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California Leads States As Great Place For Working Mothers

California and Connecticut both received 'A-' grades from a new report that compares family medical leave benefits between the United States. No state received an A but 18 states received an F.

The report, called Expecting Better, was released by the non-profit National Partnership for Women & Families. California earned credit as the first state to pass its own paid family medical leave legislation.

Paid family leave for private sector employees in California is part of the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. SDI offers wage replacement for expectant and new mothers for four weeks before the baby is due and six weeks after the baby arrives, typically.

An employee who receives SDI for a pregnancy-related leave should also be entitled to job protection under California's Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). California law also allows for same-sex couples to take family or parental leave to care for his or her domestic partner's child.

Pregnant workers in California are also protected from discrimination based on being pregnant. A request for a reasonable accommodation to a less strenuous position during the term of a pregnancy must be accommodated by an employer or the employer may be liable to the employee in a pregnancy discrimination claim.

California mothers are entitled to break time and a location other than a bathroom stall in order to pump breast milk after returning to work.

State workers in California enjoy similar protections for paid time off for pregnancy and childbirth as private sector workers.

Source: Fox News, "New report card on family leave: Many states fail," Laurie Tarken, May 31, 2012

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