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6 things pregnant women and new moms should know

Pregnant women and new mothers have specific rights by which employers must abide. These protections apply to all pregnant women. They cover pregnant women from the hiring process through her pregnancy and even during the postpartum period. All pregnant women and those who have recently had a baby should remember these points.

#1: Employers can't refuse to hire you because you are pregnant

Employers mustn't consider a woman's pregnancy status when they are deciding about whether to offer her employment or not. In fact, employers shouldn't ask about a possible pregnancy when they are interviewing female candidates.

#2: Employers must give you the same benefits as other workers

Employment benefits must be consistent from one worker to another. Employers can't bypass pregnant employees for benefits just because of the pregnancy. This includes offering bonus programs, vacations, leaves, health insurance coverage, life insurance coverage and any other benefits.

#3: Employers must give you full consideration for raises and promotions

Employers can't bypass a female employee for raises or promotions just because of the pregnancy. They can't fire an employee because of a pregnancy. Pregnant employees have protections against retaliatory measures. This means that if a pregnant employee makes a complaint about the company, the company can't fire her for making the complaint as long as the complaint was factual.

#4: Employers can't require doctors' excuses based on pregnancy issues

Employers mustn't ask a pregnant employee for a doctor's excuse to come back to work after an absence unless the employer would ask other employees for an excuse. They also can't discriminate on a pregnant woman based on restrictions that a doctor places on her ability to perform basic job duties.

#5: Employers must provide Family and Medical Leave Act leave if applicable

The Family and Medical Leave Act applies to pregnant employees who meet the requirements for longevity of employment. This leave provides pregnant women unpaid time off that she can use for pregnancy-related conditions, childbirth and postpartum recovery.

#6: Employers must provide pumping breaks and locations

Many women decide to pump breastmilk when they return to work. Missouri laws and federal laws provide specific rights for these women. Employers must provide these women with a private place to pump and regular breaks to pump. The space provided must not be a bathroom and the woman must not have to deal with intrusions from co-workers or others while she pumps.

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