CEO and Pregnant; Yahoo! But Wait a Minute . . .

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Marissa Mayer is taking the helm of a major technology company while pregnant. That makes this the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate a broken system for parental leave that has allowed us to lag far behind other countries.

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Melody Wilson is the communications coordinator for the International Reporting Project. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Denver Post, Slate, and Bitch.

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I was surprised to read Melody Wilson's article about maternity leave and benefits to find no mention of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That is a federal law that has been in effect since 1965 and provides that women employees of covered employers (those with fifteen or more employees) are entitled to the same time off, with or without pay, as the case may be, as the employer gives other employees who need time off for any reason, including illness. I was the first woman attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), the agency that administeres this law, and drafted the EEOC's 1972 Guidelines on Pregnancy and Childbirth, which spelled this out. These guidelines were subsequently incorporated into the Pregnancy Act of 1978, which amended Title VII. Several years ago, my article expanding on this subject was published on a website for women in science,called Scitable, and it is easily accessible through google.com or by emailing me at spfuentes@comcast.net

Women employees in this country have had rights to maternity leave and benefits under Title VII administered by the EEOC since 1965, and certainly since 1972.