Gone are the days when many women had the option of not working during their pregnancies. Now, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families, roughly 70% of women work when they are pregnant. This number represents approximately 2.8 million women in the U.S. every year.
Even though the Sunshine State does not have its own pregnancy-associated law, some federal laws apply. These include the Americans With Disabilities Act. the Family & Medical Leave Act (only available where the employer employs more than 50 people within a 75 mile radius of the employee’s work location) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Even though many pregnant women can perform their job duties for most of their pregnancies, they might not be able to do everything, especially those with jobs that may include heavy lifting. Federal law requires covered employees to make reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.
Reasonable accommodations are modifications to a person’s job duties or environments that allow the person to still perform his or her job. Such accommodations, however, cannot be “unreasonable” and should not overly burden the employer.
Pregnant workers may request a variety of accommodations. Whether these requests are reasonable, however, will depend on a several different factors. Still, the following accommodations are standard in many workplaces:
- Reducing physical work, such as allowing a pregnant worker to be on light duty
- Adjusting work schedules, like permitting a pregnant worker to attend medical appointments
- Increasing break time
- Creating pumping stations
- Allowing remote work
This list is not exhaustive, of course, and other accommodations might be reasonable under the circumstances. Ultimately, it is advisable for covered employers to consider any pregnancy-related accommodation request that does not unreasonably interfere with business processes.