Women in the workplace must navigate challenges that men may be ignorant of or disregard. For example, a pregnant working woman has a lot to consider and may fear for their job.
Pregnant working women have no reason to feel shame. However, not every employer practices fairness or discretion towards their female employees. To prepare for your experience, read the following frequently asked questions about pregnancy discrimination.
Can my employer fire me?
Employers cannot fire you if you cannot work during pregnancy. According to Hawaii.gov, certain employees have protection under the Hawaii Family Leave Law. If you operate a job for six consecutive months, your employer must give you up to four weeks of unpaid leave.
Can I use paid leave for maternity leave?
Employees can substitute their unpaid family leave with paid leave. However, there is one caveat. You may only use sick leave if you have an excess of 15 days. For example, if you have 20 accrued sick days, you may only use five days towards unpaid family leave.
Do I need a sick note?
Employers cannot ask pregnant employees to provide a doctor’s note for maternity leave if they require doctor’s notes from their other employees for sick leave. If the company has an established policy requiring a medical letter for extended sick leave, they may ask you to submit a note. Pay attention to how other employees receive their sick days because you should not have any additional standards applied to you.
Hopefully, your employer treats you with kindness and respect during your pregnancy. Sadly, many companies fall short in this regard. Remember that discrimination based on pregnancy is illegal, and do not accept different treatment.