Can an employer cut maternity leave benefits when an employee is pregnant?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer cut maternity leave benefits when an employee is pregnant?

During the past year, 4 out of 5 women in our office gave birth and were entitled to up to 12 weeks of 100% paid maternity leave. The only employee who was not pregnant is me. I am currently pregnant and my employer knew almost since the day I found out, for about 2 months already. Now when everyone gave birth including my direct supervisor who is also working on our organizations policies, the company is cutting the benefits to the minimum required law. Is this legal given the fact that I

would not consider having a baby with the benefits they are planning to offer now? Should the new or old policy apply to me?

Asked on May 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is legal: an employer may change its benefits at will, even if an employee had made life plans based on the prior benefits. Remember: employment is employment at will unless you have a written employment contract which guarantees your employment--and locks in your compensation or benefits--for a set or defined period of time (like a one-year contract). When there is no contract, you have no right to demand or even expect that your job or its compensation/benefits be kept the same--employment at will means, among other things, that the employer may change the nature of the job, its compensation, and it benefits at any time, including for existing employees, without prior warning or notice, and regardless of its prior practices.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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