Workplace Rights To Know If You’re Pregnant

What are the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Discrimination can include being fired, suffering pay cuts, a reduction of working hours, being passed over for travel or assignments, or not receiving training or other employee benefits. You may also be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against an employee based on a disability. Pregnancy itself is not treated as a disability but conditions such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia may qualify as disabilities under the ADA.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

This allows you to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy or other family reasons if certain requirements are met, such as your employer has to have 50 or more employees or is a public agency, elementary, or secondary school, and you must have worked for them for at least 1250 hours in the last 12 months.

Health Insurance Coverage

Check your health insurance plan, or if your employer doesn’t offer one, see if your partner’s employer does. Employee health insurance plans have to cover the costs of pregnancy such as doctor’s visits and labor and delivery and can greatly reduce the expense of giving birth. If you don’t have employee coverage then you may qualify under Medicaid or CHIP. If you are in need of a healthcare plan, you can compare and choose using https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/#/.

Maternity Leave Policies

Maternity Leave Policies and Benefits

Seek clarity on your company’s particular parental leave policy and any benefits available to you.

Workplace Accommodations

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act came into effect on June 27, 2023. It requires employers with fifteen or more employees, in both the private and public sectors, to provide reasonable accommodations to workers who have limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions unless doing so would cause “undue hardship” to the employer. “Undue hardship” can be defined as substantial difficulties or unreasonable expenses.  Some examples of reasonable accommodations are flexible working hours, ergonomic chairs, flexible breaks to get up and move around, use the restroom, or eat, and being exempt from lifting heavy loads.