Pregnancy is an exciting time but it also comes with several fears. Expecting mothers naturally worry about the health of their coming child and their own pregnancy, childbirth and what happens next. For working mothers, pregnancy adds another burden: wondering how the workplace will accept these changes and your upcoming leave of absence.
Most of the time, pregnancy includes health concerns for the expecting mother. In addition to motion sickness and the loss of mobility, there are numerous potential complications and frequent medical check-ups. The only thing that is predictable is that you will have doctor visits. It’s hard to know how you’ll feel each day and how that will affect your work.
Can your workplace punish you for taking too much time off?
A look at pregnancy discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination is illegal. This is good news for expecting mothers because it means you can’t be punished or treated differently. Pregnancy is a protected status, which means that your employer should find you workable accommodations to do your job, such as flexible hours, restrictions on physical duties and more.
When it comes to your own health concerns during the pregnancy, there are two primary considerations. First, a pregnant employee should be treated the same as other employees by law. This means that your company sick leave policy is the first place to look for time off.
California, however, offers additional security through FEHA disability regulations. If you experience pregnancy-related health problems, you may qualify for a medical leave based on your case. Certain high-risk pregnancies qualify for this extra protection.
Approaching a workable solution
Many employers will work with you to find a solution that treats you equally with your coworkers but fits the physical demands of pregnancy. Working later hours in the day to avoid morning sickness or scheduling doctor appoints before or after work hours will show cooperation.
Flexibility is a preferred option, but not every workplace has the same policies. If you feel that your employer is treating you unfairly, consulting with an experienced employment attorney will provide more information about your rights as an expecting mother.