Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sponsored: Incorporating accommodations for pregnant employees benefits everyone

This content is brought to you in partnership with Family Forward NC, an innovative initiative to improve children’s health and well-being and keep North Carolina’s businesses competitive. Register for the Family Forward NC Summit to learn how your business can attract and retain top talent while developing the workforce of tomorrow.    

Pregnancy can be both an exciting and stressful time in your employee’s life. It shouldn’t be made more complicated with outdated pregnancy accommodation policies in the workplace. Nearly one-quarter of a million women are denied their requests for pregnancy accommodations each year despite federal and state laws, according to the National Partnership for Women and Children. While 22 states have passed laws further protecting pregnant workers, North Carolina has not, and the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been increasing steadily for the last 20 years.

Family Forward NC features suggestions for pregnant worker accommodations as part of its newly released Guide to Family Forward Workplaces. The guide provides research and tools for employers to implement workplace policies that have proven positive business outcomes and a positive impact on child health and well-being.

An example is Forrest Firm, a full-service corporate and business law firm employing 45 across eight North Carolina offices. Founded in 2011, the firm has a unique work-from-anywhere policy for its attorneys. When attorney Leslie P. Lasher was pregnant with her second child, she had the option to work several days a week from home and come into the office when necessary. Forrest Firm also offers major medical insurance including dental and vision, paid time off for staff, and a 401(k) with firm match.

Here are the top three benefits to incorporating accomodations for pregnant employees into the workplace:

1. Increases productivity and reduces employee absenteeism. “I am definitely more productive because of how I can structure my day,” says Lasher. “If my child has a doctor’s appointment or a school event, I can be there, and it’s not a problem. It’s not a secret if we’re spending time with out family.”

2. Increases employee commitment and satisfaction. “[Forrest Firm] offers a truly supportive culture that starts with senior leadership,” says Lasher. “Our founder does a great job of modeling work-life balance. He prioritizes time with his family and encourages us to do the same.”

3. Improves both the mother’s and unborn baby’s health and safety, including lower risk of preterm birth, low birthweight or miscarriage. Easy and beneficial workplace adjustments include more frequent breaks, time off to obtain critical health care, and a change in job duties, such as less lifting or more sitting.

If you’re looking for a way to make your North Carolina business smart, family friendly and future ready, Family Forward NC can help. Check out their blog and employer guide, attend the Family Forward NC Summit, sign up for their newsletter, or follow them on social media for more helpful tips from the experts.

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