Maternity leave with benefits

New law expands continued health-insurance coverage

A new law that goes into effect Jan. 1 will require employers with at least five employees to maintain group health-insurance coverage for women who take maternity leave for up to four months. The benefits must be continued at the same level as if the employee were working during the leave.

Currently, employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide benefits for women who take pregnancy leave for a maximum of 12 weeks.

The bill, AB 299, was authored by Sen. Noreen Evans, a Democrat from Santa Rosa.