Human Resources

Pregnancy accommodation

The University’s accommodation process is intended to be interactive and collaborative, relying on open communication and active participation between you and the University. The primary goal of this process is to help you to perform all of the essential functions of your current position, with or without accommodation. The purpose of this webpage is to provide information on accommodation related to pregnancy.

When otherwise normal pregnancy results in physiological changes that necessitate accommodation, the University will:

  • Provide more frequent, longer, or flexible restroom breaks
  • Modify a no food or drink policy
  • Provide seating or allow for more frequent sitting if the job requires standing
  • Modify lifting limits of greater than 17 pounds

These accommodations do not require written certification from a health care provider.

Other accommodations should follow the accommodation request process below and may require written certification from a health care professional explaining the need for reasonable accommodation.

These can include:

  • Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, or acquiring or modifying equipment, devices, or an employee’s work station
  • Providing a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position

Requesting accommodation

To request an accommodation, submit a completed Pregnancy Accomodation Request (PDF) form or otherwise inform your supervisor of your need for accommodation. If you prefer not to make your accommodation request to your supervisor, you can instead contact your HR consultant, Medical Center’s Leave Specialist, or the Disability Services Office.

Additionally, you may be asked to provide a Pregnancy Health Care Provider Statement (PDF) form to help the University understand your condition, capacities, or limitations. This medical statement should be sent directly to your HR consultant, Medical Center’s Leave Specialist, or the Disability Services Office, not to your supervisor.

While use of the two UW forms is not required, these forms are designed to obtain sufficient information for the University to respond effectively to your request for accommodation. Not using the forms or providing incomplete information may delay the accommodation process due to the additional time needed to clarify your needs and related medical information.

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Accommodation process

The University will respond to your accommodation request as quickly as possible. Response time may be affected by the complexity of the accommodation requested.

For minor workplace adjustments your supervisor may be able to implement requests without additional assistance beyond the department.

Requests requiring job duty modifications, environmental changes, equipment purchases, or other significant actions may necessitate the help of Human Resources and/or the Disability Services Office.

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Confidentiality

By law, your medical information must be kept confidentially and separately from your employee personnel file, UW Human Resources maintains medical files for staff employees.

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Complaint resolution process

If you are not satisfied with the University’s response to your accommodation request, speak with your HR consultant or visit complaint resolution for guidance on the next steps available to you. Individuals may also address complaints to the Attorney General’s Office.

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Supervisor responsibilities

Receiving a request

If requested, provide the four accommodations below:

  • Provide more frequent, longer, or flexible restroom breaks
  • Modify a no food or drink policy
  • Provide seating or allow the employee to sit more frequently if the job requires standing
  • Modify lifting limits of greater than 17 pounds

Questions about how to accommodate these circumstances in your department can be directed to your HR Consultant, Medical Center’s Leave Specialist, and/or the Disability Services Office.

For all other pregnancy accommodation requests, contact your HR consultant, Medical Center’s Leave Specialist, or the Disability Services Office if:

  • You have any questions about the accommodation being requested (such as regarding duration, scope, necessity, workplace impact, or the employee’s ability to perform the position’s essential functions even with accommodation)
  • An employee tells you about a health problem that could impact their ability to perform their job but does not make a specific accommodation request

All responses to requests for accommodation must be documented, even if they are for a temporary job or workspace modifications. Your HR consultant or the Disability Services Office can help you respond appropriately and document the accommodation process.

And though not all accommodations are approved, an accommodation request — and its possible alternatives — must be thoroughly evaluated prior to denial. Always speak with your HR consultant or the Disability Services Office prior to denying an accommodation request.

Medical information

If you receive documents containing medical information, immediately forward them on to your HR consultant, Medical Center’s Leave Specialist, or the Disability Services Office (whichever you are working with regarding this request). Do not keep medical records in departmental files.

You should not ask the employee for personal medical information or about the condition itself; your focus should be on the workplace modification being requested. The employee is not required to disclose medical information to their supervisor. However, if an employee does choose to disclose such information, advise them that you will keep the information confidential, and redirect them to the appropriate resource if they have questions about accommodation procedures or policies.

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Additional resources

Pregnancy Accomodation Request
Pregnancy Health Care Provider Statement

 

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