BILL NUMBER: SB 299 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Senator Evans FEBRUARY 14, 2011 An act to amend Section 12945 of the Government Code, relating to employment. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST SB 299, as introduced, Evans. Employment: pregnancy or childbirth leave. Existing law prohibits employment discrimination based on sex or disability. Existing law prohibits an employer from refusing to allow a female employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition to take a leave for a reasonable time of up to 4 months before returning to work. This bill would also prohibit an employer from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan for an employee who takes that leave, as specified. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. Section 12945 of the Government Code is amended to read: 12945. In addition to the provisions that govern pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical
conditionscondition in Sections 12926 and 12940, it shall be an unlawful employment practice, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification: (a) (1) For an employer to refuse to allow a female employee disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical conditionscondition to take a leave for a reasonable period of time not to exceed four months and thereafter return to work, as set forth in the commission' s regulations. The employee shall be entitled to utilize any accrued vacation leave during this period of time. Reasonable period of time means that period during which the female employee is disabled on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical conditionscondition . An employer may require an employee who plans to take a leave pursuant to this subdivision to give the employer reasonable notice of the date the leave shall commence and the estimated duration of the leave. (2) For an employer to refuse to maintain and pay for coverage for an eligible female employee who takes leave pursuant to paragraph (1) under a group health plan, as defined in Section 5000(b)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, for the duration of the leave, not to exceed four months over the course of a 12-month period, commencing on the date the leave taken under paragraph (1) begins, at the level and under the conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued in employment continuously for the duration of the leave. Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude an employer from maintaining and paying for coverage under a group health plan beyond four months. An employer may recover from the employee the premium that the employer paid as required under this subdivision for maintaining coverage for the employee under the group health plan if both of the following conditions occur: (A) The employee fails to return from leave after the period of leave to which the employee is entitled has expired. (B) The employee's failure to return from leave is for a reason other than one of the following: (i) The employee taking leave under the Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act (Sections 12945.2 and 19702.3 of the Government Code). (ii) The continuation, recurrence, or onset of a health condition that entitles the employee to leave under paragraph (1) or other circumstance beyond the control of the employee. (b) (1) For an employer to refuse to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee for conditionsa condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical conditionscondition , if she so requests, with the advice of her health care provider. (2) For an employer who has a policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement requiring or authorizing the transfer of temporarily disabled employees to less strenuous or hazardous positions for the duration of the disability to refuse to transfer a pregnant female employee who so requests. (3) For an employer to refuse to temporarily transfer a pregnant female employee to a less strenuous or hazardous position for the duration of her pregnancy if she so requests, with the advice of her physician, where that transfer can be reasonably accommodated. However, no employer shall be required by this section to create additional employment that the employer would not otherwise have created, nor shall the employer be required to discharge any employee, transfer any employee with more seniority, or promote any employee who is not qualified to perform the job. (c) This section shall not be construed to affect any other provision of law relating to sex discrimination or pregnancy, or in any way to diminish the coverage of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical conditionscondition related to pregnancy or childbirth under any other provisionsprovision of this part, including subdivision (a) of Section 12940.