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Pennsylvania Maternity and Pregnancy: What you need to know

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits employment discrimination against any applicant, employee, or independent contractor on the basis of sex (PA Code Tit. 43 Sec. 951et seq.). Discrimination on the basis of sex includes pregnancy, childbirth, and other related medical conditions. The Act applies to private employers with four or more employees and to all state employers. The prohibition against discrimination applies regardless of the person's marital status (PA Code Tit. 16 Sec. 41.101, Sec. 41.102). As a general rule, employers must treat employees who are affected by pregnancy the same for all employment-related purposes as employees with temporary disabilities are treated.
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As stated previously, employees affected by pregnancy-related conditions are entitled to time off under the same terms and conditions as employees with other types of temporary disabilities. This includes such things as the commencement and duration of disability leave, the availability of extensions, the accrual of seniority and other benefits while on leave, and job reinstatement.
Pennsylvania's Pregnancy Guidelines provide that all employer policies regarding job benefits and job security must be applied to women disabled by pregnancy on the same terms as they are applied to other disabilities. Mandatory maternity leave policies requiring automatic leave at specified times during pregnancy violate the state Human Relations Act. Nothing in the Guidelines prohibits an employer from allowing additional time off for childrearing; however, any time allowed must be applied equally to men and women for natural children or adopted children (PA Code Tit. 16 Sec. 41.101et seq.).
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