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Workplace rights during pregnancy

Updated on July 5, 2013

Right to work while pregnant

woman at work while pregnant
woman at work while pregnant

Workplace Rights During Pregnancy

Pregnant women deserve to be treated equally and fairly by their employer.They should not be discriminated or treated differently. This means that employers should not also create conditions that discriminate against women or make them feel unwelcome because they are pregnant.Below is a guideline on the rights of a woman during the period of pregnancy.

1. Pregnant women should be treated like any other employee.It is illegal for your employer to discriminate a woman because of childbirth,pregnancy, or pregnancy related conditions. Pregnancy should instead be treated like a temporary medical condition that comes and goes.

2. No woman should be forced to take leave . As long as a female employee can perform the tasks assigned to her, she should not be forced to take leave while she is pregnant. In case an employee is absent from work because of a pregnancy related condition, the employer should not force her to remain on leave until the baby's birth.

3. No woman should be fired because she is pregnant.As long as the pregnant female employee can perform the major functions of her job ,an employer should not fire, deny a job or a promotion to a woman because of her pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions.

4.Pregnant women have a right to the same benefits that other employees with medical conditions receive. Pregnant women should be offered the same level of medical benefits, leave, and temporary disability insurance that are given to employees who have other medical conditions or disabilities.

Pregnant woman taking time away from work to get a medical checkup
Pregnant woman taking time away from work to get a medical checkup

5. Pregnant women should be provided with a flexible work schedule so as to accommodate their needs.Pregnant women require a flexible work schedule.This may include flexible working hours, time off for medical checkup, or arranging for the employee to work from home.

6. Pregnant women can take maternity leave before the baby is born. If a pregnant woman is physically unable to work due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, she can take a maternity leave while still pregnant.

7. A pregnant woman is entitled to have her duties at her work place changed if her pregnancy no longer allows her to perform parts of her job. For instance, if a pregnant store clerk who is restricted from lifting more than fifteen pounds due to some health reasons, cannot be asked to carry boxes heavier than that weight. The employer should instead request another employee who may be able to do this task temporarily to do it. The pregnant employee should then be given additional but less physically demanding tasks in exchange for not carrying heavy boxes.

8. A single mothers should be treated equally with married mothers.This means that they should not be denied the standard benefits due to their marital status.Benefits related to pregnancy cannot be limited to only married employees.

Right to breastfeed at work

Woman breastfeeding her child at work
Woman breastfeeding her child at work

Workplace Rights After Pregnancy

Even after pregnancy, women deserve to be treated fairly by their employer. After a pregnancy a woman should not be fired on the grounds of childbirth or breastfeeding. She has a right to return back to her job.

The employee should also be reign-stated to the position she was in before her pregnancy.The employer should therefore lay off one of the junior employees and place the returning employee to her position.

Lastly, employers should not deny women the right to breastfeed in work or in public, or refuse to accommodate breastfeeding at the workplace. They should permit female employees to have their infants brought in to be breastfed in the workplace or allow the pregnant woman to take time to breastfeed outside the workplace.


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