Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on small businesses, pregnancy and adoption.

Sarah Brooks has written 27 articles for SB Informer.
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Small Business and Expectant Mothers

Sarah Brooks

July 30, 2014

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In 2013, nearly 70 percent of moms with children under the age of 18 were either in the workforce or looking for work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meantime, the U.S. Census Bureau found that more than half of women will have at least one child in their life.

As a small business owner, this means your chances of having a pregnant woman in your office at some point in time are statistically very high.


Should you hire an expectant mother?

If the woman is qualified for the position, you are required under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to not discriminate based on pregnancy when it comes to hiring, firing, laying off, training, benefits and more.

If the woman becomes unable to perform her job because of the pregnancy, you are required to treat her the same way you would treat any other disabled employee - possibly by assigning different responsibilities or allowing the employee to work from home temporarily.

It will always be in your small business' best interest to hire the most qualified candidate, regardless of pregnancy or any other temporary condition.



How to handle time off to have the baby

The U.S. Department of Labor allows eligible employees to take unpaid medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

For pregnant women, this allows them 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their newborn and recover from labor and delivery.

You may decide to offer 6 weeks of paid time-off for expecting mothers or allow employees to accrue their vacation time so they are able to continue getting paid. You could also decide to allow them to work from home for a period of time after the baby is born.

Pregnant women have dozens of decisions to make regarding how they will deliver their baby, who will care for the baby when they return to work, how to get the baby on a sleep schedule and more. As an employer, you should do your best to make the 'work' part of the pregnancy as stress-free as possible.

The delivery will perhaps be the most stressful experience for the woman, especially if she is choosing to give her baby up for adoption.

According to the article “5 Important Delivery Day Decisions,” the pregnant woman should have a clear delivery plan in place and should make many decisions ahead of time - such as who will be in the room when you deliver and who will hold the baby first.

Another act that protects pregnant women is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The act is designed to encourage employers to accommodate pregnant women. This can be in the form of allowing extra breaks to use the restroom, giving them a more comfortable chair to sit in or being flexible when it comes to doctor's appointments.

Pregnancy is a temporary condition, and while many women are able to work up until delivery, some do experience difficulties that will require you, as an employer, to be flexible and accommodating.

When hiring, focus on getting the right candidate in place.

If the woman is or will eventually become pregnant, you will deal with that issue as it arises. Always be fair and willing to help make the process easier.


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