Upon learning that one of your employees is pregnant, employers must respond appropriately to not violate that worker’s rights. This can mean tackling two issues: providing accommodations and preparing for their leave.
Accommodations to provide
Because of the physical and mental toll pregnancy can take on women, they may need extra support to do their jobs. Some of the more common accommodations you might provide include:
- Additional or longer breaks
- Options to sit instead of stand
- Flexible work schedules like remote arrangements, if appropriate
- Relocating their work station to be closer to bathrooms
- Closer parking spots
These changes can make it easier for pregnant workers to do their jobs, and the accommodations typically won’t be too disruptive. They also won’t significantly change workers’ responsibilities or create an undue hardship for you or other workers.
Be sure you have an easy way for workers to request accommodations, and consider them carefully before approving or denying the request or offering alternatives.
Preparing for their leave
After having a baby, eligible workers have the right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. As an employer, providing information regarding FMLA to the employee can be crucial. Take the time to discuss their plans and get an estimate of when the person may be taking leave.
Other ways to prepare for the person’s leave include gathering information about their current job duties and projects and identifying those who will take them over during the worker’s absence. If possible, get recommendations or suggestions from the employee. In some cases, you might need to hire a temporary employee.
Another priority for you can be to brush up on the rules of FMLA so that you don’t violate the employee’s rights.
Don’t punish the employee
Being pregnant is stressful and physically taxing; the last thing employees should have to deal with is mistreatment or punishment from their employer.
Thus, be sure you refrain from retaliatory behaviors, and if you have questions about what to do, consult an attorney before creating a legal issue for yourself and your business.