Women having a healthy pregnancy can work right up until having the baby. Your doctor will give you advice on how long you can work, and the type of work you can safely do. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations of 2007 apply as soon as you let your boss know you're pregnant. These regulations require an employer to assess risks that could pose health issues to both you and your unborn child.
Once your employer performs a work assessment, he must make modifications to ensure your safety. Most companies will remove any risk from job duties. For example, if you work in shipping and you must lift heavy boxes, the company will shift duties so someone else can do the lifting while you do all the paperwork. Your boss may also move you to a desk job if you perform active duties like being on your feet all day.
Reduction of Duties
Physicians often limit the duties you can perform while pregnant. The company you work for may allow you to work part-time or leave earlier than normal. If your physician requests a reduction in hours, once you've had your baby, the company must provide you with your original hours. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, a company should provide reasonable accommodation to pregnant women as long as it doesn't cause undue hardship to the business.
Pregnancy can cause nausea and vomiting and makes you tire easily. A company can provide flexibility to allow you to take more frequent breaks, and offer a place to lie down or prop your feet up when you're not feeling well. Your boss is not required to provide you with this type of accommodation, but many offer it as a way to keep employees healthy and rested for their safety.
Ask for early maternity leave if your boss can't find alternative work for you. In some cases the company may lay you off by saying you were medically unavailable for work. You may file for unemployment during this timeframe, and the company may allow you to come back to work once you've had your baby. If your boss fires you, he must follow the Code of Federal Regulations regarding disabilities. Seek legal advice if you feel you've been wrongfully terminated during pregnancy.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images