Thinking about having a child but scared that your employment, or the employment of your loved one, may be in jeopardy? First, congratulations on this life-changing event that is sure to be a wonderful period in your life. Second, fear not, for the US government has made sure that employees are protected when preparing for child birth.
Two laws in particular stand out:
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects those who are pregnant and are in the job search process, or who currently hold a position in a company. The law outlines that companies with more than 15 employees must treat pregnant women in the same manner they treat other similarly situated employees.
The Family and Medical Leave Act looks at employment from a different angle regarding a different set of problems faced by new parents… the caring for the child in the beginning months of the newborn’s life. Companies with more than 50 employees must allow 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but only to employees who have been with the company for at least 12 months. Furthermore, the company is restricted from changing the employment status of the new parent during this protected time period, or from changing the past position that the employee occupied. Thus, the position must be the same according to law as when the person became pregnant/gave birth to her child.
I hope this little bit of legal insight allows you as an expecting parent, or as a very informed loved one, to sleep a little easier tonight.