Are You A New or Expecting Mother Who Needs Time Off from Work? New Law Protects Health Care Coverage for New Mothers Taking Pregnancy Leave

Alert number: 
2
March 24, 2012

Background

If you are pregnant or if you are recovering from childbirth, that is when you need health insurance the most. But you may be concerned about losing health care coverage when you take pregnancy leave from your job.

New Law

In 2011, a new law in California was signed by the Governor, SB 299, which requires employers to continue health insurance coverage for women who take pregnancy leave. This new law applies to all employers in California who have at least 5 employees. It does not matter how long the employee has worked at the job and it does not matter if they are full-time or part-time employees.

The health benefits must be continued for up to 4 months of leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The new law took effect January 1, 2012.

Example

Marina is pregnant and is about to start her pregnancy disability leave. Marina gets health insurance through her employer, but her company sent her a letter saying that her health benefits will stop the moment she goes out on leave. Marina's employer has violated her rights under California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, as amended by SB 299.

Claims

If you have been denied continued health insurance benefits during your pregnancy leave, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the violation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

You can find free information about pregnancy leave on our website. If you have additional questions, please contact our Workers’ Right Clinic at 415-864-8208 or toll-free at 866-864-8208.

This alert is intended as an information source for clients and friends of Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center. The content should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon information in this publication without professional counsel. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.