Q: We recently found out that one of our employees is five months pregnant, and may need to be on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. We’re a small company; are we legally required to give her the time off?
A: Yes, under Washington law if you have at least eight employees you must give your pregnant employee a leave of absence for the entire time she is sick or temporarily disabled due to pregnancy or childbirth. This law applies to all pregnant employees, regardless of their position, pay, number of hours worked, or length of employment with the company. If the employee’s health care provider certifies that she needs to take off a certain amount of time due to a pregnancy or childbirth-related disability, then you must allow her to be off work for the entire period. There is no “cap” or “maximum” amount of time she can be absent, and there is no exception to the law because of “undue hardship” on the company.
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.