By JUDY LIN
SACRAMENTO — Women on maternity leave from their jobs would be entitled to retain their health insurance under a bill passed out of the state Senate on Tuesday.
The bill by Sen. Noreen Evans, SB 299, prohibits employers from canceling health insurance for female employees who are on maternity leave for up to four months. Current law does not require health coverage for an employee who is on leave.
The bill passed 26-11 and now moves to the state Assembly.
Evans, a Democrat from Santa Rosa and chair of the legislative women’s caucus, said the bill seeks to close the gap in health insurance for women on maternity leave by bringing the state’s pregnancy disability leave in line with related state and federal family and medical leave laws.
“It’s important for women of the state of California and their children,” Evans said.
The bill would allow employers to recover insurance premiums from the employee if she fails to return from maternity leave for a reason not covered under the state’s family rights act or some other health condition.