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On the clock and pregnant: can employees take extra breaks?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2021 | Pregnancy Discrimination

California’s state law offers several key protections to pregnant workers. Under the law, your pregnancy is protected as a “disability” or a “medical condition”. This means employers may need to make exceptions to some general policies in order to accommodate pregnant workers.

One type of reasonable accommodation Pregnant workers may request are additional breaks. Here are a few important things that people should know about pregnant workers’ entitlement to extra break time.

Why may pregnant workers need additional breaks?

Pregnant workers may need to use the restroom with more frequency. Also, they may need to stretch or rest more often than they ordinarily would. Being able to do these things helps people who are pregnant stay comfortable and healthy while they are working.

Can employers refuse requests for more breaks?

Employers have an obligation to honor requests for more break time from pregnant workers in California. The Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents companies from taking adverse action against pregnant workers.

How should an employee make a request for reasonable accommodation?

Submitting a request in writing is not a legal requirement. However, written requests are usually advisable so there is a record of them.  Employees should tell their supervisors as soon as they know that they will need accommodation.

Providing workers with additional breaktime can benefit both pregnant workers and employers. Being able to take more breaks may enable employees to take less time away from work and be more productive when they are on the clock.



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