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Pregnancy and Work

January 2021

Does the law protect pregnant women in the workplace?

Yes. The law says that employers can’t discriminate against you because of

  • your pregnancy (or possible pregnancy),
  • the things that you need because you are pregnant, and
  • childbirth.

The law treats your pregnancy like a temporary disability. An employer must not do any of these things:

  • Ask you about your pregnancy or your plans to have children.
  • Refuse to hire you, say you can’t have a promotion, or fire you because you are pregnant or might become pregnant.
  • Treat you differently from other employees. For example, if you take time off for your pregnancy, your employer must treat you the same as an employee who is on disability leave.
  • Make you take time off because you are pregnant. If your job is unsafe or difficult to do because of your pregnancy, your employer must change your job duties or offer you another position.

Can my employer treat me differently because I am pregnant?

No. An employer must not treat you differently because of your pregnancy. For example, the employer must not

  • change your work duties (if you are still able to do your job), your hours, or your pay; or
  • change where you work (for example, they can’t move you to a place where people can’t see you).

Note: Your employer does not have to create a new position for you because of your pregnancy.

Taking time off from work during or after pregnancy

Can I take time off from work?

Yes. The law says you can take time off during or after pregnancy.

Can I take paid leave?

You can use your sick leave or disability leave (if you have it) for your pregnancy and maternity leave.  You might also be able to use vacation or other personal leave.

Can I take unpaid leave?

Yes. After the baby is born, you and the other parent have the right to take leave to care for the child. You also have the right to take leave before the birth if you have problems with your pregnancy.

How much leave can I take?

You should be able to take at least 6 to 8 weeks of leave, and you might be able to take up to 16 weeks of family leave. The amount of leave you can take depends on how many people work for your company and how long you have worked there. Talk to your human resources department (if you have one) for more information.

Do I have to be married to the other parent in order to take leave?

No. Both parents have the right to take leave. It doesn’t matter if you are married, living together, or you have another arrangement.

Who decides when I have to stop working?

You and your doctor decide when you stop working. You can work as long as

  • you want to work, and
  • you can do the work.

Note: If your pregnancy interferes with your job, your employer must

  • change your tasks, or
  • transfer you to a different job (if one is available) that you are able to do.

Can I keep my benefits during my leave?

Your employer must treat pregnancy like any other temporary disability. If employees with other kinds of temporary disabilities can keep their benefits, then you must also be able to keep them.

Can I have my old job back after my leave?

Yes. When you go back to work, your employer must give you the same (or similar) job with the same pay, benefits, and seniority.

Can I collect unemployment compensation?

Probably not. Unemployment compensation is for people who are able and available to work.

Exception: If you want to do light work but your employer does not have a light job for you, you may be able to get unemployment.

What can I do if my employer does not follow the law about pregnancy?

Get legal help from a lawyer, your union, or one of the places below. They can give you advice, information, and help with filing a complaint. You should contact them as soon as possible, because most discrimination cases must be filed within 180 days.

Help for Low-Income People
Statewide Legal Services:
Central Connecticut: 860-344-0380
Other areas of Connecticut: 1-800-453-3320

Help for Discrimination Cases
Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities
Eastern CT: 860-886-5703
Hartford Area: 860-566-7710
West Central CT: 203-805-6579
Southwest CT: 203-579-6246

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: 1-800-669-4000

Help for Family/Medical Leave Cases
CT Department of Labor: 860-263-6790
U.S. Department of Labor: 1-866-487-9243

Get Help From Legal Aid

Age 60+: Get help from legal aid.
Under age 60: Find legal help or apply online.
Not from Connecticut? Find help in another state.