Back to Work After Baby: Understanding Your Rights Returning to Work

New parent returning to work after leave, learning reinstatement rights in California.

Welcoming a new baby into the world is a momentous occasion, but returning to work afterward can be filled with mixed emotions and concerns. California laws protect the rights of new parents regarding job reinstatement. In this guide, we will help you understand your reinstatement rights in California as you transition back to work after baby. We will delve into the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), and the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA), providing insights into your entitlements as a new parent.

Understanding the concept of reinstatement, exceptions to it, and how to protect your benefits and seniority will help you navigate the return to work process. Additionally, we will touch on legal protections against discrimination and what to do if you believe your rights have been violated. Read on to equip yourself with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about your professional and parental journey.

Table of Contents


Balancing parenthood and a career can be challenging. Knowing your reinstatement rights is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition back to the workplace after having a baby.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Under CFRA, eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child. Upon return, you have the right to be reinstated to the same or a comparable position.

Source: California Government Code § 12945.2

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)

If you are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, you may be entitled to up to four months of PDL. You have the right to return to your same position after PDL.

Source: California Code of Regulations, Title 2, § 11042

New Parent Leave Act (NPLA)

The NPLA is similar to CFRA but applies to smaller employers (with 20-49 employees). It allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for bonding with a new child.

Understanding Rights When Returning to Work

Reinstatement means returning to your original job or a comparable position with the same pay, benefits, and terms of employment. Your employer is required to reinstate you unless exceptions apply.

Exceptions to Reinstatement Rights 

There are exceptions where employers may not be required to reinstate, such as:

If the position is eliminated due to legitimate business reasons

If you would have been laid off regardless of the leave

If you are unable to perform the essential functions of the job

Back To Work After Baby: Protect Your Benefits

It’s important to know that while on leave, your job benefits, including health insurance and seniority, should remain intact. Ensure to communicate with your employer regarding the continuation of benefits during your leave.

Creating a Return-to-Work Plan

Employee being welcomed back to work after welcoming a baby.
Employee being welcomed back to work after welcoming a baby.


A successful return to work often involves planning. Before your leave, discuss with your employer the expectations upon return. Develop a phased return-to-work plan if needed and explore flexible work options that can ease the transition.

Legal Protections Against Discrimination

You are also protected against discrimination and harassment due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Employers cannot treat you less favorably because of your pregnancy or leave.

What to Do If Your Rights Are Violated

If you believe your reinstatement rights have been violated:

Document the situation.

Consult your company’s HR department.

Seek legal advice if necessary.


  • Can my employer deny my reinstatement if my job was eliminated?

If the position was legitimately eliminated for reasons unrelated to your leave, the employer may not be required to reinstate you.

  • Can my employer cut my pay upon reinstatement?

No, you are entitled to the same pay and benefits that you had prior to taking leave.

How Fraigun Law Group Can Help

Understanding your reinstatement rights after having a baby is essential for a smooth transition back to work. If you believe your rights have been violated, Fraigun Law Group is here to help.

Contact Fraigun Law Group today for a consultation. Our experienced team will fight for your rights and help you navigate the complexities of employment law in California.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal assistance, consult a qualified attorney.




Read More Related Articles

Can an Employer Fire You for No Reason? The Answer May Shock You

Introduction Losing your job is bad enough, but what happens when your boss doesn’t provide you with a valid reason for your dismissal? You end...

Recently Fired? Check These Wrongful Termination Examples

According to Inc. Magazine, wrongful terminations have been rising sharply over the past few years. Unfortunately, many of these cases still go unreported, and the...

Without Cause Termination: Can I Sue?

Hundreds of thousands of California workers are fired each year – and many of these people are terminated illegally. The Golden State may have some...

When Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination in California?

In 2021 alone, over 61,000 businesses were charged with violating employment laws. Many of these violations involved wrongful termination. The most claims involved discrimination on...

Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations

The loss of a job can put a tremendous burden on an employee and their family. A worker who was fired, laid off, or otherwise...

5 Situations When Being Fired May Be Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination is a somewhat nebulous legal term. Many people misconstrue the meaning behind wrongful termination. These cases are very difficult to prove, especially due...