Pregnancy Rights for Employees in the Workplace

TOP Pregnancy Rights for Employees in the Workplace
Working While Pregnant
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It is illegal for any employer with more than four employees to fire an employee because she is pregnant—or to change the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. It is also illegal for an employer to refuse to hire an applicant because she is pregnant.

As of January 2016, New York state law explicitly guarantees pregnant workers the right to reasonable accommodations for any pregnancy-related conditions, including:

  • occasional breaks to rest or drink water,
  • a modified work schedule,
  • leave for related medical needs,
  • available light duty assignments, and
  • transfers away from hazardous duty.

If you take leave due to a pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, you have the right to return. Your employer may not require you to remain on leave until you give birth, and they must hold your job for you as long as they do for employees who take leave for other reasons.

For more information, or to file a complaint, visit: dhr.ny.gov/ or call the Division of Human Rights at 1-888-392-3644.

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Working While Breastfeeding
Working While Breastfeeding
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Under New York law, it is illegal for your employer to treat you differently because you are breastfeeding. Nursing mothers are guaranteed break time to express breast milk at work.

  • For up to three years following childbirth, you have the right to take reasonable unpaid break time or to use paid break time or meal time each day, so that you can express breast milk at work.
  • Your employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or another location, in close proximity to your work area, where you can express breast milk in private.
  • Your employer may not discriminate against you based on your decision to express breast milk at work.

For more information, visit: http://ny.gov/nursingmothers.

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Taking Paid Family Leave
Taking Paid Family Leave
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In 2016, Governor Cuomo signed into law the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy. Working families will no longer have to choose between caring for their loved ones and risking their economic security.

As of January 1, 2018, most employees who work in New York State for private employers are eligible to take Paid Family Leave. If you are a public employee, your employer may choose to offer Paid Family Leave.

New York’s Paid Family Leave provides job-protected, paid time off so you can:

  • bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child;
  • care for a close relative with a serious health condition; or
  • assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.

You can continue your health insurance while on leave and are guaranteed the same or a comparable job after your leave ends. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on Paid Family Leave.

For more information, visit: http://ny.gov/paidfamilyleave 

[If you believe that you have been discriminated because of your pregnancy, or denied a reasonable accommodation for a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, you can file complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights: visit: https://dhr.ny.gov/ or call the Division of Human Rights Hotline at 1-888-392-3644]

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Downloadable Guides
Downloadable Guides
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Are You Pregnant or Breastfeeding? Know Your Rights

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