Employees who are pregnant, may be pregnant or are experiencing pregnancy-related complications have legal protection against discrimination. Employers must accommodate these employees as necessary to avoid discrimination or wrongful termination claims, but it does not have to stop there.
There are steps every employer can take to support pregnant employees.
Simplify benefits access
Create a single portal on your company’s benefits system that guides pregnant employees through the notification, leave application and benefits review process. Consolidating everything into one place ensures that employees have access to everything that they need for their maternity leave preparation, benefits modifications and company notification process.
Provide flexible work solutions
Between prenatal doctor’s appointments and morning sickness, flexible work schedules are beneficial for pregnant employees. Consider supporting telecommuting and offering flex-time options as part of your company’s benefits so that pregnant employees never have to choose between caring for themselves and their unborn child or keeping their job.
Create mothers’ rooms
When pregnant employees return from maternity leave, many are still breastfeeding their babies. Create mothers’ rooms where those employees can pump, and provide refrigerated storage spaces to keep milk until they go home. This shows support for nursing mothers and prevents them from feeling as though they have to pump in the restrooms, which is unsanitary.
Be champions of your pregnant employees by making it clear that you support them and comply with all of the FMLA laws. Ask about any needed accommodations, discuss any changes in responsibility if your employees wish to and remind them that you value their contributions.