Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
If, like me, you’re committed to working throughout your pregnancy—and returning to work after babies—you’re going to want to read this.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has made updates to its rules on discrimination and pregnancy for the first time in more than three decades.
It’s against the law to discriminate against employees who are pregnant (or were in the past, or might be in the future), and the commission made clear that adjustments may need to be made for pregnant workers—including providing the option of light duty—and clearly forbids employers from forcing a pregnant employee to take a leave of absence when she is able to carry on working.
And the new, tougher rules on pregnancy aren’t the only good news in the update: breastfeeding and parental leave are also addressed. The commission makes clear a policy regarding breastfeeding, characterizing lactation as a medical issue subject to legal protections. That means lactating moms must be provided a private location as well as the scheduling opportunity to pump milk.
Furthermore, employers who provide parental leave (separate from medical leave related to the actual childbearing or childbirth recovery) must do so equally for men and women.
It goes without saying that any improvements in support for pregnant women in the U.S. are good for working families overall.
Living in the only industrialized country in the world without any paid leave for parents of newborns (let that sink in), I’m happy and relieved whenever I see good news that suggests movement in the right direction here in America (and I can better manage my jealousy of my Australian friend currently on a year of paid maternity leave through various benefit channels)!
Pregnant? See how your belly will grow over the next weeks and months. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news and trends!
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013
It can be nerve-wracking trying to figure out how and when you should spill the beans about the bun in your oven at work. You could be extra sensitive if you’ve just recently started the job, you’re up for a promotion, or your company is rumored to have layoffs coming up. It’s a very personal decision of when to share your big news, so do it on your own time. But a good rule of thumb for most pregnant women seems to be at the beginning of their second trimester. That way, they know things are going well with the pregnancy, many haven’t fully started showing yet, and it still gives them enough time to work out the minute details about their maternity leave.
But could giving your boss and colleagues too much notice backfire on you? According to a new survey of 432 moms conducted by Slater & Gordon in London, the answer is yes! A staggering 75 percent of women suggested that moms-to-be should actually wait till the last possible minute to tell their bosses that they’re expecting. Why? Because the attitudes of their bosses and colleagues changed once they found out they were pregnant (not in a good way), and a whopping 48 percent felt their chances of rising in the ranks had come to a halt since becoming pregnant.
Suddenly, you’re seen differently in the eyes of your co-workers. You’re no longer the capable, confident go-getter, but fragile. What’s up with that? I’ve had friends who’ve said they’ve been moved from high-profile accounts—without their request—because they required nighttime entertaining of clients, or longer hours, and their bosses felt that those weren’t the right fit for a pregnant woman. Whether it’s intended to be helpful or not—who knows?!—often times bosses take it upon themselves to do what they think is best for you and your family. And by that I mean they think you should be at home more—whether that’s your intended career path or not.
Sadly, for the women in the survey, the news didn’t get much better once they returned from maternity leave. Twenty-nine percent felt that they had been passed over for promotions because they had taken maternity leave, and were now perceived as having family obligations that would prevent them from doing as well of a job as they had done before having kids.
Discrimination is never a good thing, but I really hate that this sort of blatant stereotyping would never happen to men. Fathers aren’t “daddy tracked” in the office, so why are mothers “mommy-tracked”?
TELL US: When did you tell your boss you were pregnant? Did you feel anyone at work treated you differently because you were pregnant?
Image of woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
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