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How Long Is Maternity Leave In California?



How Long Is Maternity Leave In California?

Are you a pregnant mom and wondering how much time you can take off work to care for your little ones? Having a newborn is a blessing, especially for mothers. But how long is maternity leave in California?

Maternity leave policies vary nationwide, but in California, there’s a unique approach to supporting families. From bonding time to navigating the leave landscape, it’s important to understand the duration and benefits of maternity leave.

Whether you’re a soon-to-be parent or just curious about maternity leave, we will uncover the essentials of how long maternity leave lasts for California residents and what it means for new mothers in the state.

Eligibility Requirements for Maternity Leave in California

Did you know there are specific eligibility requirements for maternity leave in California? To qualify for maternity leave in California, you must meet certain criteria. 

  • You need to have worked for your employer for at least 12 months. This means that you must have been employed for a consecutive period, whether full-time or part-time. 
  • You need to have worked at least 1,250 hours during those 12 months. This means that you must have put a significant amount of time and effort into your job. 
  • You need to work for an employer with at least 20 employees within a 75-mile radius. 

Meeting these eligibility requirements is crucial to taking advantage of maternity leave in California.

How Long Is Maternity Leave In California?

Duration of Maternity Leave in California

How much time do you get to bond with your little one after giving birth? In California, you can enjoy a generous period of time off to embrace the joys of motherhood.

Maternity leave in California typically lasts for up to 12 weeks. This leave is available to both mothers and fathers, allowing them to take time off work to care for their newborn or newly adopted child.

During this time, you can focus on recovering from childbirth, establishing a strong bond with your baby, and adjusting to your new role as a parent. It’s important to note that maternity leave in California is protected by law, meaning your employer cannot terminate your employment or retaliate against you for taking this time off.

Paid Maternity Leave Benefits in California

In California, new parents are fortunate to receive generous paid time off to embrace the joys of bonding with their little ones fully. The state’s Paid Family Leave program provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave.

During this time, parents can focus on nurturing their baby, establishing a strong parent-child bond, and adjusting to the demands of parenthood. The paid leave benefits alleviate financial stress and allow parents to prioritize their family’s well-being without sacrificing income. 

This support system recognizes the importance of parental involvement in a child’s early development and aims to create a positive and nurturing environment for both parents and their newborns.

Job Protection during Maternity Leave in California

While on paid family leave, new parents in California can rest easy knowing their job is protected, allowing them to focus fully on the precious moments of bonding and caring for their newborn. 

Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. During this time, your employer must maintain your health coverage and guarantee you have a job to return to once your leave ends. 

It’s important to note that CFRA and FMLA provide job protection but not necessarily paid leave. However, if you qualify for California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, you may be eligible for up to eight weeks of partial wage replacement while on leave.

How to Apply for Maternity Leave in California

Applying for maternity leave in California is a straightforward process. The first step is to inform your employer about your pregnancy and your intention to take maternity leave. It’s important to give them as much notice as possible, ideally in writing, so that they can plan for your absence.

Next, you must complete the necessary paperwork, including filling out the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim form. You can request this form from your employer or download it from the Employment Development Department (EDD) website.

Once you have completed the form, submit it to the EDD and any required supporting documents. Following all the instructions carefully is crucial to ensure a smooth application process.


You’re eligible for maternity leave if you’re pregnant and living in California. The duration of maternity leave in California is up to 12 weeks, allowing you to bond with your newborn. You may be eligible for paid maternity leave benefits, which will provide you with some financial support during this time. It’s important to know that you’re also protected from losing your job while on maternity leave.

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