Iowa--Laws Relating to Pregnancy


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Prohibitions against Pregnancy Discrimination

A written or unwritten employment policy or practice which excludes from employment applicants or employees because of the employee's pregnancy is discrimination. An employer shall not terminate the employment of a person disabled by pregnancy because of the employee's pregnancy.[1]

For the text of the statute, click here.

Pregnancy Accommodation

Iowa does not provide additional protections to the federal law. However, it has pending legislation that would require an employer to provide reasonableaccommodations to an employee based on medical conditionsrelated to the employee’s pregnancy or childbirth. Reasonableaccommodationsmeans actions which would permit an employee with the medical condition to perform in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the employee’s occupation and include an accessible worksite, acquisition or modification of equipment, job restructuring, and a modified work schedule.[2]

For the text of the bill, click here.

Pregnancy-related Disability Accommodation

Iowa does not specifically accommodate pregnancy or its attendant medical conditions as a disability.

Breastfeeding Rights

A woman may breast-feed her own child in any public place where her presence is otherwise authorized.[3] It is unclear whether this authorization extends to a woman’s place of public employment.

For the text of the statute, click here.

Family and Childcare Leave Laws

Pregnancy-related Disability Leave and Insurance

Disabilities caused by the employee's pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, and recovery  are temporary disabilities and shall be treated as such under any health or temporary disability insurance or sick leave plan available. Written and unwritten employment policies and practices involving any health or temporary disability insurance or sick leave plan shall be applied to a disability due to the employee's pregnancy or giving birth on the same terms as other temporary disabilities.

Where a sufficient leave is not available under any health or temporary disability insurance or sick leave plan, the employer shall not refuse to grant to the employee leave for the period the employee is disabled, or for eight weeks, whichever is less. The employee must provide timely notice.[4]

For the text of the statute, click here.

Unemployment Compensation

Employees who lose or leave their jobs to provide care to immediate family members may be eligible for unemployment benefits, if after the family member recovered, the individual returned to the employer, or the individual left because of pregnancy or the employer consented to the absence, and after recovering from the pregnancy, the individual returned to the employer and the individual's work was not available.[5]

For the text of the statute, click here.

For the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, click here.

For the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, click here.

For further information on your pregnancy rights, contact Legal Momentum.

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[1] Iowa Code § 216.6

[2] S.F. 308, 85th GA

[3] Iowa Code § 135.30A

[4] Iowa Code § 216.6

[5] Iowa Code §96.5