Pregnancy rights for pregnant working women in NYC?
April 16, 2024 1:15 PM   Subscribe

YANML but I find this area of law to be a confusing maze. And my pregnancy brain has lost some of its processing power. What laws do I need to be aware of that offer me some protection in the workplace while I’m pregnant in NYC?

I work for a fairly large corporation but the specific division I’m in is led by cutthroat conservative men. I want to be well prepared once I disclose this pregnancy to advocate for myself and ensure that I’m not treated unfairly and that I’m allowed the accommodations I may be entitled to.

I’m still very early on but I’m struggling with the expected symptoms which have exacerbated my anxiety a lot. I’m fairly worried about not being able to give 100% to my job at all times during this time, and if there are are protections in place that take into consideration the challenges that pregnant women face.

If anyone is well versed in this topic I’d appreciate your insight.
posted by Riverside to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pregnant employees are protected by federal, state, and city laws in New York. As a start, I would look at the following: NYS Human Rights Law (CTRL-F for "pregnan") and NYC's Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement Guidance. If you encounter particular issues, Pregnancy Justice is based in NYC. Another wonderful resource is A Better Balance, which is based in Colorado but works nationwide. They have helpful samples on starting difficult conversations on the issue of pregnancy with your employer.
I am a lawyer in NYC, but this is not my area of expertise.
posted by lassie at 2:00 PM on April 16

Also check your policy/employee handbook if your employer has one. They need to follow the relevant NY laws, but might have additional pregnancy benefits such as extended maternity/paternity leave that are more generous, and they must be held to their own rules if you are a covered person. You might need to check with HR or even your own attorney to sort out which employee benefits you are entitled to.

In addition, if you are in a labor union the specific benefits will have been bargained for, and you should have a copy of your union's contract. Once ratified a labor contract is legally binding.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!
posted by citygirl at 3:42 PM on April 16

You may be eligible for 12 weeks of NYS Paid Family Leave and 12 weeks of unpaid federal Family & Medical Leave (FML) if your employer is covered. PFL covers 67% of pay up to a cap and offers job protection; FML also offers job protection. New York State also has protections for breastfeeding & pumping milk when you return to work.

Many workplaces also offer disability leave (typically 6-8 weeks for childbirth) that covers 1/3 of your pay up to a cap. Check your employee handbook for details. Typically, disability, paid family leave, and FML will run concurrently, and you will use sick leave and other paid time off to cover any wages not covered by the disability & PFL coverage.

If you require accommodations (like sitting instead of standing, not lifting heavy things, bed rest, etc.), that is a separate request process & legal framework. The Job Accommodation Network has good info and resources on the process.

Best of luck!
posted by ourobouros at 4:27 PM on April 16

Could be a great qn for AskAManager too. She is very big on emplyment rights including pregency and often has experts/lawyers answer these kinds of questions for absolute correctness (I believe that she may even just respond to some qns directly to you if she can, so could be worth a chance)
posted by Lesium at 4:40 AM on April 17

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