By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza
We asked 600 working mothers who have taken maternity leave whether their job or job responsibilities changed while on parental leave.
More than one in four women say that while they were on maternity or adoptive leave, their jobs or responsibilities changed.
Some women return from maternity leave to find their jobs have changed beyond recognition: they have been demoted (formally or informally), their desks have been moved, major clients or accounts permanently given to another employee, they are passed over for earned promotions or raises, or are even laid off or fired.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects a worker’s job for 12 weeks while on parental leave. The act does not provide pay and does not apply to all workers in the United States and does not protect a worker’s job beyond the 12 weeks, if the mother or child has continuing health concerns, for example.
Discrimination on the basis of parental status is a violation of Executive Order 13152, signed in May of 2000, and pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Survey of 663 mothers in April 2019.