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Saturday, December 22, 2012

California to implement amended pregnancy regulations

California to implement amended pregnancy 
regulations

Source: Wolers Kluwer’s Employment Law Daily 

“Several noteworthy changes are in store for California
employers when revised pregnancy regulations issued
take effect on December 30. The state’s Office of
Administrative Law approved the changes on November
30 following an interactive process that included public
feedback.

“Definitions are changed significantly, starting with a
more detailed definition of “disabled by pregnancy.”
Lactation is specifically included as a “condition related
to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”
A “perceived pregnancy” is protected and is defined.
“Four months”—the duration of available leave—is
also revised in order to clarify how to calculate leave.
The definition of health care provider is expanded
as well.

“The new regulations clearly articulate the employer’s
duty to reasonably accommodate an employee’s
pregnancy. Additionally, they change employers’
obligations regarding reinstatement of an employee
after pregnancy leave. Specifically, for an employer to
justify not reinstating an employee to a comparable
position after  pregnancy leave, it must prove either:

A. that the employer would not have offered a
comparable position to the employee if she would
have been continuously at work during the pregnancy
disability leave or transfer period,

OR

B. that there is no comparable position available.

“Further, the regulations clarify employers’ health care
coverage obligations under pregnancy leave (applicable
to employers with five or more full or part-time
employees) and under the California Family Rights
Act (applicable to employers with 50 or more
employees). The time that an employer maintains
and pays for group health coverage during pregnancy
disability leave must not be used to meet an employer’s
obligation to pay for 12 weeks of group health coverage
during leave taken under CFRA. This is true even where
an employer designates pregnancy disability leave as
family and medical leave under FMLA. The entitlements
to employer-paid group health coverage during pregnancy
disability leave and during CFRA are two separate and
distinct entitlements.” 

The full text of the approved regulations can be found at
http://www.fehc.ca.gov/act/pdf/pregnancyregulations/Approved_Preg_Regs_11_30_12.pdf.
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