The Washington Post

Happy Mother’s Day: pregnancy discrimination and so much more

Pregnancy discrimination? No maternity leave? No sick leave? Happy Mother’s Day. (

There is such a thing as pregnancy discrimination, and on Tuesday, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) called for passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

This has been an issue since, well, pregnant women worked. In fact, I wrote a story about it in 2005, before I was a mother myself. In other words, the gestation for something like this to pass is long, as is the passage of many things that would help mothers be able to work outside the home and support their families.

Lack of sick leave? Wrote about that in 2005. And 2004. Paid time off? Covered that late last year. Maternity leave? What’s that? (2006). Is it any wonder the U.S. ranks not so high on studies about the best places to be a mom? Or is the only first-world country without paid parental leave?

Everything that’s old is new again. And so despite efforts, not much is happening to make the workplace an easy place for mothers. Or for parents and caregivers in general.

This Mother’s Day, perhaps it’s time to figure out how to expect parents be able to work and parent well all at once. Maybe start by not punishing them for being pregnant. Then think about offering a little time off to recover from said pregnancy and bond with the child. You know what will happen? The country will be built on loyal workers who are willing to put in a little more for companies that can offer a little more.

Call me a Pollyanna. I’m okay with that, especially if it means the workplace can be a less hostile place for women who want or need to work and have a family.

You might also like:

Where’s the best place to be a mom? Not here.

First Mothers are just like us.



Amy Joyce is the editor and a writer for On Parenting.



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Amy Joyce · May 6, 2014