According to US Federal Laws, pregnancy is considered to be a temporary disability. Temporary disability is defined as a physical or mental disability which hampers your discharging of responsibilities for a short period of time. Hence, there are work laws that protect the interest of pregnant working women in a manner similar to other worker suffering from temporary disabilities.
Exactly When and How Does US Federal and State Law Protect Pregnant Women Workers?
US federal laws protect the interest of pregnant women workers only if there 15are more employees in the firm. Some state laws protect pregnant women workers even if there are less than 15 workers in the firm. Both laws ensure that pregnant women are not discriminated against at the time of hiring. Further it is not necessary to declare your "pregnant" status at the time of joining.
Till what point in time are you expected to work?
Pregnant women can work as long as their body allows them to discharge designated responsibilities in an efficient manner. According to laws, you would continue to hold on to your existing job profile and the emoluments and perks you currently draw. The temporary disability can not be used as a ground to withdraw or lower these.
Would you be monetarily refunded for the absence from work?
The answer is no. According to laws, your employer is not bound to pay you for this period of leave.
So what are the real benefits awarded to pregnant women?
* If the employer has made arrangements then pregnant women can draw temporary disability insurance. The insurance would pay for a part of the wages lost during the absence and the medical expenses incurred in the process.
* The law does not require employers to pay for prenatal healthcare to pregnant women especially if there is no offer of health insurance in the salary package. However, if there is a health insurance plan on offer then it is better to ensure that it covers temporary disabilities such as pregnancy.
* Medical bills related to pregnancy would be cleared at par with bills incurred for other types of medical conditions.
* If there are special benefits provided to workers on leave, employers are bound to provide the same for women on pregnancy leave as well. Their absence would not be treated negatively when it comes to pay increase, promotion and other similar things.
* If there is a need then pregnant women can ask for an appropriate reduction in work load or temporary change in work profile for the period of pregnancy. This can be especially asked if a precedent has been set at the workplace. However, the law does not tie the employers to abide by it.