Coronavirus boosted an already-growing trend of working from home (WFH). Even though the trend has been steadily gaining popularity, the pandemic forced many California employers and employees to consider the option indefinitely as workplaces adjust to a new normal. Some employees wonder if the benefits and policies applied to them when they worked in-office continue to do so in a WFH environment – chief among these for many pregnant women is concern around maternity leave.
Just because you’re WFH doesn’t mean normal employment laws disappear. Employees usually have the exact rights they had when they were present in the workplace. It’s also acceptable for employers to apply policies from the workplace to their remote workers – this means if you’re entitled to take a maternity leave when in the workplace you retain the right as a WFH employee. Expectations about maternity leave may also be determined by whether your employer already had enacted a specific parental leave policy.
Remote Work Policy or Agreements
Some employers may have foreseen some or all of its workforce WFH either temporarily or permanently and put together a remote work agreement or similar policy. These policies often outline rights, expectations, and procedures for remote workers. If your employer created one of these agreements and you signed it, it could determine important details of your maternity leave.
Paid or Unpaid Time Off
Expectant parents often take advantage of several different laws to scrabble together maternity leave both at the state and federal level. The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits eligible employees up to a total of twelve weeks unpaid leave to care for a family member or care for a serious health condition with job protection. California has a similar version to the FMLA, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) permitting up to 12 weeks paid or unpaid protected leave in a 12 month period for a birth, adoption, foster care placement, immediate family member care, or care for their own serious health condition. The CFRA applies to all employers with 5 of more employees as of January 1, 2021.
Get Help from a California Employment Lawyer
Understanding which laws apply to you can be stressful even without an ongoing pandemic, but it’s critical to knowing and protecting your rights. To learn about protecting yourself from discrimination due to pregnancy, getting your questions answered during these uncertain times, or fighting back if you believe you’re the victim of discrimination, turn to the experienced California employment lawyers at Rothschild & Alwill, APC today for help. We’re here to answer your questions, discuss your unique situation, and help you get what you deserve.