Do some research on the various laws that protect pregnant women against discrimination related to their pregnancy in the workplace. This can give you confidence as you address your needs with your boss.
Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for accommodations during your pregnancy. Possible accommodations to consider include temporary reassignment, time off for medical appointments, or working from home.
Tip: Best practice suggests submitting all accommodation requests in writing.
Tip: When asking for accommodations, frame them as a benefit to the company. For example, “I am more productive if I work from home during this time,” or “I would be more helpful in a different position currently.”
If you need to take time off during your pregnancy or after you give birth, refer to your employee handbook or ask your employer about their leave policy. This type of leave can fall under different terms, including Paid Family Leave or Pregnancy Disability Leave. There are some government protections around this type of leave, which you can find more information on here: federal protections or California protections. If you live outside of California, be sure to research the policies of your state.
Maintaining Your Career
Losing career momentum is a common concern related to an unexpected pregnancy. Here are some tips to set yourself up for success:
- Document your successes in the workplace! Start brainstorming all your accomplishments at your job and get them down on paper. This will concretely show the value you add to the company. (Bonus Tip: This is a great practice no matter where you are in your career.)
- You will be extra tired during your pregnancy and the early stages of parenthood, so establish the habit of writing everything down on paper now. Have daily, weekly, and future to-do lists. Create manuals or checklists for your tasks and projects. These documents will relieve your stress and help your coworkers during your absence.
- Build your network and try to help others. Having positive connections in your field will make returning easier.
- Follow a two-step process when telling your manager about your pregnancy. 1) Privately inform them about your pregnancy and schedule a meeting for further discussion. 2) Come to the meeting with a plan for how your tasks will be handled before and during your maternity leave. Come over-prepared to answer questions.
- Be direct with your needs and desires rather than leaving your boss to assume what you’ll want. Communicate your personal boundaries around things like scheduling, overtime, and traveling for work. (Bonus Tip: Speak to your doctor first to be fully informed.)
How We Can Help
If you think you are pregnant, we are here for you. If you want to talk to someone about your pregnancy options, schedule your free, confidential appointment, or call us at 530-272-6800 or text us at 530-802-0858.
Department of Labor Staff. “Employment Protection for Workers Who Are Pregnant or Nursing.” U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/pregnant-nursing-employment-protections.
Department of Labor Staff. “Family and Medical Leave (FMLA).” U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.
Downey, Allyson. “The Career Advice I Wish I’d Followed When I Was Pregnant.” TIME, 5 Feb. 2016, https://time.com/4192644/work-advice-pregnant/.
King & Siegel. “Pregnant at Work in California? 9 Things You Need to Know about Your Right to Accommodations.” King & Siegel LLP, 15 April, 2021, https://www.kingsiegel.com/blog/pregnant-at-work-in-california-9-things-you-need/.
Tulshyan, Ruchika. “Career Strategies to Advance During Pregnancy.” Forbes, 28 April 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ruchikatulshyan/2016/04/28/career-strategies-to-advance-during-pregnancy/?sh=1a5319df1e0a.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “Pregnancy Discrimination and Pregnancy-Related Disability discrimination.” U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, https://www.eeoc.gov/pregnancy-discrimination.
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