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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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