Welcoming a new child brings joy to families in California and throughout the U.S. However, it also brings challenges for women as they reenter the workforce after giving birth.
To help protect their interests, it benefits new mothers to understand their rights in the workplace.
Paid family leave
According to the California Employment Development Department, the state offers paid family leave benefits for qualifying new parents. Mothers and fathers may have eligibility if they welcomed a new child into their families through birth within the past 12 months, have not previously taken the maximum eight weeks of leave during the past 12 months and have made contributions to the state’s disability insurance fund in the last five to 18 months.
While most people take leave after delivering to recover and spend time with their new babies, some have issues that limit their ability to work before giving birth. Expectant mothers may also take advantage of paid parental leave benefits, using some of their time before having their babies.
Lactation at work
According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, employers must make lactation accommodations for new mothers in the workplace. For women needing to express breast milk, employers must provide adequate space and time. To this end, the state requires them to make available a clean, private area, other than a restroom, for mothers to use. The space should have a place to sit, access to electricity or alternative power sources, and a surface to place breast pumps and other personal items.
If new mothers need additional break time to express breast milk, employers must allow it. However, employers do not have to pay workers for lactation breaks.
The state affords new parents many options to allow them the time they need to care for their infants, while not giving up their jobs and professional pursuits.