Women’s Equality Day, Friday, August 26, commemorates the day in 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified as law, giving women the right to vote. Although great strides have been made in equality, women in the workplace still struggle.

The first step in closing the gender gap is to know your workplace rights. Here are a just a few of the important issues to help educate yourself.

Family Medical Leave Act
FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave per year, and this is typically used for employees who have either given birth or adopted a child. FMLA applies to:

  • State and federal employees
  • Employees who work for schools
  • Private sector employees who work for a company of 50 or more people

Employers are required to continue to provide group health insurance during FMLA leave. Upon return, the employee must be restored to their original position or an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits and other teams and conditions.

Overtime Wages
A new rule to the Fair Labor Standards Act has increased the number of workers who are entitled to overtime pay protections, the majority of whom are women. Through the new rule, workers who make less than $47,476 per year are entitled to:

  • Time-and-a-half for work over 40 hours a week, on top of regular pay
  • A salary raise above the threshold, if an employer doesn’t want to pay overtime
  • A limit to 40 hours a week, if an employer doesn’t want to pay overtime

Nursing Mothers
The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time to express breast milk for one year after the child’s birth.

  • Employers must provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion.
  • In Illinois, employers with more than 5 employees must make reasonable efforts to provide a private space place for nursing mothers. Employers with over 50 employees are required to provide a space.
  • Breaks are not required to be compensated, unless an employer already provides paid breaks.

If you have questions regarding workplace rights, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.