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Illinois Pregnancy Leave Act - What It Protects

June 28, 2023

Employment is vital to women's equality, but women still can be discriminated against at work, such as when pregnant. However, in 2015, Illinois passed new laws that provide more protection for pregnant workers. If you have questions about the Illinois Pregnancy Leave Act, please speak to our Chicago medical leave attorneys at Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates today.

Overview Of Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation

The new law also called the Pregnancy Accommodation Amendment, requires companies to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, even if the impairment does not meet the definition of what a disability is. This is a marked change from earlier laws that did not deal with accommodations for pregnant workers who were otherwise in good health.

Under this law, Illinois companies may have to make reasonable accommodations for almost all pregnant workers, but this depends on the job. Also, the law enhances workers’ entitlement to accommodations when they are pregnant. If an employer does not provide reasonable accommodations for childbirth or pregnancy may constitute discrimination. If this happens to you, it is essential to have the case reviewed by a workers’ discrimination attorney.

The law also requires companies to provide leave to pregnant workers. This leave must be provided for medical complications, doctors’ appointments, bed rest, or time off for recovering after childbirth. The worker can return to their job when they are fully recovered. This is a big change for many Illinois employers; previously, many would only provide leave for medical disabilities and required that workers meet the requirements for federal medical leave.

Employers Cannot Mandate Leave Or Accommodation

Companies may sometimes not just be reluctant to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. They also may attempt to force accommodations on workers they do not want. However, the new law also states that Illinois companies cannot force a pregnant employees to accept accommodation.

For instance, the company cannot reassign a pregnant woman to a job where she is not as visible or make her take leave before she wants it. It is estimated that 67% of pregnant women work, and many work until just before childbirth. So, many women need to be able to work for almost all of their pregnancy and the new law ensures that can happen.

Limits And Posting Requirements

The Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation law does not require employers to create a new job for the pregnant employee if one does not exist. It also does not require the company to terminate a worker who has more time on the job or provide that job to the pregnant employee. But as noted earlier, it does require the company to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, including buying special equipment for the worker’s benefit.

Contact Our Chicago Medical Leave Attorney Today

Laws have improved in Illinoisto provide more work safeguards for pregnant women. Unfortunately, it is not unusualfor employers to discriminate against women who are pregnant. If you suspectthis has happened to you or you have questions about medical leave and relatedlegal issues, speak to our Chicago medical leave attorney at Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates.