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Virginia Maternity and Pregnancy: What you need to know

The Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, childbirth or related medical conditions (VA Code Sec. 2.2-3900Aet seq.). Virginia does not have a state law that specifically requires employers to offer pregnancy leave. However, employers covered by the Virginia Human Rights Act must provide the same leave benefits to women disabled by pregnancy that are provided to other employees with temporary disabilities. This means that employers can provide leave for employees with temporary disabilities, including pregnancy disability, with or without pay, or not provide it at all, as long as all employees are treated the same in their requests for temporary disability leave.
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Some states have family and medical leave laws that require employers to provide unpaid leave for an employee's own illness, including pregnancy, or to care for a newborn. Virginia does not have such a law. However, if an employer does offer leave to care for a newborn, the state human rights law would most likely be interpreted to require that the leave be offered to both male and female employees. In addition, employers with 50 or more employees may have leave obligations under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). There is more information on the FMLA.
State law guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on any property owned, leased, or controlled by the state (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-1147.1 ). In addition, the Virginia Legislature has passed a joint resolution encouraging employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to ...

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