New pregnancy protections ring in the New Year in California

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in Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

California employees now enjoy ex­panded pregnancy rights after new Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) regulations took effect Dec. 30, 2012.

The regulations bar employers from discriminating against employees for virtually any pregnancy-related condition, including lactation, severe morning sickness, prenatal and postnatal care, bed rest, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia, postpartum depression, childbirth, loss of pregnancy and end of pregnancy, among others.

Employees are now eligible for up to four months or 17 1/3 weeks of pregnancy disability leave per pregnancy, not per year.

Employers may measure leave in increments as small as one hour. Leave must be accounted for in the smallest increment offered for any other type of leave as long as it is one hour or more. Reasonable accommodations or transfers do not reduce the four-month leave entitlement unless they reduce the number of hours that the employee works.

Additionally, employers cannot refuse to hire an applicant because of pregnancy or perceived pregnancy.

The new regulations also change workplace posting requirements. Download new notices from the FEHC website.

The new regulations also broaden the definition of health care professionals and contain special provisions for informing non-English speaking employees of their rights and obligations under the law.

Advice: Consult your attorney if you have compliance questions.

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