Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on personal finances, small businesses and travel.

Sarah Brooks has written 27 articles for SB Informer.
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Are Small Businesses Receptive to Babies?

Sarah Brooks

March 20, 2014

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Dozens of laws are in place to protect pregnant women in the workplace.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows pregnant women to take up to 12 weeks unpaid off from work if they work for a company that employs 50 or more people. Another law, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), prevents pregnant women from being discriminated against in the workplace.

For pregnant women who work for companies with less than 15 employees, there are no such laws in place. But to be fair, most of these small businesses still allow time off and do not discriminate against pregnant women.

Even with laws in place, some women do feel like they're treated differently by their employer once they announce their pregnancy.

One poll conducted a survey of 1,000 new mothers who returned to work. They found that almost one-third of them did not think they were treated well by their employer when they were on maternity leave. A third of women also felt they did not get promoted because they were now a new mom.

How small businesses can help pregnant women

One way small business owners can make pregnant women feel more comfortable is by simply asking her about her pregnancy and how she's doing.

All too often, a woman announces her pregnancy and her boss or coworkers fail to bring it up again. No one seems to know how to handle the news and some think it's best to just avoid the subject. In reality, this is only making the new mom-to-be feel even more insecure and invaluable to the company.

Throughout her pregnancy, small business owners should often ask about her plans on returning to work.

The woman may want to come back part time, she may want to come back after 6 weeks off, she may want to take the full 12 weeks off, she may plan on putting the baby up for adoption and coming back right away, or she may not wish to return at all. Keep this line of communication open, and be willing to be flexible regarding her needs (especially if you value her as an employee).

Can your company offer the returning new mom a flexible schedule?

Perhaps she could work from home on Fridays, or leave early on Mondays and Wednesdays.

By giving her extra time to be with her new baby, you're helping reduce her 'mom guilt' from returning to work and allowing her to get some extra rest.

Again, if the particular employee is a great worker and a valuable asset to you, and she always gets her work completed on time, offering her a flexible schedule may be just what she needs to keep her life balanced.

Understand those first few months

If you can't offer a flexible schedule, at least be willing to be flexible and understanding during those first few months.

Babies get sick often, plus they need to go to the doctor every two months for the first six months of their lives. Try not to make the new mom feel guilty for leaving early to take her new baby to the doctor.

Instead, be understanding. If you truly need her in the office 40 hours per week, suggest she come in early or stay late one day to make up the time.

Pregnancy and new babies are scary in general.

Expectant moms do not need added stress in their lives from work, so try to make the transition as smooth as possible for them. Happy, stress-free moms make for more productive workers.


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