Accommodating the Needs of Working Mothers

Working mothers have become the norm in today’s labor force. According to the Department of Labor, 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 currently work outside the home, with more than 75 percent employed full time. All employers, including federal agencies, need to be sensitive to the needs of both current and expecting mothers. That includes both employees already employed, and perspective employees looking for jobs.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed a lawsuit against a private employer for its alleged treatment of expecting mothers. In this case, a healthcare provider in Texas declined to give a new mother additional leave after having her child. The woman initially requested 30 days off, but after a difficult delivery – and based on the advice of her doctor – she sought an additional 30 days. However, the EEOC claims the woman was told her job would not be held for her if she took the extra time. This is in contrast to other employees at the company who were granted additional leave for medical ailments and conditions outside of pregnancy.

All employers, but federal agencies in particular, need to ensure they can properly manage the needs of new and expecting mothers. Pregnancies require employers to be incredibly sensitive to employee needs but also need the ability to act quickly as the situation dictates.

For example, mothers may need:

  • A flexible work schedule to attend doctor appointments before the child’s birth.
  • Additional work from home privileges as they near their delivery date.
  • Ergonomic or more comfortable work tools, such as a special chair or additional walking breaks during the day.
  • Additional leave or a flexible working schedule after the birth, depending on doctor recommendations.
  • A private room for nursing or pumping.

These are just a few possible needs. It will vary depending on the individual employee. What government agencies need to know is that equal employment laws protect pregnant and new mothers. As a result, agencies need to ensure they can meet these needs as they come up.

For many agencies, though, the timeliness of these requests may present a problem. As we’ve previously discussed, federal agencies are overwhelmed with reasonable accommodation requests. This is due to a large employee base and outdated accommodation processing systems that rely on human data entry and tools, like SharePoint, that are not efficiently used.

Accommodate by Symplicity helps organizations, including government agencies, better manage the accommodation process. It helps ensure the reasonable accommodation requests are managed in an efficient manner, ensuring that employees get the tools they need to work when they need them.

Timeliness is especially important when providing accommodations to mothers. New and expecting mothers may have temporary or changing physical conditions that require immediate need. These requests cannot get lost in red tape. A request may no longer be necessary in a few weeks. For government organizations, it is imperative that it can meet the needs of these employees quickly and efficiently.

For those interested in learning more, email

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