Pregnancy As A Short Term Disability


According to Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnancy is considered as a short term disability. However, the law ensures that any employment agency or employer with more than 15 workers does not use this as the basis of refusal of employment opportunities to women who are working while their delivery is due or who intend to become pregnant in the immediate future.

Government Code Section 12945 summarizes that if a woman employee decides to become pregnant while on the job, then a specific period of her pregnancy would be treated as a temporary disability. Further, she would be also given the same benefits that other temporarily disabled employee may be given due to any other type of temporary disability.

As per the US Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the first benefit that any pregnant woman can avail of without any fear of financial or any other type of retribution from her present employers is maternity leave. Under the existing US laws, pregnant women can avail of maternity leave of up to four months. The period covered under this leave would include the period of disability from pregnancy and delivery.

The woman however has the right to inform that employer about the period of disability when it starts. It is only her who can tell till what point of time her body allows her to work for long hours at her job. Once it becomes evident that she would no longer be able to work, the period of disability would start. However, it is mandatory that she seconds her own opinion about her ability with a medical verification of the situation by a doctor.

Till the time she produces such a certificate, it becomes obligatory for the employer to find any alternate job profile if her existing profile is getting hampered by the fact of her pregnancy. Further, she should be allowed to continue working as long as her body allows her to do so. To fill her place while she is gone on pregnancy leave, the employer may advertise for a temporary opening at the same level.

As far as the leaves are concerned, a pregnant woman can make use of any leaves that she had accrued over a period of time. The employer would also help in this matter by transforming these leaves and making them available to not only her but also to other short term disability cases. And, \to facilitate the development of the mother's bonding with her child, an additional unpaid leave for 3 months can be requested for if the employee is eligible under the CFRA.

Any health cover provided by the employer must also cover expenses incurred during pregnancy. The basis for refurbishing the amount would be the same as that in other medical conditions. However, costs incurred from abortion need not be provided for by employers.