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Laboral rights of the pregnant worker

by Pro Thinkers about a month ago in body

If you are pregnant, you can continue working in a healthy way, adapting your position, your hours or your functions to avoid certain risks. Know what labor rights protect you

Laboral rights of the pregnant worker
Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

The high demand of the current labor market is one of the reasons why most women continue in their job until almost the end of pregnancy . This is usually feasible if it is not a risky pregnancy , the expectant mother is fine, and her doctor believes that she can do it. But to properly protect the health of the pregnant woman and the baby, other factors must also be taken into account. Your gynecologist must know what your work activity is like: it is not the same to perform a job with a low-stress level, as another that requires a lot of physical effort or that exposes you to toxic substances. Thus, by assessing each specific case, it can be adapted to the peculiarities of each pregnant worker.

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But what you should be clear about is that the law protects your rights and obliges the company to take care of both you and your child. Of course, in order to activate that protection, you must formally communicate your status (although this is voluntary and there is no regulation that dictates that, in the case of doing so, it must be on a specific date). As Susana Brunel, attached to the Confederal Secretariat for Women and Equality of Workers' Commissions (CC.OO.) points out: “it is convenient to communicate the pregnancy to the company, in order to implement the protocols that must be established for risk prevention, carry out an evaluation, possible change of job, and so on ”.

Moreover, it is considered a very serious offense that the employer does not contemplate the specific regulations regarding the protection of the safety and health of the workers during the periods of pregnancy and lactation. And, in fact, sanctions are established ranging from 30,000 to 600,000 euros.

The objective is that you can reconcile your work with your pregnancy in the most optimal way possible: from the most basic permits that correspond to you to carry out prenatal exams or to attend childbirth preparation classes, to more profound changes such as modifications of shift, or tasks and duties.

Changes in the pregnant woman that affect your work: avoid risks

During gestation, physiological changes of various considerations occur: for example, the venous pressure in the legs increases (it is not advisable to remain standing for a long time), the energy needs increase, there is a greater need for oxygen, the back becomes more curved. And, of course, the abdominal volume is increased. In addition, as indicated by the Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SEGO), there is a high probability that some underlying diseases will appear and that do not face up until you get pregnant, such as diabetes or hypertension.

But what you should be clear about is that the law protects your rights and obliges the company to take care of both you and your child. Of course, in order to activate that protection, you must formally communicate your status (although this is voluntary and there is no regulation that dictates that, in the case of doing so, it must be on a specific date). As Susana Brunel, attached to the Confederal Secretariat for Women and Equality of Workers' Commissions (CC.OO.) points out: “it is convenient to communicate the pregnancy to the company, in order to implement the protocols that must be established for risk prevention, carry out an evaluation, possible change of job, and so on ”.

Moreover, it is considered a very serious offense that the employer does not contemplate the specific regulations regarding the protection of the safety and health of the workers during the periods of pregnancy and lactation. And, in fact, sanctions are established ranging from 30,000 to 600,000 euros.

To this is added that, for its part, the fetus is also vulnerable to the action of external agents, being even more sensitive during the embryonic period and until approximately the 12th week of pregnancy . All this means that what until now was not a problem, now, in your state, can be harmful. And, of course, this vulnerability will be decisive in jobs that were already dangerous in themselves.

Thus, the protection of your maternity in the workplace includes both risks : those that come from your clinical situation and those specific to your job, which can sometimes influence each other. Depending on the case, one will act in one way or another for legal purposes (temporary disability, common contingency, professional contingency, occupational risk ...).

Be that as it may, most of the time the woman can continue with her professional activity and it is enough to make small ergonomic changes or certain adaptations. For example, one of the risks that we can most easily prevent is bad posture when working at the computer. We will adjust the chair to the height of the table so that the gut is inside, we will try to keep our back straight and support our arms; we will place the screen at eye level, and we will always be facing the task we are carrying out: if we have to turn, we will do it with our whole body at the same time. For even more comfort, ask your boss to provide you with a footrest.

But obviously not all the positions in which pregnant women work are so easy to adapt; there will be cases in which the modifications will have to be more profound, and even in which it is best to stop working.

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