Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

Supporting pregnant women at work reduces infant mortality, improves maternal and infant health, and reduces doctor and hospital visits. When children have good health in utero and good birth outcomes, they are more likely to have good physical health and on-track development during childhood and throughout life. While not all women will require pregnancy accommodations, some will need small, temporary adjustments to work safely through their pregnancies. These small adjustments may include more frequent water or bathroom breaks, an option to work while seated instead of standing, uniform modifications, or relief from heavy lifting.

Federal laws do not guarantee accommodations in the workplace, and currently, North Carolina’s anti-discrimination law does not specifically include pregnancy. Pregnant women should not be forced to choose between their job and the health of their pregnancy and their child. Adopting reasonable pregnancy accommodations in the workplace will enable women to continue working throughout their pregnancies while ensuring their health and safety.

Key Things to Know:
  • 62% of pregnant and new moms are in the labor force, and 75% of women will be pregnant and employed simultaneously over the course of their lives.
  • 13% of babies are born pre-term and 9.2% are born at a low birth weight. Pregnancy accommodations improve maternal and fetal health and can prevent these challenges.
  • 40% of employers reported reduced worker’s compensation and insurance costs after implementing pregnancy accommodations.
  • Replacing an employee permanently rather than providing short-term accommodations can cost as much as 5 times the employee’s yearly salary.

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In December 2018, Governor Roy Cooper extended pregnancy accommodations to state employees through Executive Order No. 82: Promoting Health and Wellness by Clarifying Protections Afforded to Pregnant State Employees.

Click here to read more about this Executive Order.