If you are expecting a child, the life of your job or what your employment will look like from here may worry you. You may be wondering if you’ll be treated differently at work, if you’ll face discrimination because of your pregnancy, or if you’ll even have a job after you have your child.
Not to worry; there are many accommodations an employer is required to provide you during your pregnancy.
Discrimination Against Pregnant Women Is Illegal
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), you may not be treated differently from your co-workers on the basis of your pregnancy. This means you cannot be refused opportunities, such as a promotion or benefits, or be terminated because you’re pregnant. You are also protected from harassment about your pregnancy.
Maternity Leave Is Your Choice, but You Must Be Given the Option
Unless your employer has fewer than 5 employees, you must be given up to four months of maternity leave time. You may be given longer based on the time your healthcare provider says you need. As long as you are still able to perform your job functions, however, an employer cannot force you to take leave, nor can they stop you from returning after a pregnancy-related absence. Your employer must also continue giving you health insurance benefits, even while you are on leave.
If you can no longer perform your job functions without reasonable accommodation, you are entitled to the same rights as disabled employees. For example, if your employer offers paid leave to disabled employees, they must provide the same to you.
It is also possible to take bonding leave to bond with your child after birth, which can be combined with maternity leave time if you meet the requirements for bonding leave.
You Can’t Lose Your Job for Taking Leave
Unless your position had to be removed for business reasons unrelated to your absence, your employer is required to give you the same or a similar position to the one you had prior to taking leave. Your employer does not have to reinstate you if you are on leave for longer than four months unless you require a longer leave due to pregnancy disabilities.