The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which applies to employers with fifteen (15) or more employees, forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment including, but not limited to, recruitment, compensation, promotions, training, benefits and terminations.
Under the PDA, an employee who is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy must be given the same rights as any other employee with a temporary disability. For example, if an employee who is temporarily disabled utilizes disability leave or leave without pay, an employee who is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy must be able to utilize the same benefit.
In addition to the PDA, employers should be aware of the employee’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA applies to employers with fifty (50) or more employees working within a seventy-five (75) mile radius. Under the FMLA, if an employee has worked for the employer for at least twelve (12) months, he/she may be eligible for up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave, which may be used to care for the new child.
When a mother returns to work, the employer may need to provide her with an accommodation if she has decided to nurse her child. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require employers with fifty (50) or more employees to provide accommodations to nursing mothers. First, the employer is required to provide reasonable break times for the mother to express her milk as frequently as needed for up to one (1) year following the birth of the child. Second, the employer must provide the mother with an acceptable location to express her milk. Under the FLSA, a restroom, even if private, is not acceptable. The location should be private, free from intrusion and available when the mother needs it. Employers with less than fifty (50) employees are still required to provide the FLSA break time accommodations, unless compliance would cause an undue hardship.
Any breaks the mother takes to express her milk are not required to be paid under the FLSA. However, if an employer provides compensated breaks to other employees, then the mother must be compensated as well.
If you have any questions regarding the rules and regulations surrounding the PDA, FMLA or FLSA, please call Creative Business Solutions (CBS). CBS specializes in ensuring each of our valued clients is in compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to their respective businesses. Please call us today and we will be pleased to assist you with any HR compliance issue you may be experiencing.