that provide workers the right to take job-protected leave to care for an ill family member or their own pregnancy-related disability. However, some California courts have not recognized “interference” as an independent basis for liability, and as a result, an employer who punishes an employee for taking leave may not be found guilty under California law. Recently, a woman who was entitled to take job protected pregnancy leave but was afraid to do so because her employer "wrote her up" for taking leave, was not successful in making a case for pregnancy discrimination because of this gap in our state law.

AB 592 is headed to the Assembly for concurrence.