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The rights of a working mother

People often find that going to work is inconvenient for different reasons. A working mother must deal with those reasons alongside her pregnancy and/or childbirth. It is only fair that the government protects working mothers and their rights to a conducive workplace. An employer with five or more employees cannot refuse these rights.

The right to reasonable accommodation

According to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), your employer must provide you with reasonable working conditions. They must accommodate your medical needs, especially those that concern pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing. You can request to transfer to a less hazardous or strenuous position interim. You may also require more breaks to use the bathroom, hydrate, express breast milk or breastfeed. California employers should also provide private lactation accommodations for employees needing to pump breast milk.

The right to pregnancy-related leaves

Pregnant women are at a higher risk for severe morning sickness, high blood pressure (gestational hypertension), diabetes (gestational diabetes) and other serious health issues. Aside from maternity leave, your employer cannot prevent you from taking a pregnancy disability leave (PDL). You may use your PDL if you cannot perform at least one essential job function. It can last up to four months. You may also use the PDL at irregular intervals for medical appointments.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) ensures that eligible employees can take a maternity leave for up to 12 weeks to care for their health or to bond with their new child. These 12 weeks are separate from the four months an employee can take a leave because of a pregnancy disability.

The right to reinstatement

After your PDL or CFRA bonding leave, you have the right to return to the same position you had before taking the leave. Your employer may not demote or terminate you without due cause. If unable to reinstate you to the same position, your employer must reinstate you to an equivalent job function with comparable pay.

As a working mother, you should know your rights. Your employer should protect you and your rights, especially since you are bringing another human into the world.