Katie had been underperforming for months
We recently worked with a small tech company that came to us with a tricky problem. The owner of the company, “Evan” wanted to terminate the employment of a female employee “Katie” who was pregnant and going on maternity leave soon. The reason for the termination was that Katie had been underperforming for months, and Evan didn’t want to pay an underperforming employee for being on leave.
CA parental leave regulations are no joke
The first critical mistake was that Evan had not documented the poor performance. Under California Employment Law, an employer cannot fire an employee because of their pregnancy or taking leave related to pregnancy or childbirth. Employers must hold the employee’s position for the duration of their leave, which can be up to almost 8 months of leave when combining the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL).
Parental leave is not just for moms
It’s not just mothers who are protected! California’s Paternity leave policies under the FMLA and CFRA state that eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn child, a newly adopted child, or a foster child. Employers must hold the employee’s position and continue to provide health insurance during the leave.