When a woman becomes pregnant, most people expect her to be ecstatic and overjoyed at the news. While that is usually the case, there is often added stress at the thought of managing work and family. Some women may not be prepared to become mothers and are instead overwhelmed. Concerns about their jobs may overshadow any other feelings they have.
When a Pregnant Woman Works
Being pregnant can complicate a career, especially in certain industries. For women that work in a physical capacity at their jobs, they become concerned about losing their positions and benefits if they can no longer handle the tasks. While laws protect women from being fired when they become pregnant, they may be required to take leave without pay if the employer does not have a benefits’ plan in place.
Many states are addressing the issue and creating laws that require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women to help them continue working. New Jersey and West Virginia are two states that signed similar bills into law just in 2014. Employers are required to allow women to use their paid time off and even take unpaid leave during their pregnancy and after giving birth. The law states that they must receive the same benefits that other workers would receive if they were injured or disabled. The new mothers must then be allowed to return to their jobs.
While this often does not pose a problem to someone with a normal pregnancy and delivery, it can become a complex issue if they have a difficult pregnancy or other issues such as surgery that extends the time they must be away from the job.
Employers and pregnant employees can make this period easier for all if they establish open, honest communication. If a pregnant woman is no longer able to fulfill her job requirements without risk to her or her baby, an employer can look for other jobs that she can handle. She can train her temporary replacement and then take on less challenging jobs until she is able to return to her regular duties.
Both parties benefit in that she continues to earn a paycheck and the employer is able to utilize the skills of a valuable employee.
For some women, pregnancy is an unplanned complication that they were not prepared for. When they are not ready to become mothers, they may instead choose putting a baby up for adoption. This is a difficult decision to make even when it is the right one, and the woman may need counseling to deal with her emotions.
Many employers offer counseling as a benefit to employees. They may partner with a counseling service that the woman could use during and after her pregnancy. It not only helps her deal with the issue for her private life but also assists her in providing answers to co-workers and customers in her job.
Pregnant women have the challenge of caring for them and their unborn child while still fulfilling their obligations to their employers. When both parties work together, it makes the task much easier and provides benefits to the employer as well as the employee.
About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including HR and family matters.