For the health of new and expectant mothers and their children, it is imperative that working mothers are afforded the legal protections that guard against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, provide time off from work for birth and to bond with a new child, and provide time and space at work to pump breast milk.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides job-protected leave for prenatal care or when an expecting mother is unable to work because of the pregnancy. For adoptive or foster parents, the FMLA provides a right to take leave for required counseling, court appointments and related travel prior to the foster care placement or adoption.
- Discrimination and harassment based on pregnancy for any aspect of employment including hiring, firing, pay, promotions, training, and more is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Birth and Bonding Time
- The FMLA also provides a right to unpaid, job-protected leave for the baby’s birth or the placement of a child with adoptive or foster parents. This right is afforded not only for the birth, but for an extended time to bond with the child within the first year after birth or placement.
Returning to Work and Nursing
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires most employers to provide nursing mothers reasonable break time and a private space, other than a bathroom, to pump breast milk.
- It’s important that workers and employers also understand that the FLSA protects workers from discrimination or retaliation when they question employer practices or assert their rights.
The Wage and Hour Division, Women’s Bureau and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will host a year-long series of free webinars and outreach events to ensure advocates, health care providers, and employers understand the workplace rights of new and expectant mothers.
Webinar #1: What to Expect from Your Employer When You're Expecting
Presentation #1: What to Expect from Your Employer When You're Expecting (PDF)
Webinar #2: What to Expect When Your Employee is Expecting: Manufacturing and Warehousing Webinar
Webinar #3: Black Mothers at Work: A Discussion on Workplace Challenges and Supports
Webinar #4: What Your Clients Should Expect From Their Employer When They Are Expecting: Midwives and Doulas
Information on upcoming events will be posted here, and they’ll include the following topics:
- State-level webinars offering both federal and state rights and benefits
- Industry-specific employer compliance events
- FACT SHEET: President Biden’s and Vice President Harris's Maternal Health Blueprint Delivers for Women, Mothers, and Families | The White House
- Fact Sheet: Pregnancy Discrimination
- Fact Sheet #28Q: Taking Leave from Work for Birth, Placement, and Bonding with a Child under the FMLA
- Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA
- Employment Protections for Workers Who Are Pregnant or Nursing
- Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions