The State of California today marked another step in the direction of protecting pregnant workers when the Governor signed into law a Senate Bill requiring employers of five or more employees who maintain health care coverage for their workers to continue providing workers who take Pregnancy Disability Leave health care coverage at the same terms and conditions that coverage would have been provided to the employee had she not taken leave, for up to four months.
Specifically, if the employer normally paid the entire coverage premium, it is required to continue doing so for the duration of the employee’s time off for pregnancy disability leave, up to four months. If, instead, the employee normally paid a portion of the coverage premium, the employer can require the employee to continue paying her portion of the coverage premium while she is on leave.
The law also provides that employees who do not return to work after the conclusion of their pregnancy disability leave can, under certain circumstances, be required by their employer to return to the employer premiums that the employer paid on the employee’s behalf during the leave.
The new law, Government Code Section 12945(a)(2)(A), goes into effect on January 1, 2012 and is available here.
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