Expectant mothers have a lot of exciting changes to anticipate. Many laws in the U.S. protect the rights of mothers who work outside the home. For instance, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 made it illegal to fire a worker for being pregnant. Additional legislation created the Family Medical Leave Act to provide both parents with the legal protections necessary to allow them to take time away from work without being punished for it by employers. Expectant mothers are also eligible for unemployment benefits just like any other worker.
Pregnancy and Unemployment
It’s important to understand that you will not be asked whether or not you are pregnant when you apply for unemployment. However, you must be able to assert that:
- You are available for work
- You are actively seeking employment
This means that women who have been put on bed rest by their doctors are not eligible for unemployment. These benefits are only for women who happen to be pregnant and who have been laid off or were working for a company that has shuttered operations. Basically, the reasons for seeking unemployment benefits must be entirely beyond the pregnant woman’s control.
File for Benefits
Expectant mothers may apply for unemployment benefits just like other workers who have been laid off. When deciding who is eligible to receive benefits, the state government does not consider whether or not the applicant is pregnant. The expectant mother may continue to receive weekly benefits as long as she is still able to work and actively seeking employment. Should her situation change through medical complications or giving birth, her ability to receive benefits may also change. Most states will not provide unemployment benefits for women in these circumstances because they are not able to work. Usually, the woman can begin to receive benefits after birth such as when she is considered able to look for employment.
Unemployment benefits are not available to anyone who is seeking a job for the first time. Similarly, people who are self-employed generally are not considered eligible. Keep in mind that it may be necessary to get written notice from your physician that you are able to work. Some states require some type of documentation before you may go back to receiving benefits. Starting back up with receiving unemployment benefits requires less time and effort as your information will already be in the system.