Being pregnant is a blissful feeling, but it is also a responsibility. You are responsible for the life, growing in your womb, to see the light of the world. So you need to carry the pregnancy well. If you are working, you need to juggle your work responsibilities with those of being pregnant. Is it possible? Well, there are rules and guidelines in the federal law as well as some state laws that do make this possible. You just need to be aware of them.
Right against discrimination in employment for being a woman or being pregnant is ingrained in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In any organization having more than 15 employees, you can expect a right against discrimination policy. This policy discourages and debars discrimination against women on account of childbirth, pregnancy, and pregnancy-related conditions. In fact, it lays down that pregnancy is a temporary medical disability. It is not just federal law; even state laws defend the right of women against discrimination in case of pregnancy, childbirth, etc.
You need to know that if you are working in an organization having more than 15 employees, you are protected by state and federal laws against termination arising out of pregnancy or a related condition. However, you must also remember that an employer is not legally mandated to make your job easier during pregnancy.
Apart from the fact that you have the FMLA to protect your paid leave whenever required, the employer cannot force you to take leave. However, if you are unable to perform, you need to take leave.
The state, as well as federal laws, treat pregnancy at par with a temporary medical condition. This implies that you are entitled to the same benefits as a sick employee. This includes temporary disability insurance, medical benefits, leaves, etc.
You can take 12 weeks of FMLA leave during pregnancy for any relevant condition or after the birth of the child. However, to be eligible for FMLA you need to work in a facility which has 50 or more employees within a radius of 75 miles of the facility. You need to know that your partner too is covered by FMLA. In fact, a father too can claim FMLA leave to take care of his pregnant wife.
Unpaid Maternity Leave
This is a great relief for moms to be and new moms. As a part of the FMLA, you are also entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. The act stipulates that your job will be secured for 12 weeks which may include the time before and after the birth of the child.
It is essential to know that single mothers too can get all the benefits available to pregnant women and new moms.
To make matters easy you need to divulge the news of your pregnancy with your boss first. On most cases, bosses are sympathetic and also empathetic towards pregnant women employees. However, they prefer a direct approach. So make sure to approach your boss directly. You can expect all the benefits available to pregnant employees and even more.